The power of the trial court to assess damages or increase the amount of an inadequate award made by jury verdict, as a condition of a denial of a motion for a new trial, with the consent of the defendant whether or not the plaintiff consents to such action. This is not allowed in the federal system.

Damages assessed by a jury may be set aside when the amount is shocking to the judicial conscience—so grossly inadequate that it constitutes a miscarriage of justice—or when it appears that the jury was influenced by prejudice, corruption, passion, or mistake.

For example, a sixty-one-year-old woman was mugged in a hallway of her apartment building after the landlord failed to replace a broken lock on the back service entrance. She sustained a broken shoulder, a broken arm, and numerous cuts and bruises. Her medical bills amounted to more than $2,500. She sued the landlord for his negligent maintenance of the building, and the jury returned a verdict in her favor but awarded damages of only $2,500. Her attorney immediately moved for a new trial on the ground that the verdict was shockingly inadequate. The trial judge ruled that the jury could not possibly have calculated compensation for the woman's pain and suffering, an item that should have been included under state law. The trial judge, therefore, awarded an additur of $15,000. The effect of this order was to put the defendant on notice that he must either pay the $15,000 in addition to the verdict of $2,500 or a new trial would be held. The defendant weighed the disadvantages of investing time and money in a new trial and the risk of an even higher award of monetary damages by a sympathetic jury. He consented to the additur.

An additur is not justified solely because the amount of damages is low. For example, damages of $10,000 certainly will not compensate the family of a forty-four-year-old man who had been steadily employed as a plumber until he was permanently disabled in an auto accident. In such a case, however, the jury could have found that the plaintiff's Negligence contributed to the cause of the accident and reduced the damages proportionately, as is permitted in most states.

An award of additur is not permitted in every state, nor is it allowed in the federal courts. Under the rules that govern procedure in the federal courts, a trial judge has the power to set aside a verdict for a plaintiff on the ground that the damages awarded are clearly inadequate, but then the judge's only recourse is to grant a new trial.


Civil Procedure; Trial.


noun assessment of damages, increase of damages, increase of jury award
References in periodicals archive ?
Giving defendants an inalienability option was sufficient to deter Range 2 plaintiff threats; this inalienability option and defendant additur together were sufficient to deter Range 1 plaintiff threats; and finally, plaintiff remittitur was sufficient to deter Range 4 defendant threats.
5), applicable when a trial court has granted additur or remittitur relief with respect to an excessive or insufficient verdict.
The plaintiffs filed a motion for additur or, in the alternative, for a new trial on damages, arguing that the undisputed evidence established that Basel's past lost wages were $317,450 and his future lost earning capacity was $933,067.
Conversely, if an award is adjudged to be too little to adequately compensate a plaintiff for damages sustained, the court may order an additur (an order that a defendant consent to an addition to the amount awarded or, in the alternative, the court will order a new trial as to damages only).
Yet the jury's damage award was so low that the judge granted an additur motion to increase it.
Indeed, some state courts have even followed the more controversial federal additur jurisprudence.
With respect to a challenge to damages, a party can file a motion for remittitur or additur or a motion for new trial as to damages.
Schiedt, the Supreme Court appeared to find new respect for the jury's role in assessing damages, ruling that additur violated the Seventh Amendment and even expressing some doubt as to the constitutionality of remittitur.
The argument ignored the converse possibility of additur, perhaps making the jury think the deck was stacked against the plaintiff, and improperly invited the jury to shift responsibility of the verdict to the judge.
17) Plaintiff counsel should be prepared to request an additur in case damages are not awarded.
77 (1989) and the remittitur and additur statute, FLA.
Licht offered the defendants either a new trial or an additur in the amount of $1,00.