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Maddox v. Muirhead

January 14, 1999

GARY MADDOX
v.
JACK MUIRHEAD, JR. AND NORTH JACKSON HOTEL PROPERTIES, LTD. D/B/A RAMADA PLAZA HOTEL



Before Prather, C.j., McRAE And Waller, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Waller, Justice,

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/05/97

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JAMES E. GRAVES, JR.

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - PERSONAL INJURY

DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED - 1/14/99

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

¶1. Gary Maddox ("Maddox") sued for injuries he sustained in an altercation with Jack Muirhead, Jr., ("Muirhead") while both men were patrons at the 1001 Bar located on the premises of the Ramada Plaza Hotel ("Ramada"). The jury returned a verdict in favor of Maddox in the amount of $2,900.00, which was reduced by $580 to reflect Maddox's percentage of fault. The trial court denied Maddox's request for an additur or a new trial on the issue of damages. He now appeals from the denial of his motion to this Court and assigns the following issue for our consideration:

WHETHER THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY NOT GRANTING THE MOTION FOR ADDITUR OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE A NEW TRIAL AS TO DAMAGES ONLY.

DISCUSSION OF THE LAW

¶2. The law on the subject of additurs begins with Miss. Code Ann. § 11-1-55 (1991):

The supreme court or any other court of record in a case in which money damages were awarded may overrule a motion for a new trial or affirm on direct or cross appeal, upon condition of an additur or remittitur, if the court finds that the damages are excessive or inadequate for the reason that the jury or trier of facts was influenced by bias, prejudice, or passion, or that the damages awarded were contrary to the overwhelming weight of credible evidence. If such additur or remittitur be not accepted then the court may direct a new trial on damages only. If the additur or remittitur is accepted and the other party perfects a direct appeal, then the party accepting the additur or remittitur shall have the right to cross appeal for the purpose of reversing the action of the court in regard to the additur or remittitur.

¶3. This Court has expounded upon the above statutory language in the following instances.

¶4. In reviewing a trial court's grant or denial of an additur, this Court's standard of review is limited to an abuse of discretion. Rodgers v. Pascagoula Pub. Sch. Dist., 611 So.2d 942, 945 (Miss. 1992); State Highway Comm'n of Mississippi v. Warren, 530 So.2d 704, 707 (Miss. 1988). The party seeking the additur bears the burden of proving his injuries, loss of income, and other damages. We view the evidence in the light most favorable to the defendant, giving him all favorable inferences that may be reasonably drawn therefrom. Rodgers, 611 So.2d at 945; Odom v. Roberts, 606 So.2d 114 (Miss. 1992); Copeland v. City of Jackson, 548 So.2d 970, 974 (Miss. 1989); Hill v. Dunaway, 487 So.2d 807, 811 (Miss. 1986). Awards set by jury are not merely advisory and generally will not be "set aside unless so unreasonable as to strike mankind at first blush as being beyond all measure, unreasonable in amount and outrageous." Rodgers, 611 So.2d at 945 (citations omitted). The amount of damages awarded is primarily a question for the jury. South Cent. Bell Tel. Co. v. Ellis, 491 ...


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