work, dancing and music, and had developed a degree of proficiency in tap dancing and accordion playing. He was a good swimmer; his health was good. He worked Saturdays at the G. C. Murphy Company where his average earnings were $10 per week. Occasionally, he would perform tap dances for private affairs for a fee of from $3 to $5 for each performance. Alec intended to become an x-ray or medical technologist. In pursuit of this ambition he applied and was accepted for a September, 1966, enrollment at Cleveland Junior College located in Cleveland, Ohio, for a 15-month course which he thought would qualify him for employment in x-ray and medical laboratories. This college was a non-accredited private institution, whose graduates without further study and experience probably would not qualify as x-ray or medical technologists. However, he would have been employable in the laboratories in certain hospitals in this district and would probably have entered the labor force in 1968 with earning power of $4500 per year. Over the span of his work life, he would have been capable of earning upwards of $500,000. His life expectancy was 54.3 years. We estimate he would have worked 47 years.
No claim has been made on behalf of Alec's parents for his earnings during minority. We find Alec was emancipated. His administrator is entitled to funeral expenses in the amount of $2,135.06.
Under the Survival Act, the Estate of Alec Sabo is entitled to Alec's earnings from the date of death to the date of trial, less cost of maintenance. His estate is also entitled to the present worth at 6% of his probable future earnings from February 15, 1968 during the period of his work life, less the probable cost of his maintenance. We find the total of these amounts to be $48,000.
The estates of both decedents are entitled to an award for pain and suffering. Although Alec and Jane did not drown, they experienced the pangs of drowning persons prior to their contact with a propeller. It has been held that drowning produces conscious pain and suffering for which an award may be made.
The circumstances here were aggravated by an inescapable current of turbulent water which thrust each child against the side of the barge and irresistibly dragged them across the bottom of the 26-foot wide barge, under the ship and into a propeller. This force was sufficiently strong to force the mate, Hugney, into the side of the barge and injure his neck and back. This torturous trip replete with minor traumas would have taken only a few seconds, and in all probability they were conscious of the major pain produced by the whirling blades of a propeller. The bodily traumas inflicted by contacts with the barge and ship and the trauma and anguish of drowning prior to contact with a propeller were continuing. Undoubtedly, both would struggle desperately under the barge and ship to avoid the propellers. The experience would be frightful, terrifying and painful, though mercifully of short duration.
In these circumstances, we think pain and suffering prior to death is authorized by Pennsylvania law. Mental suffering is a legitimate element of damage where, as here, the decedents sustained bodily traumas accompanied by fright and mental suffering directly traceable to the peril in which the pilot's negligence placed them. Potere v. City of Philadelphia, supra, p. 589, 112 A.2d 100. See also, Hess v. Philadelphia Transp. Co., 358 Pa. 144, 148, 56 A.2d 89, 91 (1948), where Chief Justice Maxey cites with approval the following quotation from North German Lloyd Steamship Co. v. Wood, 18 Pa.Super. 488, 494 (1901):
"Mental suffering, as distinct from bodily pain, can be considered in an action for damages for injury to the person, when such suffering is attendant upon and results from a physical injury: Wilcox v. Richmond & Danville Ry. Co., 52 Federal Reporter, 264."
We fix the award for pain and suffering for each at $5,000.
Jane Dearth was 19 years of age at the time of her death, having been born on September 10, 1946. She had a pleasing and outgoing personality and was esteemed and admired by her friends and teachers. She was an outdoor girl and frequently hunted and fished with her father. She was a good swimmer. She graduated with honors from Brashear High School where she had been a member of the thespian troop and was interested in extra-curricular student activities, including music and poetry. She had an IQ of 140. She was in good health. She was extremely thrifty. At the time of her death, she was a second-year student at the Washington Hospital School of Nursing. As a student nurse, she was above average and had done superior work. She expected to graduate from nursing school in 1967, at the age of 20, and intended to begin nursing at the Washington Hospital in Washington, Pennsylvania. Shortly prior to the accident, she had been earning $14 for each night at the Golden Age Nursing Home (T., p. 824).
