Webber v. Jordan

Decision Date06 December 1978
Docket NumberNo. 78-201,78-201
Citation366 So.2d 51
PartiesBeverly A. WEBBER and Edwin Webber, her husband, Appellants, v. Steven C. JORDAN and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Appellees.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

Steven C. Ruth, of Piper, Esteva, Pennell, Karvonen & Lewis, St. Petersburg, for appellants.

William C. Kaleel, Jr. of Kaleel & Kaleel, St. Petersburg, for appellees.

GRIMES, Chief Judge.

This is an appeal from a final judgment in a negligence action.

The plaintiffs below were husband and wife. The wife was injured in an accident as she rode in an automobile driven by her husband. She brought suit for her injuries against the drivers of the two other automobiles involved and their insurance carriers. The husband was not hurt, but he joined in the suit to claim medical and other expenses related to his wife's injuries and the loss of her services, comfort, society and attention, commonly known as consortium. One of the drivers obtained a directed verdict which is not in dispute on this appeal. The plaintiffs' claims against Jordan, the remaining driver, were submitted to the jury on special verdicts.

Though concluding that the wife had not sustained a permanent injury, the jury found that she had incurred more than $1,000 of medical expenses as a result of the accident, thereby meeting the threshold requirements of Section 627.738(2), Florida Statutes (1975). The jury then found Jordan negligent and further found that his negligence was the legal cause of injuries to the wife. They awarded her damages of $6,500. The jury, however, found Jordan not guilty "of negligence which was a legal cause of loss, injury or damage" to the husband. Realizing the inconsistency in the verdicts against the husband and for the wife, the court submitted three written interrogatories to the jury. These questions and the jurors' answers were as follows:

1. Do you find that (defendant) was not guilty of any negligence? Yes or No.

2. Or did you find that (defendant) was guilty of negligence, but that (plaintiff husband) suffered no damages? Yes or no 3. Did you include the medical expenses in the award to (plaintiff wife)? Yes or no.

Thereupon, the court entered a final judgment for the wife in the amount of $6,500 but against the husband on his derivative claim.

The plaintiffs/appellants argue that if Jordan was liable to the wife, then he must be liable to the husband to some extent. Consequently, the plaintiffs suggest that the judgment with respect to both of them be set aside and that a new trial be granted on all claims. The defendants/appellees argue that since the medical expenses were included in the wife's claim, the jury could have properly concluded that the husband simply suffered no other damages as a result of the accident.

We might agree with the defendants were it not for the substantial, undisputed evidence presented in support of the husband's claim for loss of consortium. The record reflects that the wife suffered a severe whiplash injury of the cervical and dorsal spine, a possible injury to a lumbar disc, and a chip fracture of the callus of the bone in the right foot. She remained in a wheelchair for over two months after the accident, and the husband incurred $655 in maid service while the wife was disabled. Several doctors treated the wife, and she incurred medical expenses of $3,195.23. Admittedly the wife had suffered from back trouble before the accident, and, obviously the jury must have discounted some of the wife's complaints. Nevertheless, it cannot be said that the husband suffered No damages other than medical expenses as a result of the accident. Consequently, the husband is entitled to a new trial with respect to his other damages. Loftin v. Anderson, 66 So.2d 470 (Fla.1953); Kinne v. Burgin, 311 So.2d 695 (Fla.3d DCA 1975); Fejer v. Whitehall Laboratories, Inc., 182 So.2d 438 (Fla.3d DCA 1966); Thieneman v. Cameron, 126 So.2d 170 (Fla.3d DCA 1961). See Griffis v. Hill, 230 So.2d 143 (Fla.1970), which reaffirms the principle that an appellate court may set aside a verdict which as an end result is so grossly inadequate that it shocks the conscience of the court.

The plaintiffs rely upon Noll v. Byorick, 108 So.2d 67 (Fla.3d DCA 1959), for the proposition that the wife's judgment should also be set aside and the case retried in its entirety. In Noll an injured wife obtained a $15,000 verdict, but the jury did not award any damages to her husband on his derivative claim. The court pointed out...

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9 cases
  • Cowart v. Kendall United Methodist Church
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • October 8, 1985
    ...likely included the medical expenses, which the husband was technically entitled to recover, in the wife's verdict. See Webber v. Jordan, 366 So.2d 51 (Fla. 2d DCA 1979), cert. denied, 374 So.2d 102 (Fla.1979). In an attempt to confine any new trial to the husband's case alone, rather than ......
  • Bach v. Murray, 93-2116
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • May 10, 1995
    ...Klosters Rederi A/S v. Cowden, 447 So.2d 1017 (Fla. 3d DCA 1984); Shaw v. Peterson, 376 So.2d 433 (Fla. 1st DCA 1979); Webber v. Jordan, 366 So.2d 51 (Fla. 2d DCA), cert. denied, 374 So.2d 102 (Fla.1979); Kinne v. Burgin, 311 So.2d 695 (Fla. 3d DCA Based upon the undisputed evidence of Bach......
  • Vega v. Mahfuz, 78-1201
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • February 27, 1979
    ...314 So.2d 6 (Fla. 4th DCA 1975); and Fejer v. Whitehall Laboratories, Inc., 182 So.2d 438 (Fla. 3d DCA 1966). Compare Webber v. Jordan, 366 So.2d 51 (Fla. 2d DCA 1978). We note that it is not the form of the verdict which is being attacked here, but rather its inconsistency. Therefore, the ......
  • Hartsfield v. Orlando Regional Medical Center, Inc.
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • February 18, 1988
    ...376 So.2d 433 (Fla. 1st DCA 1979); Botag Manufacturing Company v. Kleinicke, 370 So.2d 92 (Fla. 4th DCA 1979); Webber v. Jordan, 366 So.2d 51 (Fla. 2d DCA 1978). In the trial below, appellant's witness, Dr. Edelman, a psychologist, testified that David's scars have caused psychological prob......
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