condition itself, by their reactions to it. Other aspects of the marital relationship have also suffered. His spouse obtained work outside the home to avoid constant exposure to his condition and while that has probably benefited them both financially, it might not be what she would have done had he not been injured.
The court will also allow something in damages for plaintiff's claim of impaired capacity for sexual enjoyment. But where remedial surgical intervention is possible but refused, an impartial factfinder can only conclude that the diminution in pleasure is not as great as described or not of sufficient importance to motivate correction of the condition. Plaintiff did testify he would undergo the operation if he were bed-ridden by his back condition, so that his refusing operative relief can be considered in regard to the credibility of his claims of pain, suffering and loss of life's pleasures. But plaintiff's damages are not reduced by his failure to undergo an operation on his spine. It is a serious, although rarely life threatening, surgical procedure that is, like other surgical procedures, not always successful.
Plaintiff has been hospitalized, undergone a myelogram, and been treated with steroid shots, traction and a body cast (chest to groin) for ten weeks. He also attended a pain clinic. He still has limitation of motion and wears a back brace. He suffers pain which increases with motion or tension; he uses a Tens Unit (shock treatment) nightly and Percodan (muscle relaxant) for pain but nonetheless has trouble sleeping and cannot return to his former work or help around the house as he did formerly. While some of plaintiff's claims are exaggerated and incredible, the court awards the sum of $100,000 for past and future pain and suffering and loss of life's pleasures. The court also awards $20,000 to Mrs. Monaghan for her loss of consortium caused by Mr. Monaghan's injuries.
Plaintiffs request prejudgment interest or delay damages in the amount of 10%. This action is based on the admiralty laws of the United States. Plaintiffs are entitled to prejudgment interest under admiralty law; the rule in admiralty is that "prejudgment interest should be awarded unless there are exceptional circumstances that would make such an award inequitable." Matter of Bankers Trust Co., 658 F.2d 103, 108 (3d Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 456 U.S. 961, 102 S. Ct. 2038, 72 L. Ed. 2d 485 (1982). This rule has been applied in maritime personal injury cases. McCormack v. Noble Drilling Corp., 608 F.2d 169 (5th Cir. 1979); Weiland v. Pyramid Ventures Group, 511 F. Supp. 1034, 1044 n.3 (M.D.La. 1981). See also, Dugas v. National Aircraft Corp., 438 F.2d 1386, 1392 n.11 (3d Cir. 1971) (prejudgment interest awarded in action under Death on High Seas Act); First National Bank of Chicago v. Material Service Corp., 597 F.2d 1110 (7th Cir. 1979). The delay in bringing this case, filed in 1982, to trial was occasioned not by the plaintiffs but by the defendants' bankruptcy which required the matter to remain in the suspense docket until plaintiff obtained leave of the Bankruptcy Court to proceed. There are no exceptional circumstances making an award of prejudgment interest inequitable.
The rate of prejudgment interest in admiralty cases is within the discretion of the court. No proof in support of this rate was offered but the court takes judicial notice that the Post-Judgment Interest Rate under the Federal Court Improvements Act of 1982 has averaged slightly over 10%. Also because this court has jurisdiction by reason of diversity of citizenship, it is reasonable to apply the rate of Pa.R.Civ.P. 238; under Rule 238, the court adds to the amount of compensatory damages, as part of the award, damages for delay at 10% per annum not compounded. (Pennsylvania delay damages are computed from the date the plaintiff filed the initial complaint in the action or a date one year after the accrual of the cause of action, whichever is later.) Therefore, delay damages are awarded at 10% from the date of injury, March 27, 1981, on all past due amounts.
The total sum awarded in which amount judgment will be entered is as follows:
Francis J. Monaghan, Jr.:
Past Lost Wages $ 68,403
Past Fringe Benefits 31,784
Past Medical Expenses 21,198
Pain and Suffering and Loss of 100,000
Future Lost Wages 352,293
Future Fringe Benefits 163,646
Future Medical Expenses 14,820
Prejudgment Interest at 10% 88,554
Andrea M. Monaghan:
Loss of Consortium $ 20,000
Prejudgment Interest at 10% 8,000
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