344 F.2d 245 (7th Cir. 1965), 14581, Dagley v. Armstrong Rubber Co.

Docket Nº:14581, 14582.
Citation:344 F.2d 245
Party Name:Shellie DAGLEY, Administrator of the Estate of Charles W. Collins, Deceased, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. The ARMSTRONG RUBBER COMPANY and Armstrong Rubber Mfg. Co., Defendants-Appellees. ZIFFRIN TRUCK LINES, INC., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. The ARMSTRONG RUBBER COMPANY and Armstrong Rubber Mfg. Co., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:April 01, 1965
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Page 245

344 F.2d 245 (7th Cir. 1965)

Shellie DAGLEY, Administrator of the Estate of Charles W. Collins, Deceased, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

The ARMSTRONG RUBBER COMPANY and Armstrong Rubber Mfg. Co., Defendants-Appellees.

ZIFFRIN TRUCK LINES, INC., Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

The ARMSTRONG RUBBER COMPANY and Armstrong Rubber Mfg. Co., Defendants-Appellees.

Nos. 14581, 14582.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

April 1, 1965

Page 246

Alan H. Lobley, Ice, Miller, Donadio & Ryan, Indianapolis, Ind., for appellant.

Richard W. Yarling, Donald L. Tunnell, Yarling & Tunnell, Indianapolis, Ind., for appellees.

Before HASTINGS, Chief Judge, and DUFFY and MAJOR, Circuit Judges.

Page 247

HASTINGS, Chief Judge.

Plaintiffs, Shellie Dagley, administrator of the estate of Charles W. Collins, deceased, and Ziffrin Truck Lines, Inc. (Ziffrin), brought these diversity actions against defendants, The Armstrong Rubber Company and Armstrong Rubber Manufacturing Company, to recover damages for wrongful death and property damage allegedly caused by the negligent manufacture and design of a truck tire by defendants and by defendants' breach of implied warranty that the tire would be reasonably fit for use on the highways.

The district court dismissed plaintiffs' Count I based on breach of implied warranty and submitted the negligence issue in Count II of the complaints to the jury. The jury rendered verdicts for defendants under Count II and judgments were entered thereon. Plaintiffs appealed.

The Armstrong Rubber Company designed and Armstrong Rubber Manufacturing Company manufactured the tire in question for use on the highways by trucks. The tire was sold to a distributor in Indianapolis.

On October 1, 1959, Ziffrin purchased the tire from the distributor and installed it on the right front wheel of a 1959 Mack tractor.

On September 2, 1960, Collins, an employee of Ziffrin, was driving the Mack tractor with an attached trailer containing cargo in a northerly direction on U.S. Highway 41, a few miles north of Morocco, Indiana. The truck went off the highway and turned over, killing Collins.

Dagley brought an action under the Indiana Wrongful Death Act, Ind.Ann.Stat. § 2-404 (Burns' Supp.1964), and Ziffrin filed an action for damages to the tractor, trailer and cargo. The two cases were consolidated for trial.

The issues presented on appeal are whether the district court committed reversible error in refusing to admit into evidence a written statement made at the scene of the accident by an eyewitness to the accident and whether it erred in dismissing plaintiffs' counts alleging breach of implied warranty.

I

One of the principal questions in the trial was whether the right front tire on the tractor driven by Collins blew out before the accident and thus caused the accident or whether the blow out occurred after and was a result of the accident.

There were two eyewitnesses to the accident. Plaintiffs called John Crocker, a truck driver, as their witness. Crocker had been an employee of Ziffrin in the years 1938, 1939 and 1940. He testified he was driving south on U.S. 41 on the date of the accident. He stated:

'* * * There was a low grade, and I approached over the top of the grade and I saw a Ziffrin truck coming, meeting me, and when he got about 70 to 75 feet, the right front wheel, the tire blew, and the truck immediately dropped. I heard the tire blow and I saw the fender drop down by the edge of the shoulder and heard the concussion of the tire. * * *

'* * * The State Trooper got there, I told him there was no pulse on the boy, I stayed there and made a statement to the State Police * * *.

'* * * In 1938, '39 and '40, I worked for Ziffrin Truck Lines and I knew several of the boys and several of them still worked there. When I saw a Ziffrin truck, I just looked to see whether it was anybody I knew, and I was watching the truck very closely when I saw him coming, to see if it was someone I knew * * *.'

