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Pinney v. Carrera, 2020 UT 43 (July 6, 2020)

Jul 6, 2020

This appeal arose from the district court’s denial of post-trial motions in an automobile accident case where the jury awarded $300,000 in general damages to the plaintiff, but no special damages.  The defendant argued that the general damage award was excessive, and that the plaintiff had not made a threshold showing that she had a permanent disability or impairment based upon objective findings because the treating physician who testified at trial was tainted by personal bias.  The court affirmed the district court’s rulings, holding that the “based upon objective findings” requirement of Utah Code § 31A-22-309 does not require findings untainted by bias; rather it requires only findings based on externally verifiable phenomena.  The court also rejected the argument that the award of general damages must be reversed because of lack of evidence of economic harm.