Michael and Cynthia Lamb sued John's Heating Service claiming that John's Heating negligently failed to repair their furnace or to warn the Lambs of its dangerous condition. John's Heating raised a statute of limitations defense that the trial court precluded in a summary judgment order. The trial court also rejected John's Heating's pretrial challenge to the admissibility of the testimony of several of the Lambs' medical experts. After trial, the jury returned a verdict against John's Heating, reduced by the comparative negligence of the Lambs. John's Heating appeals the grant of summary judgment on its statute of limitations defense, the admission of expert testimony, jury instructions on negligence, the denial of summary judgment on causation of Michael Lamb's retirement, the grant of prejudgment interest on future economic damages, and the validity of a joint offer of judgment. The Lambs cross-appeal the jury instruction on comparative negligence, cross-appeal the admission of evidence of Michael Lamb's disability retirement, and claim inconsistency in the verdict. Because a disputed issue of fact exists as to when the statute of limitations began to run, we reverse the grant of summary judgment and remand that issue to the superior court for further proceedings. Because our law does not allow prejudgment interest on future damages, we strike that award. On the issue of whether an unapportioned joint offer by joint offerors is valid to invoke the enhanced interest penalty provisions of Alaska Civil Rule 68, we conclude that such an offer was valid in this case. On all of the numerous other issues on appeal and cross-appeal, we affirm.
II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS
In August 1991 Michael and Cynthia Lamb bought and moved into a problem-plagued house
The Lambs alleged that they told Galloway that their furnace was not functioning properly, that the furnace seemed to be circulating soot throughout their home, and that they were concerned by the persistent smell of fuel in the house. As evidence of the problem, Cynthia showed Galloway "Bounce" fabric softener sheets that she had been inserting in the floor vents to filter out soot and grime that she suspected the furnace was circulating throughout the house. The
John's Heating disputed the Lambs' version of the facts. John's Heating claimed that the Lambs informed neither Galloway nor the employee that answered the Lambs' telephonic request for service that they suspected the furnace was circulating flue gases or other combustion byproducts into the living space. Neither of the business records relating to the Lambs' service call showed that John's Heating was informed of, or suspected, a more serious furnace problem.
Both parties agreed that all Galloway did was level the fuel tank and relight the furnace.
The Lambs began to suffer physical effects from what they later alleged was carbon monoxide poisoning caused by their furnace. Both said that they started to feel tired and confused, and that they lacked concentration and memory.
The Lambs continued to live in the house and to use the furnace until January 31, 1993. At that time, they called Jerry Cloudy at Chase Plumbing, another furnace repair and heating business in Kodiak, to inspect their furnace. Cloudy informed the Lambs that their furnace was probably circulating carbon monoxide and other flue gases throughout their home and advised them not to use it while they were home until they could get it replaced. The Lambs had the furnace replaced six days later. However, they continued to suffer residual physical and neurological problems that they attributed to longterm, low-level carbon monoxide exposure
The Lambs filed suit against a number of defendants, including John's Heating, on December 23, 1993. John's Heating asserted the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense. John's Heating also moved for summary judgment on the statute of limitations issue, claiming that its only contact with the Lambs was on October 15, 1991, and that the Lambs did not file suit until December 23, 1993, more than two years later. The trial court denied John's Heating's motion for summary judgment and granted the Lambs' cross-motion for summary judgment without explanation, precluding John's Heating from asserting a statute of limitations defense at trial.
John's Heating also tried to preclude the testimony of the Lambs' medical experts regarding chronic carbon monoxide exposure. However, the court denied John's Heating's motion, concluding that "[i]n the case of carbon monoxide exposure, the scientific community has not yet been able to conclusively measure specific neurocognitive damages in relation to specific amounts of exposure. Lack of specific information, however, cannot permit defendant to shield itself from liability. This issue is for a jury to decide." The superior court allowed the Lambs' experts to testify.
After a week-long trial in July 1998, the jury rendered a verdict for the Lambs. The jury awarded $810,000 in damages for Michael Lamb and $815,000 in damages for Cynthia Lamb. Each award was composed of both past and future damages. However, the jury also reduced the awards because it found that both Lambs were comparatively negligent in continuing to operate the furnace even though they knew or should have known that it was dangerous and that it was injuring them. The jury found Michael forty-five percent at fault for his injuries and found Cynthia forty percent at fault for her injuries. The verdict was accordingly reduced by those percentages.