On cross-examination defendants, over the objection of plaintiffs, asked Crocker whether he saw the truck hit a hole in the highway about one-quarter of a mile south of the accident. He answered that he did not. Defendants then asked whether he recalled being questioned about the accident on November 9, 1962 at his residence in Orlando, Florida, at which time the questions and answers were recorded in writing by Margery E. Hill, a court reporter. He replied that

Page 248

he did remember. Defendants asked Crocker whether he replied, in response to a question, that he saw the truck hit a hole. He denied giving such an answer.

Defendants, as part of the presentation of their case, called Hill as a witness. She testified Crocker made the statement denied by him concerning the truck hitting a hole one-quarter of a mile south of the scene of the accident.

Immediately following her testimony the court instructed the jury as follows:

'Now, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, before we call the next witness, with respect to the entire testimony of this witness, Miss Margery Hill, none of the evidence elicited from this witness is to be considered by you as evidence in this case, as proof or disproof of any of the issues of the plaintiffs' complaint or the defendants' answer. This witness has been offered for one purpose and one purpose only by the defendant: to impeach the witness Mr. Crocker. That's for you to determine, whether or not that was done in whole or in part, no one else. * * *

'* * * The statements that he made prior to trial are not considered as evidence in the case, but you can readily see, if a witness comes before a jury and testified under oath concerning certain facts, and if that same party made statements long before, out of Court, not in your presence, which would be in conflict with what he testified to in trial, it would be something for the jury to consider as to whether or not he has testified to in trial is the truth or in error. That's for the jury to determine.'

The other eyewitness to the accident, Harry Krieger, was called by defendants. He testified he was following the truck at a distance of approximately 100 yards at the time of the accident. He stated:

'* * * (My wife and I) did not hear any sound such as the sound of a tire blowing out. * * * We did not have a radio in the car, the left front window was lowered. * * * There was nothing to prevent my hearing the sound that might come from the truck. As it traveled to and off the edge of the highway, I could see the right side of the cab. There was no evidence that a tire had blown out on the right side of the tractor. * * *'

Plaintiffs, in rebuttal, called as a witness Kenneth Richcreek, a Detective-Sergeant with the Indiana State Police, who investigated the accident. Richcreek identified plaintiffs' Exhibit 32 as a statement written by Crocker at the scene of the accident at Richcreek's request. Plaintiffs offered this exhibit in evidence, defendants objected and the objection was sustained.

Plaintiffs state that this exhibit states:

'Sept. 2, 1960

'I was going south on 41 at about 4:15 P.M. and noting Ziffrin Truck when he blew a right Front, went off road and hit telephone pole turning him over and soon as I could stop and get back there he was under the trailer, when we got him out I figured he was dead as I believe.

(s) John Crocker.'

The jury was given Instruction Number 14 on impeachment. It stated in part:

'If you believe from the evidence that any witness has been successfully impeached by reason of statements made out of court conflicting with statements made on the witness stand, or if you find that any witness has willfully sworn falsely to any matter or thing material to the case, you will be justified in disregarding the whole testimony of any such witness except insofar as you may find it corroborated by other credible evidence in the case or by facts and circumstances proved in the trial.'

Plaintiffs urge that the district court's refusal to admit their Exhibit 32 into evidence, for the purpose of corroborating Crocker's testimony that the tire blew

Page 249

out prior to the accident, was reversible error. They argue that defendants attacked Crocker's credibility by testimony tending to show he made inconsistent statements concerning whether he saw the truck hit a hole prior to the accident; that defendants argued and the jury was instructed they could disbelieve all of Crocker's testimony if they found he made inconsistent statements unless his testimony was corroborated by other credible evidence; and that plaintiffs should have been permitted to introduce their Exhibit 32 to corroborate Crocker's testimony that he saw the tire blow out prior to the accident.

Whether hearsay statements of a witness made out of court, may be admitted in evidence for purposes of corroborating the witness's testimony, is a question upon which courts have widely divergent views.

Down through the 1700s the prevailing view was that a witness could always be corroborated, without any limitation, by his statements which were consistent with his testimony. IV Wigmore, Evidence § 1123, p. 194 (3d ed. 1940).

