Judgments upon Verdicts in Personal Injury Cases Affirmed; Punitive Damages; Taxation of Costs - Thomas v. Heard


Thomas v. Heard, [Ms. 1150118, Mar. 24, 2017] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2017). On rehearing, the Court affirms in part judgments entered by the Geneva Circuit Court upon a jury’s verdict awarding compensatory and punitive damages for multiple severe injuries in an intersection collision case caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol and Seroquel. The Court finds the defendant driver’s motions for JML were properly denied as the jury’s verdict was supported by clear and convincing evidence of wantonness by the driver in entering the intersection while not in the possession of his normal faculties at the time of the accident as the result of his voluntary consumption of alcohol and the prescription medication. However, because the circuit court failed to explain in writing its reasons for not remitting the punitive damages awards, a remand was required pursuant to Williford v. Emerton, 935 So. 2d 1150 (Ala. 2004) so the trial court “could reflect in the record the reasons for interfering with the jury verdict, or refusing to do so, on the grounds of excessiveness of the damages.” Ms. *39-40.

The Court also rejects the defendant driver’s contention that the trial court erred in taxing costs pursuant to Rule 54(d), Ala. R. Civ. P. Upon reviewing the evidence of record, the Court found no error in taxation of costs for things such as deposition transcripts and the like. The Court found fault in the driver’s failure to point to excerpts from the voluminous record justifying his contentions given the requirement of Rule 28(a)(10), Ala. R. App. P. that a party provide “citations to the ... parts of the record relied on.” Ms. *43-44. The Court states

Further, ‘it is well settled that a failure to comply with the requirements of Rule 28(a)(10) requiring citation of authority in support of the arguments presented provides this Court with a basis for disregarding those arguments.’ State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Motley, 909 So. 2d 806, 822 (Ala. 2005)(citing Ex parte Showers, 812 So. 2d 277, 281 (Ala. 2001)). This is so, because ‘“it is not the function of this Court to do a party’s legal research or to make and address legal arguments for a party based on undelineated general propositions not supported by sufficient authority or argument.”’ Butler v. Town of Argo, 871 So. 2d 1, 20 (Ala. 2003)(quoting Dykes v. Lane Trucking, Inc., 652 So. 2d 248, 251 (Ala. 1994)).”

Jimmy Day Plumbing & Heating, Inc. v. Smith, 964 So. 2d 1, 9 (Ala. 2007).

Ms. *44.

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