The starting salary for a registered staff nurse in Washington Hospital is about $500 per month, with increases every six months for three years. After six years, a salary of $590 per month could be expected. A head nurse earns between $550 to $630 a month; a supervisor between $565 to $715 per month; a faculty nurse earns $950 per month. Over the years of her work life, she would have been capable of earning approximately $445,000. Jane had a life expectancy of 60.8 years. We estimate she would have worked 44 years.
No claim has been made on behalf of Jane's parents for her earnings during minority. We find Jane was emancipated. Her administrator is entitled to funeral expenses in the sum of $1,559.
Under the Survival Act, the Estate of Jane L. Dearth is entitled to Jane's earnings from the date of death to the date of trial, less cost of maintenance. Her estate is also entitled to the present worth at 6% of her probable future earnings from February 15, 1968 during the period of her work life, less the probable cost of her maintenance. We find the total of these amounts to be $44,000.
Although subject to some doubt, we have come to the conclusion that in the circumstances the actions of Pilot Cady were not willful and wanton or grossly reckless, and that the claimants are not entitled to an award for punitive damages.
Hugney's injuries partially disabled him and caused him to lay off work from July 10, 1966 to August 12, 1966. His doctor testified that on August 1st "he appeared to be free of any complaint." His doctor set August 12, 1966 as the date for his return to work (T., pp. 611, 618). The proof of his loss of earnings during that period was insufficient to make an award. Captain Hynde called by Hugney as for cross-examination, testified with respect to Hugney's Exhibit No. 5 that Hugney was paid $557.51 gross on August 7, 1966 (T., p. 915). This testimony was not rebutted. The claimant's counsel did not bring out an explanation of the "void" stamp appearing on this exhibit. Captain Hynde also testified that as a mate Hugney would have received his salary whether or not he worked (T., p. 922). Hugney claims "the pay he received on August 8, 1966 was not for any services performed, but a gratuity or gift from his employer."
Hugney's Exhibits 5 and 6 indicate that his gross earnings were $493 as of June 26, 1966, $245.37 as of July 10, 1966, and $557.31 as of August 7, 1966. They also indicate that he was at work for a substantial number of hours after the accident up until July 10, 1966. There was no proof that any of these gross earnings of Hugney during the period of his alleged disability, i.e., from June 18, 1966 to August 12, 1966, was a gift or gratuity from the petitioner. There was no attempt to allocate these payments to any other period. Thus it appears that Hugney's gross earnings during the period of his alleged disability amounted to $1,295.68. We find that Hugney was paid his mate's salary for the period he was off work. Having thus been paid salary by the petitioner, he is not entitled to any additional amount for maintenance. Actually Hugney received more money by way of salary than he would have received by way of an award for maintenance during the period he was off work.
He is entitled to medical expenses in the sum of $25. For pain, suffering and inconvenience, he is entitled to the sum of $300.
This opinion shall be deemed to embody findings of fact and conclusions of law required by Rule 52, Fed.R.Civ.P., 28 U.S.C.A.
An appropriate order will be entered.
MEMORANDUM SUR MOTIONS TO AMEND (March 4, 1969)
The petitioner, Consolidation Coal Company, moves to amend or make additional findings and to alter or amend the judgments entered, so that the Survival Action damages allocable to the Estate of Alec Sabo will not exceed $30,000; that the Survival Action damages allocable to the Estate of Jane Dearth will not exceed $23,000; and that the pain and suffering awards will be more in accordance with the evidence.
Oral argument was held and the briefs in support of and against the motions have been considered. In my opinion the motions should be denied.
Judgments were entered against Consolidation Coal Company and in favor of the Estate of Alec Sabo in the sum of $55,135.06, and in favor of the Estate of Jane Dearth in the sum of $50,559.00, and in favor of Edward Hugney in the amount of $325.00.
