MIAMI -- A U.S. district court judge has denied First Transit's motion for a new trial.
A trial had been concluded in November 2018. In December, the defendants filed for a new trial “based on a juror's non-disclosure of prior litigation history and because the jury awards for past medical expenses and future pain and suffering are against the weight of the evidence,” according to the decision from U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida.
One of the organization's main arguments was the large sum of money the jury awarded to the plaintiffs.
Plaintiff Juan Torres was awarded $877,604.38 for past medical expenses, $1,050,000 for past pain and suffering, and $3 million for future pain and suffering. A second plaintiff was awarded $396,261.13 for past medical expenses, $600,0000 for past pain and suffering, and $1.5 million for future pain and suffering.
“The defendant argues that the jury award for future pain and suffering is excessive [which] bears no relationship to the evidence presented, and is necessarily the product of passion or prejudice,” Judge Beth Bloom wrote in the Feb. 13 court decision.
“Based on the evidence presented to the jury, it was reasonable for the jury to conclude that the plaintiffs would continue to suffer from their injuries in the future,” she noted. “The court does not find that the jury award to plaintiffs for future pain and suffering was so excessive as to shock the conscience of the court”
First Transit also argued that two jurors concealed material facts.
“[The] defendant argues that Juror YC’s and Juror ES’s concealment of their respective ‘histories of being sued by large financial entities for non-payment of debt would readily be perceived as likely to sympathize with plaintiffs in their pursuit of money damages from First Transit’ due to the ‘David versus Goliath’ atmosphere’ of the case,” Bloom stated in the court decision.
“The court is not persuaded by the defendant’s attempt to link the present case and the cases in Juror YC’s and Juror ES’s past as involving a ‘David versus Goliath’ atmosphere, causing the jurors to be biased against corporations.” .