After the jury returned its verdict, the Lambs submitted a proposed order of final judgment containing interest calculations and attorney's fees awards. The court adopted the Lambs' proposed order, which applied an enhanced interest rate of 15.5% for its computation of the prejudgment interest on the jury's award. The court ordered enhanced prejudgment interest because John's Heating had not accepted the Lambs' pretrial joint
John's Heating appeals on six issues: (1) whether the superior court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the Lambs on the statute of limitations issue; (2) whether the Lambs' expert testimony on chronic carbon monoxide exposure should have been inadmissible; (3) whether the jury instructions on negligence were in error; (4) whether the superior court erred in failing to grant summary judgment that Michael Lamb's Coast Guard retirement was due to his back injury and not chronic carbon monoxide exposure; (5) whether prejudgment interest on future economic damages that are discounted to the time of trial is an impermissible double recovery; and (6) whether the Lambs' joint offer of judgment was invalid to trigger the Civil Rule 68 prejudgment interest penalty. The Lambs cross-appeal on three issues: (1) whether the court erred by giving a jury instruction on comparative negligence; (2) whether admitting evidence of Michael Lamb's disability retirement violated the collateral source rule; and (3) whether the jury rendered an inconsistent verdict by failing to award Michael Lamb past economic damages.
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
We review a trial court's order granting summary judgment de novo.
We review the trial court's admission of expert scientific evidence for an abuse of discretion.
We review whether a jury instruction is appropriately "tailored to the case at hand" under the abuse of discretion standard.
Finally, questions of law are reviewed de novo.
A. Summary Judgment Was Not Appropriate Because the Date that the Lambs Reasonably Should Have Discovered that They Were Being Exposed to Carbon Monoxide Due to John's Heating Negligence Is a Disputed Factual Issue.
John's Heating argues that summary judgment was improperly granted on the statute of limitations issue. John's Heating notes that whether the Lambs had sufficient information to prompt reasonable people to conduct an inquiry to protect their rights was in dispute when the trial court granted summary judgment. The Lambs counter by arguing that as a matter of law the statute of limitations did not begin to run "until the Lambs had reason to believe not only that the furnace was operating poorly but also to suspect that they were injured and that it had injured them." The Lambs conclude that the date on which their cause of action accrued was therefore January 31, 1993, when Jerry Cloudy of Chase Plumbing told them the furnace was probably malfunctioning. The superior court apparently agreed with the Lambs since it granted summary judgment in their favor on this issue.
Alaska Statute 09.10.070(a) states that "[e]xcept as otherwise provided by law, a person may not bring an action ... for personal injury or death ... unless the action is
The date on which the statute of limitations begins to run is a factual question.
1. The discovery rule provides the legal test as to when the statute of limitations began to run on the Lambs' negligence claim.
Where an element of a cause of action is not immediately apparent,
Thus, under the discovery rule there are two possible dates on which the statute of limitations can begin to run
The Lambs' argument that their cause of action did not accrue until January 1993, when they were informed that they had probably been exposed to carbon monoxide by their furnace, addresses the first potential date provided by the discovery rule. That is, the Lambs argue that their cause of action did not accrue until they had actual knowledge of the source of their injuries.
2. John's Heating presented sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact as to the inquiry-notice date on which the statute of limitations began to run.
Following the inquiry-notice approach under the discovery rule, John's Heating suggests that it provided sufficient information for a jury to find that the Lambs knew or should have known that they were being exposed to carbon monoxide as early as October 15, 1991. In the material supporting its summary judgment motion on this issue, John's Heating presented evidence to support its theory that the Lambs should have known that they were being exposed to combustion byproducts but took no action to protect themselves. John's Heating provided evidence that even under the Lambs' version of the facts they knew: (1) that an apparently malfunctioning furnace was causing them headaches, prompting them to call for a repair of the furnace;
Our holding in Meyer v. State, Department of Revenue, Child Support Enforcement Division, ex rel. N.G.T.
The facts put forth by John's Heating, and the supporting deposition testimony of the Lambs, created a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the Lambs had sufficient information to constitute inquiry notice under the discovery rule. Accordingly, the trial court improperly granted summary judgment to the Lambs on the statute of limitations issue.
