“The Price of Happiness”
Stan explains the importance of hedonic damages on Larry King Live.
Larry King: Our guests are Stan Smith, the Chicago economist, [and] former investment banker who has become one of the leading experts in this country on the subject of Hedonic Damages. He’s a proponent of it and testifies as an expert witness.
Also with us is Stewart Grossman, the famed trial attorney from Miami—he’s been on this program before. His specialization is in malpractice, but he handles anything dealing with personal injury.
Let’s start first with Stan. Can you define for me Hedonic Damages?
Stan Smith: Sure, Larry. We call ourselves human beings. Traditionally, we’ve only been measured the value of our human doings—lost paychecks, lost household services. But as human beings, we have a value for our ability to enjoy the ordinary pleasure of life, and that’s what this model measures. Now for the first time, juries can hear testimony about that rather than just plucking figures from thin air.
King: Now, before this, they could not hear testimony?
Smith: Before this, there was no model. There was no testimony. I provided that first testimony about five years ago in a federal court in Chicago.
King: In what kind of case?
Smith: In a wrongful death—a nineteen-year-old black youth was shot by a Joliet policeman. It was a section in a 1983 civil rights case.
King: Okay, and you got an award for what? His parents for loss of not having a child?
Smith: It was an award that went to the estate. His father was administrated as heir. And it was the award for his loss of the ability to experience the ordinary pleasure of living.