Clear error on damages

The plaintiff in Delahoussaye v. Performance Energy Services LLC suffered back injuries while working on a drilling platform when a handrail fell on him.  No. 12-31222 (Oct. 24, 2013).  The district awarded general damages of $200,000, noting that the plaintiff had exaggerated his complaints of pain and was able to return to work.  The award was reviewed for clear error.  The Fifth Circuit reviewed prior awards in comparable cases and concluded that $200,000 was excessive in light of the district court’s other fact findings. Reviewing precedent that established a “maximum recovery” guideline based on 133% of the highest previous recovery for a similar injury, the Court remitted the damages to $86,450 (133 percent of $65,000, the highest comparable recovery found by the Court).  The plaintiff could accept the remitted award or have a new trial on damages.

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