Portsmouth Circuit Judge James Hawks called the verdict for a merchant seaman “appallingly excessive.”
The verdict – for $20 million compensatory damages and $5 million in punitives – was among the largest ever reported in Virginia, but the defendant shipping line protested it was far out of line for a claim of failure to provide adequate medical attention.
As The Virginian-Pilot reports, Hawks agreed. He eliminated the punitive award and ordered the plaintiff to accept a judgment of $2 million or submit to a new trial.
Plaintiff’s lawyer James Chapman said the plaintiff is considering his options.
By Peter Vieth