A $600,000 jury verdict for losing psychic powers? Sound ridiculous? Maybe, but maybe not. The name of the case is Haimes v. Temple University, and, other than the McDonald’s coffee spill case, perhaps no case has been used and misused as a tool to whip up on trial lawyers and the tort system. But as with the McDonald’s case, Haimes invariably gets twisted in the telling when being used as a propaganda tool in the crusade to restrict the rights of tort victims.
Plaintiff Judith Richardson Haimes brought a medical malpractice action against defendant after a CT scan allegedly caused her chronic and disabling headaches and prevented her from practicing her occupation as a psychic. A jury awarded her $600,000 after a four-day trial.
Always omitted from the news reporting of the case are two critical facts: (1) that the trial judge specifically instructed the jury it could NOT award damages for loss of her psychic abilities; and (2) that the verdict was overturned and a new trial granted.
Having cleared that up, the most interesting part of the case was the testimony pertaining to her psychic abilities. The plaintiff presented several police officers as witnesses who testified that plaintiffs’ psychic abilities had helped them solve cases. One special agent testified that he sought plaintiff’s advice in solving five to seven homicide cases and that information provided by plaintiff proved to be 80-90 percent accurate. The opinion describes detailed information plaintiff provided to help solve a variety of cases. It’s quite interesting.
— Haimes v. Temple University, 39 Pa. D. & C.3d 381 (Pa. Ct. Common Pleas 1986) (Thanks to Cynthia Cohan.)