Section 6-11-3

Future damages; requirements if damages greater than $150,000; attorney's fees; periodic payments over period of years; specific findings; evidence of financial ability to make payments; evidence of present value inadmissible.

Where the damages assessed against a defendant by the trier of fact include an award of future damages, the trial court shall comply with the following in rendering its judgment in the case:

(1) Judgment shall be entered against the defendant for all past damages and punitive damages assessed against the defendant by the trier of fact.

(2) If the award of future damages assessed by the trier of fact is $150,000 or less, the trial court shall enter judgment against the defendants for the amount of such future damages.

(3) If the award of future damages assessed by the trier of fact is greater than $150,000, the trial court shall enter judgment as follows:

a. Judgment shall be entered against the defendant for $150,000 of such future damage.

b. If, as part of the plaintiff's contract with his attorney, the plaintiff is obligated to pay his attorney a fee based on that portion of the award of future damages which exceeds $150,000, the court shall determine what portion of the award of future damages in excess of $150,000 is owed to the attorney under the contract and shall enter judgment for the remainder of the award of future damages in excess of $150,000 as provided in c, below. As to that portion of the award of future damages in excess of $150,000 which is owed to the plaintiff's attorney, that portion shall be reduced to present value by the court and judgment shall be entered against the defendant for the reduced amount.

c.1. For that portion of a future damage award in excess of $150,000 and in excess of the attorney's fee subject to b, judgment shall be entered requiring the defendant to pay that portion of such future damages by periodic payments over a period of years not to exceed such period of years as, according to the evidence offered during the trial of the case, such future damages may be incurred. In entering a judgment against the defendants ordering the payment of future damages by periodic payment, the trial court shall make a specific finding as to the dollar amount of periodic payments which will compensate the judgment creditor for such future damages as the same may be incurred, as determined from the evidence offered during the trial of the case. If, or to the extent that, the evidence offered at trial did not indicate the approximate time or time frame or both within which the future damages would be incurred, the trial court, for the purpose of determining the amount of periodic payments and the interval between such payments, shall conclusively presume that such damages will be incurred throughout the life expectancy of the judgment creditor on an equal periodic basis. The judgment ordering payment of future damages by periodic payments shall specify the recipient or recipients of the payments, the dollar amounts of the payments, the interval between payments, and the number of payments or period of time over which payments shall be made. The total amount of all periodic payments when added to the sum of $150,000 and when added to that portion of the future damages award, not reduced to present value, which was used to calculate the attorney's fee in paragraph b, above, shall not exceed the total amount of future damages contained in the verdict of the trier of fact.

2. As a condition to authorizing periodic payments for future damages, the court must receive adequate assurance that the defendant can and will make all required payments. Such assurance may include the requirement that the defendant either have sufficient financial ability to make all required payments, post adequate bond, or other security, give evidence that there exists an insurance company, registered in this state, which is obligated to pay the judgment, or purchase an annuity of sufficient value to pay the future damages as structured, or any accelerated payments of those damages which might be required by this article. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as limiting the authority of the trial court to order a new trial, enter a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, or order a remittitur of damages. The provisions of this section shall also apply to any judgment following remittitur.

3. An award of future damages shall not be reduced to present value by the court, except as required in b above, and no interest is to be charged on said damages. Evidence of the present value of future damages is inadmissible in cases covered by this article, except at a hearing authorized by Section 6-11-5. If, however, the court determines that damages which should be structured pursuant to c above, cannot be structured due to the failure of the defendant to provide the financial assurances required in c 2 above, that portion of the future damage award shall be reduced to present value by the court prior to entry of judgment.

(Acts 1987, No. 87-183, p. 245, §3.)