Sunday, November 10, 2013

Martin v. United States case brief

Martin v. United States case brief summary
471 F. Supp. 6 (1979)

The court determined damages to be awarded plaintiffs, minor children by and through their next of friends and personal representatives, in their action under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C.S. §§ 1346, 2674. The case was tried in the federal district court on the issue of defendant government's negligence. The court found in favor of the minors, and found against the government on the issue of contributory negligence.

The injured minors were riding home from school on a motorbike when they struck a sagging or "down" power line negligently maintained by the government. In a prior proceeding, the government's liability was established.


  • The court, therefore, determined damages
  • The court found that the damage elements were: 
  • 1) Past medical expenses, which were agreed; 
  • 2) Future medical expenses, which were also agreed, save for minor aspects; 
  • 3) Present value of lost future earning capacity; 
  • 4) Pain and suffering, and interference with normal and usual activities.


  • The court found that the minors sustained severe burns. 
  • Based upon the testimony and the expertise and credibility of the witnesses, the court concluded that the minors would probably have held certain positions as adults. 
  • Therefore, the court calculated the likely earnings each minor would have enjoyed, but for the accident. 
  • The court then made calculations regarding the likely amount of interest on the money, taking into consideration the annual rate of wage inflation. 
  • Thus, the court issued an award for loss of the minor's earning capacity amounts. 
  • Moreover, the court issued an award for pain and suffering for each minor.
The court issued its findings of fact and conclusions regarding damages to be awarded the injured minors in their action against the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Suggested Study Aids For Tort Law

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