Torts Keyed to Goldberg
Kenton v. Hyatt Hotels Corp.
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On July 17, 1981, two of the skywalks located in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City collapsed and caused Kay Kenton, Plaintiff, substantial injury and death. At the time of the collapse, Plaintiff was in her twenties and had completed two years of law school. Plaintiff endured a broken neck thatcausedPlaintiff to have spinal cord damage, which permanently impaired her ability to walk, breathe, have children, and otherwise function as a regular individual. Also, Plaintiff was diagnosed with chronic, severe post-traumatic stress disorder. Thereafter,Plaintiff obtained a partial settlement with Hyatt Hotels Corp. and certain other defendants (collectively defendants) whereby Defendant stipulated to liability. The parties proceeded to trial only to determine damages. Due to the settlement,Plaintiff was unable to introduce evidence at trial regarding Defendant’s construction or maintenance of the skywalks. At trial, Plaintiff’s witness testified that the scene of the accident was chaotic and gruesome. Plaintiff also introduce a video and photographs into evidence. However, neither the videos nor the photos displayed images of dead or injured bodies. Furthermore, two law professors testified that due to Plaintiff’s injuries, it was unlikely that Plaintiff would be able to complete law school and practice as an attorney in the future.Overall, Plaintiff’s evidence illustrated a combined loss of income and medical costs ranging from $2,283,512 to $3,209,778. The jury awarded Plaintiff $4 million in compensatory damages. Defendant filed post-trial motions challenging the award as excessive. The trial judge concurred and granted a new trial unless Plaintiff would agree to a remittitur of $250,000. Both parties appealed, with Defendant requesting a remittitur of $2 million.
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