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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On Oct. 17, 2003, Richard Reeder shot Gregory Allport in the neck. Gregory survived, spent 20 days in the hospital, spent another 42 days in a Houston rehabilitation facility and spent two and a half weeks in a Beaumont rehabilitation facility. As a result of permanent paralysis, Gregory is confined to a wheelchair. After the shooting, Gregory was physically unavailable to his family for nine weeks. During that time, Deborah Allport learned how to catheterize Gregory every four hours, manually stimulate his bowels to induce defecation, properly treat his skin to prevent ulcers, bathe him and transfer him into a wheelchair. In the months following the accident, Deborah had to bathe and dress Gregory, because he was confined to a bed and could not perform those basic functions for himself. For a time, Gregory was depressed, because he had not yet accepted that he was paralyzed. While Gregory recuperated in Houston, his two children could only see him on weekends. According to Deborah, Janna, the couple’s daughter, had trouble coping with her father’s condition. She was rarely at home or would leave the room when Gregory struggled to turn over. Derrick became withdrawn and reacted to the stress of his father’s injury and hospitalization by sleepwalking. Both children reported having to help their father get into his wheelchair after he fell. Derrick felt that he had to help and protect his father. Janna agreed there was a role reversal with her father because of his difficulty performing basic tasks such as cooking. Derrick reported that Gregory still helps him with his homework and that the family has grown closer since the shooting. Gregory will give Janna away at her June wedding, and she still confides in her father. Gregory and his son cannot go camping or play football like they used to; now their activities together are limited to watching television. Because the spinal cord injury left him without any feeling below the armpits, at age 48, Gregory can no longer engage in sexual intercourse with Deborah. Deborah must sleep on the couch, because Gregory cannot roll over if she is in the bed with him. Although she loves her husband dearly, she described having “days that I don’t want to wake up, and that I want to run out the door and hide because of the pressure and the loss of emotional contact with my husband, physical contact.” Gregory and Deborah Allport had been married 23 years at the time of the trial, 19 months after the shooting. The jury awarded Deborah $76,000 for past loss of consortium and $1 million for future loss of consortium. The Allports’ daughter Janna was 17 at the time of the incident. The jury awarded Janna $100,000 for loss of consortium in the past and $25,000 for loss of consortium in the future. The Allports’ son Derrick was in the ninth grade when his father was shot. The jury awarded Derrick $100,000 for loss of consortium in the past and $75,000 for loss of consortium in the future. Reeder challenged the jury’s verdict on past loss of consortium for the children and both past and future loss of consortium for Deborah. Reeder did not challenge other types of damages that the trial court awarded to Gregory. Reeder conceded that Gregory Allport suffered a severe and disabling injury. The consortium damages awarded by the jury are excessive, he argued, because as a result of the accident, Gregory Allport’s relationship with the other members of his family were strengthened, not destroyed. Reeder argued that, unlike cases in which the injured spouse or parent dies or suffers a brain injury that prevents meaningful interplay with the members of the family, Allport still occupies his place as husband and father, and he provides the affection and companionship compensated by awards for loss of consortium. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court determined whether sufficient evidence supported the loss of consortium damages. The court found that the Allports’ testimony revealed the blessings of a strong marriage and devoted children. But Gregory’s devastating physical injuries profoundly altered those relationships, the court found. Reeder, the court stated, pointed out that Deborah, Janna and Derrick have not lost Gregory’s love and comfort. But the court found that love and comfort are not the only manifestations of parental consortium. Gregory’s injuries were severe and altered both the physical activities in which he can engage with his children and the way in which they now must perform simple tasks that consume everyday life. Although Reeder did not destroy the children’s relationship with their father, the evidence of Janna’s and Derrick’s loss of consortium was not so weak or the evidence to the contrary so overwhelming as to make the jury’s damages finding manifestly unjust, shocking to the conscience or a clear demonstration of bias. The court held that factually sufficient evidence supported the findings for loss of parental consortium in the past and that the jury’s award of damages was not excessive. Similarly, the court found that the Allports’ marriage endured through a grueling hospitalization and rehabilitation. The permanent loss of sexual relations and Gregory’s shift from a role as helpmate to one as a dependent, the court found, provided the jury with factually sufficient evidence of a loss of consortium in the future. The court held that the jury’s findings on past loss of spousal consortium and future loss of spousal consortium were supported by factually sufficient evidence, and that the jury’s damage award was not excessive. OPINION:McKeithen, C.J.; McKeithen, C.J., and Gaultney and Kreger, J.J.

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