Torts Keyed to Dobbs
Smith v. Whitaker
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Defendant, driving an oil truck, was unable to stop at an intersection because of improperly adjusted brakes. He collided with sixty year-old widow, Helen Robbins (Robbins), landing atop her vehicle. Robbins was killed in the accident. Smith (Plaintiff), the executor of Robbins’ estate, brought two causes of action pursuant to statutes governing 1) wrongful death; and 2) the rights of representatives of a decedent’s estate to pursue recovery. The trial court dismissed the claim for pain and suffering in the second claim pursuant to New Jersey’s Survival Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:15-3, because Robbins was unconscious following the collision. The jury awarded Plaintiff damages in the wrongful death action, and the trial court permitted evidence for a determination of punitive damages, which were subsequently awarded for $1.25 million. The Appellate Division affirmed.
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