His difficulty in walking was obvious in the courtroom. A medical expert testified that another operation is necessary for the removal of his kneecap.
Shortly before the accident plaintiff had gone back to the water front in order to obtain the higher wages of a longshoreman. Since the accident he has been unable, of course, to engage in the hazardous work of a longshoreman. He returned to the work that he had previously known -- laying hardwood floors. This is extremely difficult for him to do since the accident. His son testified that he can only do a limited part of the work, such as nailing down the floor and even here his ability to work has been severely curtailed. His earnings since the accident have been trivial.
It was for the jury to determine what his earnings would have been from the date of the accident to the time of trial. This was a controversial question because he had only gone back to the water front a short time before the accident. Similar controversy surrounded the question of the amount of his earnings during the remainder of his working life. He was 53 years of age at the time of trial with a life expectancy of 20 1/2 years. If he would work until the age of 65 he would have 12 years of future earning capacity. There was evidence which would have justified the jury in finding that shortly after the accident he would have had assured steady employment as a longshoreman. There was also evidence of the earnings of other longshoremen at the increased hourly rates of pay since the time of the accident. Defendant challenged the evidence of assured future employment and plaintiff's claim that his earning capacity should be compared to that of the longshoreman whose earnings were offered in evidence. In the circumstances of this case the past and future impairment of earning capacity was peculiarly for the jury for it depended heavily on the credibility of the evidence.
In any event, whatever variation may fairly be said to exist between the competing versions of fair compensation to the plaintiff for past and future impairment of earning capacity, there can be no doubt that the pain, humiliation, disfigurement and impairment in ability to walk which plaintiff has already suffered and will endure throughout the remainder of his life is so serious that, when added to the most limited award for past and future impairment of earning capacity, the verdict still would be fully justified.
In these circumstances we cannot say that the verdict is so shockingly excessive that in the interest of justice it ought to be set aside or reduced.
And now, March 29, 1963, the motion of defendant, Calmar Steamship Corporation, for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or for a new trial or for a remittitur, is denied.