Economist quantifies lost wages, benefits and loss of enjoyment of life in 19-year-old Federal Tort Claims Act case of four women who each suffered crushing amputations of 2 fingers on one hand; Life Activity Calendars were prepared to illustrate a lifetime loss of quality of life.
Robert W. Johnson & Associates was retained to present economic testimony that would assist the jury in quantifying the plaintiffs’ loss of enjoyment of life. In addition, a LIFE ACTIVITY CALENDAR, with its high-impact colors, illustrated how the life activities of these plaintiffs were dramatically reduced.
Location: Los Angeles, California
Case: Case I.D. Confidential
Court: USDC Central Court
Judge: Hon. Consuelo B. Marshall
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Robert Feinstein (Woodland Hills, CA); Mervyn Wolf (Appell & Wolf, Encino, CA)
Case Synopsis: The four female plaintiffs, machine operators working for a government sub-contractor, were manufacturing rocket components. All four plaintiffs pressed the two-hand palm buttons; the ram of the 175-ton power press (which was owned by the defendant and had recently been supplied to the sub-contractor) came down, closed on the work pieces, and went back up. Fully expecting the ram to stop at the top of the cycle, each of the plaintiff women reached in with one hand to move the work pieces to a second forming die. Suddenly, the ram closed again, this time, chopping and crushing two fingers of each of the women’s hands before they could pull away.
Expert Consultation: Mr. Johnson calculated that the present cash value of lost wages and benefits ranged from $300,000 to $800,000 per plaintiff. The past and future cumulative medical expenses totaled less than $125,000.
Regarding quantifying the Loss of Enjoyment of Life, Mr. Johnson used the “Willingness-To-Pay” studies, accepted by both academic and federal government agencies, as providing a range of dollar values for the 100% (whole) Loss of Enjoyment of Life from a low of $1,800,000 to a mid-point or average of $6,200,000. Each plaintiff’s specific deficit in her quality of life was measured using standard psychological tests. These tests indicated an average loss in the enjoyment of life of 30% to 55%. Thus, for these plaintiffs, this would translate into an average Loss of Enjoyment of Life that ranges from $1,860,000 to $3,410,000.
Results: Defendants offered $2,000,000, with a final settlement after appeal of $4,000,000.
Attorney Comments: “Mr. Johnson’s dynamic yet concise presentation of the lost wages and benefits significantly validated the special damages we were seeking. The Life Activity Calendar, for each of the plaintiffs, powerfully illustrated the ongoing lifetime psychological trauma suffered by each plaintiff. Mr. Johnson was also helpful in providing data showing cost of living increase during the 19 year period since the accident. This helped to overcome the Federal statutory limitation on recovery of the outdated claimed amount.”