The First Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a 2.77 million dollar verdict for clam boat crewman Wojciech Bielunas, who suffered a severely fractured foot.
The employer, F/V Misty Dawn, had appealed the verdict as excessive and sought to have the Appellate Court reduce the size of the award. The Appellate Court noted the seriousness of Bielunas’ injury and the lifelong suffering that Bielunas was likely to endure.
In refusing to reduce the approximately $2,000,000 in pain and suffering damages, the Court found the award to not be shocking or lavish and refused to upset the decision of the jury and the District Court that heard the evidence. In upholding the award the Court noted that the jury had not acted out of passion or prejudice and had reduced the crewman’s gross verdict by 15% for comparative fault.
The First Circuit rejected the vessel owner’s attempt to compare Bielunas’ verdict to other verdicts from other jurisdictions, finding that each case should stand on its own merit.