Does a defendant who fails to request a special verdict segregating the elements of damages on appeal forfeits the right to challenge a separate element of damages?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from Sabadia v. Holland & Knight LLP, B242773 (Cal. App. 2018):

"Courts have held in some circumstances that a defendant who fails to request a special verdict segregating the elements of damages forfeits the right to challenge a separate element of damages on appeal. [Citations.] The reason for this rule is that a reviewing court ordinarily cannot determine what amount was awarded for each element of damages requested and therefore cannot determine whether any error with respect to a particular element of damages was prejudicial. [Citations] Thus, the rule is based on the presumption that an appealed judgment is correct [citation] and the requirement that an appellant must present a record sufficient to overcome that presumption [citations]." (Gillan v. City of San Marino (2007) 147 Cal.App.4th 1033, 1053.) Accordingly, the rule is inapplicable when the appellant contends the jury's award of damages necessarily exceeds the amount recoverable under the plaintiff's claims. (Ibid.)

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