We remand the statute of limitations issue to the superior court for determination as a preliminary question of fact.
On remand, the superior court must first determine whether the Lambs had sufficient information to alert a reasonable person to begin an inquiry before December 22, 1991. If the superior court finds that the Lambs were on inquiry notice before December 22, 1991, the superior court must also determine whether the third part of the discovery rule applies. If the superior court finds that the Lambs were on inquiry notice and the third part does not apply to toll the statute of limitations, the Lambs' claim would be barred by the statute of limitations, and the jury verdict against John's Heating must be vacated. However, if the superior court finds otherwise, the jury verdict and award should stand subject to our rulings on the remaining issues of this appeal.
B. The Superior Court Did Not Abuse Its Discretion in Admitting the Lambs' Expert Testimony.
John's Heating appeals the superior court's admission of the testimony of the Lambs' experts regarding their injuries from chronic carbon monoxide exposure. John's Heating attacks this admission of evidence on two fronts. First, John's Heating argues that the Lambs' experts' testimony does not meet the admissibility requirements of State v. Coon
During the pendency of this case, we decided the relevant test and standard procedure by which trial courts must evaluate challenged scientific evidence in State v. Coon.
Our overall intent in Coon was to continue and clarify our liberal admissibility standard for expert witness testimony.
Coon listed four factors to be considered by a trial court in assessing the admissibility of scientific evidence:
We noted in Coon that this standard might also be met by confirmation that the evidence is "derived by the scientific method [or] ... based on scientifically valid principles."
1. The theory that chronic carbon monoxide exposure is harmful is admissible under Coon and has sufficient evidentiary foundation.
John's Heating attacks the Lambs' experts' testimony based on three specific shortcomings: (1) although short-term, high-concentration carbon monoxide exposure is known to be harmful, insufficient evidence supports the extrapolation that long-term, low-level exposure is harmful; (2) differential diagnosis
The theory that chronic exposure to carbon monoxide has harmful effects satisfies two of the Coon factors: the theory enjoys general acceptance and has been published. All five of the experts, including Drs. McCarthy and Brent for John's Heating, agreed that chronic carbon monoxide exposure could be harmful. Dr. Becker testified more
Several publications on chronic carbon monoxide exposure are available. The record contains two: a paper entitled "Memory Disturbances Following Chronic, Low-Level Carbon Monoxide Exposure" and the "Indoor Air Pollution" guide sponsored in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which includes a table showing the effects associated with acute and less-than-acute blood concentrations of carbon monoxide. In addition, Dr. Hartlage has recently drafted a paper on chronic carbon monoxide exposure, which is in the process of peer review and publication, and Dr. Becker testified to the existence of other papers, case studies of chronic carbon monoxide exposure. The reliability of the theory that chronic carbon monoxide exposure is harmful is sufficiently supported by these publications and its general acceptance.
John's Heating argues that because the threshold level at which carbon monoxide becomes harmful is unknown, the theory that chronic carbon monoxide exposure is harmful is unreliable. John's Heating questions the extrapolation from the fact that acute exposure causes neurological harm to the theory that chronic exposure can also cause harm. Other courts have warned against unwarranted extrapolations and required such evidence to be "reasonable and scientifically valid."
We conclude that the extrapolation from the fact that short-term, high-level carbon monoxide exposures are harmful (and sometimes fatal) to the theory that long-term, low-level carbon monoxide exposures are also harmful is generally reasonable. And the published case studies indicate that the theory is scientifically valid. The "analytical gap" between the known harmful acute exposures to carbon monoxide and the unknown threshold for harmful lower-level, longer-duration exposure is not fatal to admission of the Lambs' experts. Empirical testing is but one factor in the Coon test.
The fact that such testing on humans simply cannot be ethically undertaken explains and excuses the lack of testing to some extent. In this case, the lack of empirical testing does not render the theory so unreliable as to require exclusion.
John's Heating also challenges the differential diagnosis methodology by which several of the Lambs' experts came to the conclusion that the Lambs were harmed by chronic exposure to carbon monoxide.
John's Heating's argument that the trial court should have excluded the Lambs' experts' differential-diagnosis testimony as scientifically unreliable fails because differential diagnosis is a standard medical methodology.
