What does additur mean?
Additur is a term that describes when a jury awards a certain amount of damages but the judge then increases the damages awarded to the plaintiff. This action by a trial judge is not permitted in U.S. federal courts, but some states have allowed for additur in the past.
What is the Opposite of additur?
The opposite is called remittitur. This occurs when a judge decreases the amount for damages originally awarded by the jury. This action by a trial judge is allowed under federal law.
What makes remittitur Legal in U.S. Federal Courts?
Remittitur is allowed in U.S. federal courts because of conditions under the Seventh Amendment. The Seventh Amendment gives rights to parties for a jury trial and also states that suits in common law cannot be reexamined in other U.S. Court because of the Re-Examination Clause. However, the trial judge does have the ability to decrease the settlement awarded by the jury.
This clause has been addressed during several cases throughout history. The cases below provide analysis about remittitur and additur.
Dimick vs. Schiedt (1935)
During this case, Peter Schiedt recovered damages from David G. Dimick for injuries related to negligence. The jury awarded the plaintiff with $500, but Schiedt petitioned for a re-trial to increase the compensation to $1,500. The respondent appealed and the court sided with the respondent because of conditions in the Seventh Amendment.
Fisch v. Manger (1957)
Additur was allowed in this case because the plaintiff did not receive justice after the jury initially awarded $3,000 to the plaintiff for serious injuries incurred during a car accident. After the verdict, the judge stated that unless the awards were increased to $7,500, he would set aside the verdict and issue a new trial for the damages only. The judge was allowed to issue a new trial because the awards offered to the plaintiff were insignificant compared to the injuries.