In Buitrago v. Feaster, 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 20926, the plaintiff was injured in a four-car collision caused by the defendant. The jury found the defendant liable and awarded the plaintiff past medical expenses, future medical damages, lost wages, and past noneconomic damages. However, the jury did not award the plaintiff any future noneconomic damages. The plaintiff moved for a new trial, claiming that the evidence and verdict established that the plaintiff was legally entitled to future noneconomic damages. The plaintiff relied on Allstate Insurance Co. v. Manasse, 681 So. 2d 779 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996), for the proposition that the jury’s finding of a permanent injury automatically entitled her to recover future noneconomic damages as a matter of law. The trial court agreed and granted the plaintiff a new trial on the issue of future noneconomic damages and the defendants appealed.
The Second District Court of Appeal of Florida found that the trial court based its ruling on the argument that the jury must award future noneconomic damages as a matter of law when it finds that the plaintiff suffers a permanent injury. However, the Florida Supreme Court expressly rejected this view of the law when it held in Allstate Insurance Co. v. Manasse, 707 So. 2d 1110 (Fla. 1998), that a verdict is not inadequate as a matter of law when the jury finds a plaintiff has suffered a permanent injury but does not award future intangible damages. The correct standard to apply in considering a motion for new trial based on an allegedly inadequate award of noneconomic damages is whether the verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence. See Cloud v. Fallis, 110 So. 2d 669, 673 (Fla. 1959). The plaintiff failed to argue this standard to the trial court and the record made it clear that the trial court did not consider the weight of the evidence in granting the plaintiff a new trial on noneconomic damages. Therefore, the Second District Court of Appeal reversed the order granting the plaintiff a new trial on noneconomic damages.