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August 18, 2006

$3 Million in Damages Too Much for a Few Minutes Suffering in Fatal Fire

A federal judge reduced a jury's $3 million pain and suffering award, finding that it was not warranted by the few minutes conscious suffering experienced by the plaintiffs who died in a fire.  The wrongful death claim was brought against a smoke alarm manufacturer whose product functioned properly and was approved by Underwriters Laboratory but who did not warn purchasers that a better product was available.  The plaintiffs' proof suggested that one victim suffered for about three minutes and the other endured about six minutes of pain and suffering before succumbing to the fire.  Comparing the jury's award to pain and suffering awards in several other New York cases, the judge concluded that it deviated "materially from what would be reasonable compensation," leading the plaintiffs to agree to a remittitur.  See John Caher's story for the New York Law Journal.


August 18, 2006 | Permalink


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