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Florida Third DCA rules that jury was not bound by computation of plaintiff’s life expectancy stipulated to by the parties

On September 11, 2019, in Castle Builders of Miami, Inc. v. Quirantes, No. 3D18-163, the Florida Third DCA affirmed a final judgment against the defendants of $4,376,646.60 in a motor vehicle negligence case. The defendants had argued, inter alia, for remittitur of the verdict based on the argument that the jury had improperly concluded that the plaintiff had a 15 year life expectancy when the parties stipulated that her life expectancy was only 12.94 years in accordance with published mortality tables. The trial court had given standard jury instruction 501.6 without objection, which instructed the jury that the mortality tables indicated her life expectancy was 12.94 years but that it was not binding on them and they could consider other evidence in determining the probable length of her life. The Third DCA noted that a defense expert had testified that the plaintiff had done “extremely well” in her recovery. Quoting from its previous opinion in Philip Morris USA, Inc. v. Ledoux, 230 So. 3d 530, 538 (Fla. 3d DCA 2017), the Court concluded that “[b]ecause damages are inherently difficult to measure, such a decision is generally one to be made by the jury, not by an appellate court.”