Leland SHARON, as Co-Special Administrator of the Estate of James Edmond Sharon, and Joyce Jones, as Co-Special Administrator of the Estate of James Edmond Sharon, Plaintiffs-Appellants and Cross-Appellees,
SCC PUEBLO BELMONT OPERATING COMPANY, LLC, d/b/a Belmont Lodge Health Care Center, and SavaSeniorCare, Consulting LLC, Defendants-Appellees and Cross-Appellants.
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County District Court No. 13CV30574 Honorable Jill S.
Moss, PLLC, Brent L. Moss, Brian D. Reddick, Robert W.
Francis, Little Rock, Arkansas, for Plaintiffs-Appellants and
& Rees, LLP, John R. Mann, Thomas B. Quinn, Denver, Colorado,
for Defendants-Appellees and Cross-Appellants.
Colorado's survival statute, section 13-20-101, C.R.S.
2019, provides that a person's claims against another
(except those for slander or libel) survive that person's
death. But the damages a decedent's representative can
recover may be limited: as now relevant, a representative can
recover damages for economic losses but can't recover
damages for the decedent's "pain, suffering, or
disfigurement" if the action is one for personal
injuries. So if a person brings a personal injury action but
dies before recovery of damages, the result under the statute
is plain enough — the representative can recover
damages for loss of earnings and expenses, but not damages
for pain, suffering, or disfigurement. Likewise, when a
person brings such an action and recovers damages for pain,
suffering, or disfigurement before he dies, he dies while the
judgment is on appeal, and the judgment is later affirmed on
appeal, the result is equally plain — the previous
recovery stands. But what if, in the latter situation, the
judgment isn't affirmed but is instead reversed on
appeal? Can the decedent's representative recover damages
for pain, suffering, or disfigurement in the event of a new
trial? This case presents that question.
Relying on the statute's plain language, as well as
settled law on the effect of a reversed judgment, we answer
that question "no." We therefore affirm the
district court's judgment for defendants, SCC Pueblo
Belmont Operating Company, LLC, doing business as Belmont
Lodge Health Care Center (Belmont Lodge), and its affiliate
SavaSeniorCare Consulting, LLC (Consulting), and against
plaintiffs, Leland Sharon and Joyce Jones, as co-special
administrators of James Edward Sharon's estate.
Mr. Sharon suffered multiple ailments during his stay at
Belmont Lodge, a nursing facility. He sued Belmont Lodge;
Consulting; and SavaSeniorCare Administrative Services, LLC
(Administrative Services) for negligence. A jury ruled in Mr.
Sharon's favor, finding that all three defendants
operated the nursing facility as a joint venture, and that,
as a joint venture, they had been negligent. But, pursuant to
the court's instruction, the jury didn't determine
which particular defendant had been negligent. It awarded Mr.
Sharon noneconomic ($300,000) and punitive ($3,000,000)
damages on his negligence claim based primarily on his pain
Defendants appealed. They contended that Administrative
Services and Consulting couldn't be liable to Mr. Sharon
as joint venturers and didn't independently owe him a
duty of care. During that appeal, Mr. Sharon died, and the
current plaintiffs were substituted as the plaintiffs in the
case. A division of this court reversed the judgment,
concluding that a joint venture didn't exist between
defendants and that Administrative Services didn't owe an
independent duty of care to Mr. Sharon. Because the division
wasn't able to determine from the jury's verdict if
the jury had found any particular defendant independently
negligent, the division reversed the entire judgment and
ordered a retrial of Mr. Sharon's ...