The Second Department agreed with the trial judge’s reduction of damages awarded by the jury in this wrongful death case but noted that the judge should have ordered a new trial unless plaintiff stipulated to the lower damages amount:
… [W]hile the 21-year-old Bohdan [plaintiff’s decedent], who worked in the family business, lived with his parents, and cared for his younger sibling, was described as a wonderful, loving son who was especially helpful around the home, based on the record, the Supreme Court properly concluded that the jury awards for past pecuniary loss and future pecuniary loss were excessive. … . … [I]t was procedurally improper for the court to reduce the awards of damages for past pecuniary loss and future pecuniary loss without granting a new trial on those issues unless the plaintiff stipulated to reduce the verdict … . Vitenko v City of New York, 2022 NY Slip Op 06515, Second Dept 11-16-22
Practice Point: If the trial judge decides the damages awarded by the jury are excessive, the proper procedure is to order a new trial unless the plaintiff stipulates to the reduced amount.