We decline to hold differential-diagnosis methodologies inadmissible in light of the medical community's daily use of the same methodologies in diagnosing patients.
Of course, "[a] differential diagnosis that fails to take serious account of other potential causes may be so lacking that it cannot provide a reliable basis for an opinion on causation."
Finally, John's Heating contends that the Lambs did not provide any record evidence that they were exposed to carbon monoxide. According to John's Heating, there was not an adequate basis either for the experts to opine that the Lambs were exposed to carbon monoxide or for the jury to make the same finding.
Although the Lambs did not produce any direct evidence that they were ever exposed to carbon monoxide, such as ambient air measurements of carbon monoxide in their home or blood samples indicating elevated carboxyhemoglobin levels taken while the allegedly defective furnace was operating, they did provide circumstantial evidence. For instance, they provided the testimonial evidence of Cloudy and Clark that an improperly operating furnace with corroded components could introduce carbon monoxide into a home. And they provided pictures documenting the corroded condition of their furnace. Thus, there was an evidentiary footing from which both the Lambs' experts and the jury could build a logical framework of facts indicating the Lambs were exposed to carbon monoxide.
2. The superior court did not commit reversible error by failing to hold an evidentiary hearing under the
Coon standards before admitting the Lambs' experts' testimony.
John's Heating asserts that the trial court should have conducted a more thorough evidentiary inquiry before admitting the Lambs' experts' scientific testimony. John's Heating argues that the trial court effectively abandoned its "gatekeeper" role by failing to probe the validity and scientific bases of the Lambs' evidence when it was challenged in a pretrial motion. We note, however, that John's Heating merely filed a motion in limine to preclude the Lambs' experts' testimony. Because John's Heating did not ask the superior court for an evidentiary hearing, it effectively waived its right to one.
In sum, the Lambs' experts' theories are sufficiently reliable for admissibility under Coon and have adequate evidentiary foundation. Also, the trial court was not required to hold a Coon admissibility hearing sua sponte. Accordingly, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting the testimony of the Lambs' medical experts.
C. The Superior Court Properly Treated the Lambs' Claim as a Professional Negligence Claim; It Committed Harmless Error by Excluding the Testimony of Qualified Experts on the Standard-of-Care Issue.
John's Heating argues that the trial court erred by deeming this a professional negligence case. This raises two issues. The first is whether the actions of Galloway, the John's Heating employee who responded to the Lambs' request for service, should be held to a standard of care attributable to that of a skilled furnace repairperson acting under like circumstances. The second issue is whether expert testimony was required to establish the relevant standard of care. John's Heating also argues that the superior court abused its discretion by excluding all testimony on the standard of care except that of Pat Clark, one of the Lambs' expert witnesses.
1. Because the level of skill and knowledge required of a competent furnace repairperson is specific to the skill of furnace service and repair, the Lambs' claim is one for professional negligence.
John's Heating argues that this case does not fall under the rubric of professional negligence. We disagree. A claim that a provider of skilled services committed negligence states a claim of professional negligence.
Courts have applied the professional negligence standard to trades persons including machinists, electricians, and plumbers.
John's Heating's argument that this language does not set out a professional standard of care is not well taken. The instruction explicitly calls for a standard of care that depends upon the relevant skill and care that a "reasonably prudent, skilled and qualified heating service company would exercise under the circumstances," not the skill or care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise, as would be the case if this was a claim for ordinary negligence.
2. The superior court did not err by limiting the jury's consideration of the standard-of-care issue to the evidence presented by expert witnesses.
John's Heating argues that "[i]t is difficult to imagine less need for expert testimony concerning [the] standard of care." While it is true that expert testimony is not required to establish the standard of care in all cases of professional negligence,
The trial court was correct in ruling that only witnesses with specialized knowledge of the furnace repair trade were competent to testify directly to the standard of care. We note that "under Alaska Evidence Rule 702, whenever a party intends to offer evidence concerning any scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge, the party must establish that the witness who will offer this evidence possesses the knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education to offer an informed opinion on the subject."
