Jury awards verdict of $1,600,000 for the death of 75-year-old widower; no minor children; loss of Human Value of Life testimony and LIFE ACTIVITY CALENDAR admitted into evidence.
Robert W. Johnson & Associates was retained to (a) present economic testimony that would help the jury quantify the loss of love, care, comfort, society, etc., to the surviving adult children and (b) prepare a LIFE ACTIVITY CALENDAR, admitted through lay testimony, that would graphically show the close family relationship which had existed.
Location: Youngstown, Ohio
Case: Ponzi v. City of Youngstown, Youngstown, Ohio
Court: Mahoning County Court, No. 87 cv 1413
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: H.A. DiBlasio & Associates, by H.A. DiBlasio, Youngstown, Ohio
Case Synopsis: Mr. Joseph Bucik, a 75-year-old widower, was struck and killed by an unmarked police car driven by a police officer who was shown to have a 0.125 blood alcohol level.
Mr. Bucik had been an extremely active 75-year-old. He had recently won the local mixed doubles bowling tournament and a senior golf championship tournament. He enjoyed gardening and spent every holiday with his children. Mr. Bucik's married adult children sued for the loss of their father's love, care, comfort, society, etc.
Expert Testimony: Robert W. Johnson testified that, based on federal government studies and accepted economic analysis, the dollar value range for a human value or "non-economic" value of life is from $1,600,000 to $8,500,000. These numbers are independent of life expectancy adjustment and are considered appropriate compensation by the federal government for compensation of non-financial losses such as love, care, comfort, society, consortium, etc.
Attorney Comments: "You did a great job. This case had significant problems, limited pecuniary damages and a plaintiff with a less than 10-year life expectancy, yet you were able to convey significant economic concepts and large numbers to the jury in an easily understandable manner; thus having a dramatic impact on opposing counsel's cross examination."
Results: The defense never made a settlement offer and asked the jury for a defense verdict. The jury returned a verdict of $1,600,000 for the loss of Mr. Bucik's love, care, comfort, society, and funeral expenses.