The New Jersey State Bar Association provided insights into what role trial court judges should play when it comes to increasing or decreasing a judgment.
Thomas J. Manzo, a trustee of the New Jersey State Bar Foundation, argued the association’s amicus position when the New Jersey Supreme Court heard Orientale v. Jennings on Wednesday.
The association appeared as a friend of the court upon invitation by the Supreme Court, addressing specific questions on the propriety and application of additur and remittitur.
The questions boiled down to:
- Should both parties have the right to object to a trial court’s additur, or should only the defendant have that right?
- Should both parties have the right to object to a trial court’s remittitur, or should only the plaintiff have that right?
- In additur, should the court set the damages amount as the lowest reasonably supported by the record, or a reasonable amount supported by the record?
- In remittitur, should the court set the damages amount as the highest amount reasonably supported by the record, or a reasonable amount supported by the record?
The NJSBA highlighted the issue as one of importance because of the underlying implication that the Court is substituting its judgment regarding the proper quantum of damages to be awarded for that of the jury and the necessity of identifying the appropriate limitations and procedures to do so. In addition to the recommendation that both plaintiffs and defendants must be given the right to object to a trial court’s entry of additur or remittitur and insist on a new trial on damages, the association also set forth additional parameters to consider.