On appeal from Superior Court, Law Division, Mercer County.
King, Simpson and Scalera. The opinion of the court was delivered by Simpson, J.A.D.
In this product liability personal injury action, defendant saw manufacturer appeals from a $792,000 judgment entered upon a jury verdict on liability and damages, and denial of its motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, a new trial, and remittitur. On June 27, 1980 plaintiff, then age 19, was working for Suburban Fence Company. He was operating a radial saw manufactured by defendant and making dog ears for fence posts. A co-employee bumped his left arm, causing his left hand to go into the saw and resulting in amputation of the thumb and first three fingers of his left hand. Plaintiff sued the manufacturer on a theory of strict liability in tort alleging that the saw was defective when made and sold because it lacked a lower blade guard.
On the liability issue there was a conflict of expert testimony. Medical bills were stipulated as reasonable and necessary in the amount of $24,543.29. A psychiatrist, hand injury specialist, employability expert, and economist supported plaintiff's claims as to pain and suffering, permanent disability, and future loss of income. Defendant produced no witnesses as to damages and relied solely on cross-examination and legal argument. The contentions on appeal are that:
(1) The verdict as to causation was against the weight of the evidence.
(2) The economic testimony as to future loss of earnings was pure speculation.
(3) The economic testimony as to (2) should have been stricken because it did not address the tax consequences of an award for lost earnings.
(4) The verdict was excessive.
(5) The trial court failed to charge the jury that an award would not be subject to income taxes.
The scope and standard of our review of the denial of defendant's motions is essentially similar to the standard governing the trial judge as to jury verdict review, viz: There should be no reversal unless it clearly appears that there was a miscarriage of justice under the law. R. 2:10-1; Dolson v. Anastasia, 55 N.J. 2, 6-8 (1969); Carrino v. Novotny, 78 N.J. 355, 360 (1979); Baxter v. Fairmont Food Co., 74 N.J. 588, 595-601 (1977). We have carefully reviewed the record and the arguments in support of defendant's contentions (1) through (3) and are satisfied that the evidence in support of the jury verdict is not insufficient, the denial of the ...