Legal Memorandum: Damages in a Psychological Injuries Claim

Issue: What level of damages may a plaintiff expect on a claim for psychological injuries, namely post-traumatic stress syndrome and depression?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Psychological Injuries Claim; Damages; Post-traumatic stress syndrome and depression
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 467 So. 2d 128; 592 A.2d 1126; 912 F.2d 80; 569 N.Y.S.2d 889
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 04/01/2001

           DiLeo v. Nugent, 592 A.2d 1126 (Md. Ct. App. 1991).  The plaintiff claimed to have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of improper sexual advances by her psychotherapist.  The plaintiff’s expert claimed that she would be unable to resume her own career in psychotherapy and would require regular and continuing therapy, which was ongoing at the time of trial.  The appellate court upheld a verdict of $700,000, which included $500,000 in general damages.

Spivey v. United States., 912 F.2d 80 (4th Cir. 1990).  The plaintiff suffered minor physical injuries in a collision with an automobile driven by a U.S. Navy recruiter.  The plaintiff claimed to have suffered severe psychological damages as a result of the accident including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anhedonia (a loss of ability to enjoy).  The appellate court upheld an award of $870,191.11 to the principal plaintiff and $339,000 to her husband.  The case was originally tried in the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Scheurer v. Gemco Pharmo, Inc., No. 84-5658 (Washo Cty. Dist. Ct., Nevada, filed October 1985).  The plaintiff, a 45-year-old school vice principal, claimed that he suffered post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from a car accident caused by the defendant pharmacy’s provision of sleeping pills when an antibiotic had been prescribed.  The court entered its order on a $28,800 jury verdict. 

Soileau v. Olin Corp., 467 So. 2d 128 (La. Ct. App. 1985).  The plaintiff suffered a […]

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