Wyman v. Leavitt

71 Me. 227

 

RULE:

Damages are recoverable when they are the natural and reasonable result of the defendant's unlawful act -- that is when they are such a consequence as in the ordinary course of things, would flow from such an act. This is the broad rule, covering all the elements of damages. The rule, though correct as a general abstract statement, has its limitations in particular cases. It may include insult and contumely, but they do not exist in every case of personal injury. Personal injury usually consists in pain inflicted both bodily and mental. When bodily pain is caused, mental follows as a necessary consequence, especially when the former is so severe as to create apprehension and anxiety. And not only the suffering experienced before the trial, but such as is reasonably certain to continue afterward, as the result of the injury, rightfully enters into the assessment of damages.

FACTS:

Defendant was blasting rocks onto land adjacent to property of plaintiffs. The blasting caused rocks to be thrown onto the plaintiffs' property. Plaintiffs sued defendant for property damage and for anxiety suffered by one of the plaintiffs. No plaintiff was physically injured by the blasting. A jury awarded damages for plaintiffs' mental suffering. Leavitt appealed.

ISSUE:

Whether plaintiff's testimony regarding her mental anguish and fear after the blasting should have been admitted.

ANSWER:

No, this testimony should not have been admitted in the first place.

CONCLUSION:

The Court granted defendant's motion for exception from the plaintiff's lawsuit, on the grounds that the plaintiff's testimony was not accompanied by any physical injury.

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