3. Jury Instruction 14 improperly excluded relevant expert testimonial evidence.
John's Heating argues that the court abused its discretion by excluding all testimony on the standard of care except the testimony of Pat Clark, the Lambs' expert witness on furnaces and heating systems. The superior court instructed the jury to
Alaska Rule of Evidence 702(a) controls the admissibility of expert testimony.
Here, both Cloudy and Butler possessed specialized knowledge as to the heating service business. Both men were professionals in the heating services business in Kodiak: Cloudy had fifteen to twenty years of experience in the heating business as well as relevant carbon monoxide training; Butler had twenty-five years of heating service experience in the Kodiak area.
The superior court's exclusion of Cloudy and Butler's testimony, although erroneous, was harmless. John's Heating summarizes Butler's testimony as simply "that he believed Mr. Galloway's actions were appropriate." Our examination of Butler's testimony does not reveal anything more helpful to John's Heating's position. Since a conclusory statement by an employer that his employee's actions were appropriate does not help to substantively determine the applicable standard of care,
D. The Trial Court Correctly Refused to Attribute Michael Lambs' Cessation of Work Solely to His Back Injury.
John's Heating also makes two arguments that challenge the trial court's legal treatment of Michael's back injury. First, John's Heating asserts that the superior court should have granted partial summary judgment that Michael's employment with the Coast Guard ended because of his back injury, not his possible carbon monoxide poisoning. John's Heating notes the inconsistency between Michael's position in his Coast Guard disability retirement proceeding — that his back was the sole cause of his inability to work — and his position in this litigation — that neurological deficiencies from chronic exposure to carbon monoxide prevented him from working.
Although the argument made by John's Heating is not devoid of merit, the threshold for opposing summary judgment is very low.
Second, John's Heating argues that quasi-estoppel precludes Michael's claim that his back injury was not the sole cause of his disability retirement. Quasi-estoppel "precludes a party from taking a position inconsistent with one . . . previously taken where circumstances render assertion of a second position unconscionable."
Our analysis of the factors leads us to conclude that quasi-estoppel is inapplicable here. Michael's doctors testified that he was unable to work as a firefighter due to his neurocognitive disability. Even John's Heating's medical experts appeared to agree. Michael gained nothing from his original position because he would have been eligible for disability retirement benefits for either his back or his neurocognitive disability. With regards to reliance, John's Heating has conceded that "the only reliance by John's Heating on Lamb's representations that his back rendered him incapable to work, [sic] is John's Heating tax dollars which fund that disability retirement." In addition, Michael testified that he did not have full knowledge of the effects of his exposure to carbon monoxide until after he applied for disability retirement. His doctors' related testimony
E. The Trial Court Erred by Awarding the Lambs Prejudgment Interest on the Future Damages Portion of the Jury Award.
John's Heating challenges the trial court's award of prejudgment interest on the portion of the jury's award attributable to future damages. John's Heating argues that awarding prejudgment interest on future damages amounted to an impermissible double recovery.
A jury award for future damages is discounted to present value as of the date of the verdict to reflect the fact that the damages are made part of a recovery before they would otherwise accrue. In this way, "the financial impact of the passage of time [is] incorporated into the jury's damage award, [and] any award of prejudgment interest on this amount would therefore constitute a double recovery."
Here, the court properly instructed the jury on the issue of reducing the Lambs' future damages to their present value in Jury Instruction 22, which provided in part:
(Emphasis in original.) Given this instruction to set the future damages award as of "today"—the date of the verdict—no prejudgment interest should have been awarded on future damages for the time between the date the complaint was served and the date the verdict was rendered.
The superior court, however, signed the plaintiffs' submitted final judgment order that contained damages calculations including prejudgment interest awarded on the future damages portion of the jury verdict.
Because the award of prejudgment interest on future damages caused a double recovery, the trial court erred in accepting the plaintiffs' form of judgment. We remand for a recalculation without awarding prejudgment interest on the portion of the jury verdict attributed to future damages.
F. Enhanced Prejudgment Interest Was Warranted in this Case.
John's Heating argues that the trial court erred by awarding an enhanced rate of prejudgment interest on the damages award. John's Heating cites Brinkerhoff v.
Applying the Taylor factors, we conclude that the unapportioned joint offer in the instant case was a valid Rule 68 offer of judgment. First, there is no question that the unapportioned offer was "inclusive of all of the relationships among the parties and their conflicting claims." That is, had the offer been accepted, all claims between the parties would have been resolved. Second, no apportionment difficulties existed since the offeree, John's Heating, was a single entity.
