Plaintiff contends that the Supreme Court abused its discretion in denying plaintiff’s economist from testifying regarding the decedent’s lost future earnings. Plaintiff’s 17 year old son, a junior in high school, died as a result of injuries sustained when he lost control of his vehicle while travelling on County Route 26. Plaintiff sought to recover damages alleging that defendants were aware of the hazardous nature of the roadway based on prior accidents in approximately the same location. In calculating the decedent’s lost future earnings, the economist noted that he (decedent) had expressed a strong interest in enlisting in the military upon graduation and then obtaining employment with the State Police. Based on this information, the economist prepared three lost earnings scenarios: 1) graduating from high school and earning wages as high school graduate; 2) graduating from high school and enlisting/serving in the military for his entire career; and 3) graduating in high school, serving in the military for five years, then obtaining employment as a State Police officer.
Upon review, the Appellate Court determined that the second and third calculations are based wholly upon “contingencies that are uncertain, dependent on future changeable events, and thus, inherently speculative.” However, the Appellate Court agreed with the plaintiff but only to the extent of precluding the plaintiff to introduce expert testimony by the economist relating to the first calculation because it was the only scenario that is based upon a sufficient probability of decedent’s lost future earnings.