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Brant v. Bockholt

Supreme Court of Iowa

May 24, 1995

Jonas BRANT, Appellant,
v.
Tina BOCKHOLT and Brenda J. Neil, Appellees.

Page 802

C.A. Frerichs of Fulton, Frerichs, Martin & Andrews, Waterloo, for appellant.

David L. Riley of Lindeman, Yagla, McCoy & Riley, Waterloo, for appellees.

Considered by HARRIS, P.J., and LARSON, CARTER, LAVORATO, and SNELL, JJ.

CARTER, Justice.

Plaintiff, Jonas Brant, who was awarded some damages in a personal injury action growing out of an automobile collision, appeals from that judgment. He urges that the damages awarded were inadequate, involved inconsistent elements of recovery, and were the product of erroneous jury instructions. The defendants in the action are Tina Bockholt and Brenda Neil, who were the driver and the owner, respectively, of an automobile that collided with another vehicle in which plaintiff was riding as a passenger. After considering the arguments presented, we conclude that the district court should not have instructed the jury that plaintiff's award for future pain and suffering must be reduced to present worth. As a result, we reverse the judgment of the district court and remand the case for a new trial on the issue of plaintiff's damages.

On February 2, 1990, a collision occurred between a motor vehicle in which plaintiff was riding as a passenger and another vehicle owned by defendant Brenda Neil and driven by Tina Bockholt. Defendant Bockholt had lost control of the automobile, crossed over the centerline, and collided with the vehicle in which plaintiff was riding. Plaintiff was thrown into the windshield and suffered severe cuts and lacerations to his face.

Following the collision, plaintiff was taken to Allen Memorial Hospital in Waterloo and later transferred to the University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City. He was hospitalized for two days. He later underwent four surgical procedures to reduce facial scarring. Plaintiff was in his senior year of high school when the collision occurred. He returned to school three weeks following his initial discharge from the hospital. Approximately six weeks following the collision, he was able to resume most normal activities and in the spring of 1990 participated on the school track team and in a school play.

At the time of trial, plaintiff was gainfully employed and indicated in his testimony that

Page 803

he was able to carry on normal life activities, including an active social life. Although he did not claim to have suffered physical pain as a result of the injuries sustained, he did sustain numbness in the facial area and permanent facial scarring.

The case was tried to a jury, and a verdict was returned awarding plaintiff the following amounts:




The jury awarded plaintiff nothing for past or future loss of function of the body or for ...


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