Thu | Dec 8, 2022

Man who lost girlfriend over impotence wins $1m in damages

Published:Thursday | October 6, 2022 | 12:10 AMTanesha Mundle/Staff Reporter

A man who won a personal-injury suit, including $50,000 compensation for losing his girlfriend because of motor vehicle injuries that had left him impotent, has scored another victory after the Court of Appeal increased his general damages award to $1 million.

Orville Appleby, who had suffered injuries to his neck, back, and left knee, was in March 2015 awarded $773,544 in general damages by the Corporate Area Civil Court.

He was also awarded interest on that sum of three per cent per annum.

Appleby had sued Paulette Richards, the owner of a motor vehicle in which he had sustained the injuries during a crash on October 4, 2009.

A medical report, which was accepted by the court, said that Appleby had suffered multiple soft-tissue injuries.

The victim, who was a passenger, had testified that up to 2015 when the claim was being heard, he was still being affected by the injuries.

He had explained that he could not stand for extended periods and that he had even suffered erectile dysfunction in about February 2014.

But while contending that the disability had resulted in his girlfriend ending their relationship, Appleby, however, shared that the impotence was resolved and that he has since got married.

Richards, on the other hand, was not satisfied with the outcome and appealed the damages, claiming that there was no medical evidence to support the judge’s award. Her lawyer, Althea Wilkins, further argued that the judge had only relied on Appleby’s say-so, which was insufficient in the circumstances.

Wilkinson, while arguing that the judge had erred in awarding that sum, asked that the judge’s award be set aside and an award of $250,000 be granted.

Appleby, however, filed a counter-appeal, claiming that the judge had not sufficiently considered his oral testimony.

The Court of Appeal, in response, refused Richards’ appeal, while Appleby’s counter-appeal was allowed.

The appellate judges indicated that it could not lower the award as the judge had not erred in principle.

“The learned Parish Court judge, in his reasons for judgment, did not erroneously state any applicable principle of law. He was entitled to rely on the case of Benjamin v Ford due to the similarities of the injuries,” the Court of Appeal said in a recently published judgment.

In respect to the counter-appeal, the court said there was merit in Appleby’s complaint.

The Court of Appeal judges highlighted that while the Parish Court judge had discounted the updated award of $1,026,309.07 “to account for any distinguishing factors”, there was no statement about those negative factors.

“It seems to us that the injuries were sufficiently similar to allow the updated award to stand and be only restricted by the limit to the jurisdiction of that court, which is $1 million,” the judges said.

“In that regard, the learned Parish Court judge erred,” they added while noting that the appeal, as a result, should be dismissed.

Attorney-at-law Debby-Ann Samuels represented Appleby.

tanesha.mundle@gleanerjm.com