food, clothing, entertainment, college tuition, and other miscellaneous expenses more than offset any income which these children would have earned and given to their parents from baby-sitting and other after-school employment. Thus, I here find that prior to reaching majority and entry into the labor force, these children would not have made a net financial contribution to their parents.
Turning now to the period following the children's graduation from college and entry into the labor force, I have endeavored to correct any deficiencies in my original findings of fact. In addition, the plaintiffs have presented at a hearing on September 7, 1971, the testimony of Dr. Andrew Verzilli, a noted economist. Dr. Verzilli's testimony has enabled me to more precisely estimate the potential earning ranges which the children would have had. My new awards under the DOHSA are based both on the supplemental record and on the other additional evidence put in by the parties. Thus, I find that on a total view of the record as supplemented, there is sufficient evidence to support an award under the DOHSA of $7,613 to Virginia and Xavier Dugas and $7,249 to Mrs. Betty Guisinger.
In order to comprehend fully my awards under the DOHSA, a brief review of the findings of fact and their support in the evidentiary record is appropriate.
The award to Xavier and Virginia Dugas of $2,884 and $4,729 respectively, is based on, inter alia, the evidence in the record that Miss Dugas, the decedent, would probably have attended college and become a teacher or its professional equivalent. Dr. Verzilli testified that the average, single teacher has an earnings residual after personal consumption of $98,824.
(Supplemental Findings of Fact, hereinafter "S.F.F." 12). It is likely that $564 per year of this residual would be used to aid her parents, especially her father, whose current state of health indicates a reduced working expectancy. (S.F.F. 6). In addition, Mr. and Mrs. Dugas' other children, four of whom are younger than Kathryn, would place a continuing burden on the family in the event the Dugas family was forced to rely solely on Mr. Dugas' Marine Corps pension (S.F.F. 6) because of his health problems. (S.F.F. 5)
The award of $7249 to Mrs. Guisinger, mother of Christina Hart, is predicated on Miss Hart's expected lifetime earnings residual of $98,824 (S.F.F. 12) and Mrs. Guisinger's relatively lower income level of $7,400 per year in 1969 (S.F.F. 7). Thus, my finding that Christina would have contributed $500 dollars per year to the aid of her mother is reasonable as based on the record as supplemented.
More than two decades ago, Mr. Justice Frankfurter stated that ". . . there comes a point where this Court should not be ignorant as judges of what we know as men".
Similarly, there comes a point where we should not act as if we are ignorant of the inherent, nebulous variables which constitute the basis for an ultimate finding of damages in a death case, whether the damages are "found" by a jury or by a judge with a waiver of jury. My candid recognition of the imprecise aspects in any verdict cannot be changed by statements of general principles; for there are illusory aspects in any jury's verdict if the specific amount implies absolute precision in prognostication. For such precision is beyond the human capacity of any mortal. For we are asked to anticipate and predict the future of humans when we have neither omnipotent nor omniscient powers. As an example, week after week in death cases, juries consider the life expectancy of a specific claimant. We mask this guessing by approved instructions which state
"Life expectancy, as shown by a mortality table, is merely an estimate of the probable average remaining length of life of all persons in the United States of a given age and sex, and that estimate is based upon a limited record of experience. So, the inference which may reasonably be drawn from life expectancy, as shown by the table, applied only to one who has the average health and exposure to danger of people of that age and sex.
In determining the reasonably certain life expectancy of the plaintiff, the jury should consider, in addition to what is shown by the table of mortality, all other facts and circumstances in evidence in the case bearing upon the life expectancy of the plaintiff, including his occupation, habits, past health records and present state of health.