The judgment finally rendered against John's Heating in favor of the Lambs was not more favorable to John's Heating than the offer. Under these circumstances, the superior court did not err in applying Civil Rule 68's penalty provisions.
G. The Superior Court Did Not Abuse Its Discretion by Giving a Jury Instruction on Comparative Negligence.
On cross-appeal, the Lambs challenge the trial court's jury instruction on comparative negligence. The Lambs argue that no evidence supported the jury finding of comparative negligence. The Lambs also argue that the instruction given was ambiguous and unclear. We reject both arguments.
1. The legal preclusion of comparative negligence in medical malpractice cases does not extend to the relationship between homeowners and furnace repairpeople.
The Lambs argue that the trial court abused its discretion by instructing the jury on comparative negligence when there was no evidence to support a finding of comparative negligence. The Lambs primarily argue that they were entitled to rely absolutely on Galloway's alleged assurances of safety. To support this notion, the Lambs cite a number of cases precluding comparative negligence instructions when patients relied on the advice of their physicians.
This theory fails for two reasons. First, a factual dispute existed regarding whether Galloway had notice of the allegedly dangerous
2. The jury instruction on comparative negligence was not ambiguous or unclear.
The Lambs also assert that the jury instruction on comparative negligence was ambiguous and unclear and that any findings under it were not supported by evidence. The relevant instruction, Jury Instruction 30, provides:
The Lambs contend that a "lack of connecting `ands'" between the three elements of the four-element instruction probably confused the jury. This contention is frivolous. The construction in which only the last element of a list is joined by an "and" is a standard construction of English prose. In this form, the "and" is read in between all the elements of the list, although it only appears prior to the last element. Since a "lack of connecting `ands'" comprises the Lambs' only contention that Jury Instruction 30 was ambiguous, we reject this argument.
H. The Superior Court Correctly Allowed the Jury to Consider Evidence of Michael's Disability Retirement Because the Collateral Source Rule Did Not Apply.
The Lambs appeal the superior court's admission of evidence regarding Michael's Coast Guard disability retirement, contending that admission of the evidence violated the collateral source rule. We disagree.
The collateral source rule serves two roles in Alaska. First, it "prohibits the reduction of a plaintiff's damages when he [or she] has received compensation from another source."
We are skeptical of the rule's applicability in a case where the benefits were ostensibly obtained as the result of an entirely separate injury, as is the case here. But we need not decide this issue, because Michael sought and obtained a Coast Guard disability retirement on the basis of a bad back. When he later claimed that his neurological condition caused his inability to work, John's Heating was entitled to defend on the ground that this claim was inconsistent with the earlier claim. While this evidence was harmful to Michael, it was presented for reasons independent
I. The Lambs Waived Their Challenge to the Jury's Special Verdict that Found that Michael Lamb Did Not Suffer Any Past Economic Damages Because They Failed To Present that Argument Before the Jury Was Discharged.
The Lambs also argue that the jury had no evidentiary basis on which to deny Michael past economic damages. The Lambs contend that the only evidence on the matter was their expert's testimony and that the expert's testimony was that Michael's past economic damages amounted to $167,270. The Lambs' argument amounts to one that the jury's verdict was inconsistent because it compensated Michael for past non-economic damages, future economic damages, and future non-economic damages, but failed to award Michael anything for past economic damages.
An inconsistent verdict argument must be raised before the jury is dismissed.
Because there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the Lambs had sufficient information to constitute inquiry notice under the discovery rule, we must VACATE the grant of summary judgment on the statute of limitations issue and REMAND for further proceedings on this issue. Because it was error to award prejudgment interest on the portion of the damages attributable to future damages, we REVERSE that portion of the judgment. On remand, if the superior court finds in favor of John's Heating on the statute of limitations issue, the jury verdict and award in the Lambs' favor shall be vacated and judgment entered in favor of John's Heating. If the superior court finds in favor of the Lambs on the statute of limitations issue, the jury verdict and award shall stand, but the superior court shall recalculate the prejudgment interest at the standard rate without awarding interest on the future damages portion of the jury award. In all other respects, we AFFIRM the judgment of the superior court.