circumstances Cosey confronted during her shift.
It may be true that the level of intoxication and the wrist injuries by themselves do not amount to serious risk to Bragado's health or life. Nonetheless, the evidence of Cosey's knowledge regarding the threat of suicide, the jail safety regulations and standards, and Bragado's physical and mental condition at the time of her custody, support the jury's finding. Accordingly, defendants' motion for j.n.o.v. is denied and the court will not disturb the jury's verdict.
Having denied defendants' motion for j.n.o.v., the court will turn to plaintiff's post-trial motion. Plaintiff's motion seeks a new trial as to damages only and additur as to the funeral expenses under the federal claim. Plaintiff raises no issue as to damages the jury awarded under the state claims including the amount of funeral expenses plaintiff recovered under those claims. The jury assessed damages in the amount of $ 5,000 under the Illinois Survival Act and $ 232,113.60 under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act: $ 230,000 for loss of society and $ 2,113.60 for funeral expenses. Under the federal claim, the jury assessed damages in the amount of $ 1 for loss of Bragado's enjoyment of life, $ 1 for loss of society, and $ 1 for funeral expenses. The jury awarded no punitive damages.
Plaintiff's motion for new trial on the federal claim damages is no more than a request for double recovery on the basis that plaintiff asserted two theories of liability. A plaintiff may pursue any and all viable theories of liability to recover compensation for an injury; however, the multiplicity of theories do not warrant multiple damages for a single injury. Gilmere v. City of Atlanta, 864 F.2d 734, 736 n.2 (11th Cir. 1989). A plaintiff seeking compensation for an injury under multiple theories of recovery may only recover once. Gentile v. County of Suffolk, 926 F.2d 142, 153 (2d Cir. 1991); Kipnis v. Meltzer, 253 Ill. App. 3d 67, 625 N.E.2d 320, 1993 Ill. App. LEXIS 1364, 1993 WL 336577, at *1 (Ill. Ct. App. 1993) (plaintiff may only have one satisfaction for an injury regardless of multiple theories of recovery sought for the injury). Duplication of recovery occurs by compensating a single injury under two different theories of recovery. Gentile, 926 F.2d at 154.
In the case at bar, the elements of damages under the federal claim and state claims are identical except for the loss of enjoyment of life and punitive damages which are recoverable under the federal claim only. Further, the factual allegations under the federal and state claims are identical. Plaintiff has recovered damages for the loss of society caused by the death of Bragado under the Wrongful Death Act, and plaintiff does not dispute the reasonableness of the amount. Granting a new trial in order to determine the damages for loss of society under the federal claims will vitiate the well settled public policy against double recovery for a single injury. There is no evidence to suggest that the loss of society under the federal claim was caused by an event other than Bragado's suicide. It was within the sound discretion of the jury to apportion the damages between the federal and state claims. Gentile, 926 F.2d at 154.
The risk of double recovery is more prevalent with respect to plaintiff's request for additur as to the funeral expenses under the federal claim. Plaintiff in his motion represents that the total amount of funeral expense is "$ 2,113.60." Pltf.'s Mot. at 4. It is undisputed that the jury awarded the Estate of Bragado the amount of $ 2,113.60 for funeral expenses. Additionally, the jury awarded $ 1 for funeral expenses under the federal claim. Thus, the total amount of damages the jury awarded for funeral expenses is $ 2,114.40: a $ 1 higher than the amount requested. If the court grants plaintiff's motion for additur, in the amount of $ 2,112.60, the total amount of damages for funeral expenses would be double the actual expense: $ 4,227.20.
Further, the jury's award of $ 1 for loss of enjoyment of life and refusal to award punitive damages are consistent with the evidence and cannot be deemed unreasonable. First, the subject matter of the case involved suicide. It was reasonable for the jury to determine that Bragado's loss of enjoyment of life amounted to almost nothing. Plaintiff relies on the evidence of Bragado's personal and employment history. However, the jury heard the evidence at trial and it was not unreasonable for the jury to give no weight to the damage evidence in assessing the loss of enjoyment of life, other than the act of suicide itself. Second, the jury's decision not to award any punitive damages is not unreasonable. During the closing argument, plaintiff's counsel himself requested a mere $ 5,000 for punitive damages. Given the value placed by plaintiff on damages to function as a deterrent factor, the jury's zero punitive damages cannot be deemed unreasonable. Therefore, a new trial on the damages under the federal claim is not only inappropriate, it would result in double recovery.
In sum, the court finds that the jury's verdict and award of damages in the instant case is supported by the evidence and is reasonable. The amount of damages and the jury's conscious effort to compensate plaintiff fully, but only once, also demonstrates their ability to reasonably view the evidence. Accordingly, the post-trial motions of the parties are denied.
For the foregoing reasons, defendants' motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict is denied. Additionally, plaintiff's motion for new trial and for additur is also denied.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
CHARLES RONALD NORGLE, SR., Judge
United States District Court