The petitioner contends that the credible evidence is insufficient to sustain that portion of the judgments in favor of the estates which reflect the projected net earnings of Alec Sabo in the amount of $48,000 and of Jane Dearth in the amount of $44,000.
Actions for the benefit of the estates of deceased minors present speculative difficulties in arriving at proper compensation. Usually low verdicts are awarded "'because of the extreme difficulty in proving damages * * *.'" Cf. McSparran v. Pennsylvania Railroad Company, 258 F. Supp. 130, 144 (E.D.Pa.1966), relied upon by petitioner.
However, in the cases of Alec Sabo, a 17 year old boy, and Jane Dearth, a 19 year old girl, their power to earn money in the future was adequately proved. Both children were intelligent, industrious and thrifty; Jane was unusually bright. Of course, there are elements of conjecture involved but these in the main have been resolved against the estates. For instance, in Alec's case, no consideration was given to promotions or compensation for overtime work, which latter is most likely in the work of a hospital technician. In Jane's case, no consideration was given to the probability that her prospective income over the years as a trained nurse would be periodically raised to meet the ever increasing inflationary rise in the cost of living (T., p. 673). Neither have I considered that the never-ending shortage of nurses would in the future, as in the past, probably result in higher salaries. I have not considered the probability that after attaining the age of 65, Alec would have retained some earning power as a hospital technician for an additional 6.3 years, and Jane would have retained some earning power as a faculty nurse, albeit on a decreasing scale, for an additional 15 years.
Almost certainly each would have lost pensions from the date of their retirement to the end of their lives. Amounts based on these periods of their respective life expectancies were not considered or included in the awards.
Notwithstanding, the petitioner contends that the credible evidence is insufficient to sustain the awards for future loss of earning power.
With respect to Alec, the evidence supports the conclusion that during his work life of 47  years, his potential earning power could have amounted to more than $600,000 (T., p. 674). I found his future earning power to amount to only $500,000. From this was deducted the cost of maintenance which I estimated at $360,000. The remainder of $140,000 was reduced to $48,080.50, the present worth at 6%
over a work life of 45 years, to which was added a small increment of $157.36, being the earnings, less maintenance, prior to trial, or $48,237.86 rounded out to $48,000.
With respect to Jane, the evidence supports the conclusion that during her work life of 44 years, her potential earnings could have amounted to more than $445,000.
Jane intended to enter the profession of nursing. In view of inflationary trends and the steadily-increasing salaries and fees for trained nurses, a larger total would have been justified. From a total of only $440,000, I estimated her cost of maintenance at $316,800. The remainder of $123,200 was reduced to $43,072.40, the present worth at 6%
over a work life of 44 years, to which was added $1120 of earnings, less maintenance, prior to trial, rounded out to $44,000.
The cost of maintenance of the decedents was estimated at 72%; it would include food, clothing, shelter, medical expenses, recreation, and other necessities. The amount is that sum which the fact finder would expect the decedent to spend as a matter of necessity in a thrifty and economical manner. The cost of maintenance is not limited to that sum which would be required for bare subsistence nor does it contemplate luxurious spending; the amount varies according to a person's station in life. The families of both decedents were exceedingly thrifty; the decedents were likely to be the same. There is no requirement that the evidence as to probable cost of maintenance be direct, fully detailed, and established with mathematical exactness; it is only necessary that it be sufficient to enable the fact finder to make a fair determination. Cf. Blackburn v. Aetna Freight Lines, Inc., 368 F.2d 345 (3d Cir.1966); Curnow v. West View Park Company, 337 F.2d 241 (3d Cir.1964); and see the pertinent observations on this subject made in "Damages in Personal Injury and Death Cases in Pennsylvania -- A Supplement", Vol. XXVI Pa. Bar Ass'n Q. (1954), at p. 35.
An appropriate order will be entered.