In Delahoussaye v. Performance Energy Services, L.L.C., No. 12-31222 (5th Cir. Oct. 24, 2013), plaintiff sued Performance Energy Services, LLC (“Performance”) and others for damages stemming from injuries he suffered during an accident while working a fixed platform in the Gulf of Mexico. The other defendants settled prior to trial. After a bench trial, the trial court held total damages were $800,000, found that Performance was 15% at fault, and assessed $200,000 in damages against Performance. On appeal, plaintiff argued that the district court mixed-up the allocation of liability and Performance should have been liable for 85%, and Performance crossappealed, arguing that it should not have been held liable. The Fifth Circuit rejected both arguments, but then went on to conclude that the trial court’s $200,000 damages award was excessive as a matter of law. Although that award was determined by the court, and not a jury, and although the issue was not raised by either the appeal or crossappeal, the appellate court compared that award to the general damages award of $65,000 in a similar case (with similarity determined by the nature of the respective plaintiffs’ injuries due to the same accident), and ordered a remittitur of the award to $65,000.
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Remittitur of damages award from bench trial ordered.
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