Today, all jurisdictions appear to require some form of impeachment before prior consistent statements are admissible. The most liberal view is that such evidence is admissible for purposes of corroboration regardless of the form of impeachment. Two states apply this rule. 75 A.L.R.2d 925 (1961).

When impeachment of a witness is by means of statements, inconsistent with the witness's sworn testimony, the weight of authority is that his...

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44 practice notes
  • 790 F.Supp.2d 708 (N.D.Ill. 2011), 08 C 242, LG Electronics U.S.A., Inc. v. Whirlpool Corp.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit Northern District of Illinois
    • 9 de Maio de 2011
    ...( " Juries, when they render general verdicts, do not explain the basis of the verdict." ); Dagley v. Armstrong Rubber Co., 344 F.2d 245, 250 (7th Cir.1965) (" Since the jury returned a general verdict on the negligence counts, we cannot determine the basis of its verdicts fo......
  • 419 N.E.2d 203 (Ind.App. 4 Dist. 1981), 3-1177A297, Stauffer v. Lothamer
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 16 de Abril de 1981
    ...the consistency of his statements may help the jury in determining whether he did." Dagley v. Armstrong Rubber Co., (7th Cir. 1965) 344 F.2d 245, 249, quoting IV WIGMORE, EVIDENCE § 1126 at 198 (3d ed. 1940). Stauffer does not raise the question, and thus we need not decide, whether su......
  • 804 N.E.2d 775 (Ind.App. 2004), 82A05-0303-CV-155, Hyundai Motor America, Inc. v. Goodin
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 10 de Março de 2004
    ...action for breach of an implied warranty. See Filler v. Rayex Corp., 435 F.2d 336, 337-38 (7th Cir. 1970); Dagley v. Armstrong Rubber Co., 344 F.2d 245, 254 (7th Cir. 1965); Karczewski v. Ford Motor Co., 382 F.Supp. 1346, 1352 (N.D.Ind.1974), aff'd, 515 F.2d 511 (7th Cir. 1975). To the exte......
  • 521 P.2d 1353 (Okla. 1974), 45016, Kirkland v. General Motors Corp.
    • United States
    • Oklahoma Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • 23 de Abril de 1974
    ...be a part of the contract between the seller and buyer and thus had its basis in contract law. See Dagley v. Armstrong Rubber Co., 7 Cir., 344 F.2d 245. With the advent of the Uniform Sales Act, now replaced in the vast majority of states by the Uniform Commercial Code, 2 recovery became co......
  • Free signup to view additional results
44 cases
  • 790 F.Supp.2d 708 (N.D.Ill. 2011), 08 C 242, LG Electronics U.S.A., Inc. v. Whirlpool Corp.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit Northern District of Illinois
    • 9 de Maio de 2011
    ...( " Juries, when they render general verdicts, do not explain the basis of the verdict." ); Dagley v. Armstrong Rubber Co., 344 F.2d 245, 250 (7th Cir.1965) (" Since the jury returned a general verdict on the negligence counts, we cannot determine the basis of its verdicts fo......
  • 419 N.E.2d 203 (Ind.App. 4 Dist. 1981), 3-1177A297, Stauffer v. Lothamer
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 16 de Abril de 1981
    ...the consistency of his statements may help the jury in determining whether he did." Dagley v. Armstrong Rubber Co., (7th Cir. 1965) 344 F.2d 245, 249, quoting IV WIGMORE, EVIDENCE § 1126 at 198 (3d ed. 1940). Stauffer does not raise the question, and thus we need not decide, whether su......
  • 804 N.E.2d 775 (Ind.App. 2004), 82A05-0303-CV-155, Hyundai Motor America, Inc. v. Goodin
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 10 de Março de 2004
    ...action for breach of an implied warranty. See Filler v. Rayex Corp., 435 F.2d 336, 337-38 (7th Cir. 1970); Dagley v. Armstrong Rubber Co., 344 F.2d 245, 254 (7th Cir. 1965); Karczewski v. Ford Motor Co., 382 F.Supp. 1346, 1352 (N.D.Ind.1974), aff'd, 515 F.2d 511 (7th Cir. 1975). To the exte......
  • 521 P.2d 1353 (Okla. 1974), 45016, Kirkland v. General Motors Corp.
    • United States
    • Oklahoma Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • 23 de Abril de 1974
    ...be a part of the contract between the seller and buyer and thus had its basis in contract law. See Dagley v. Armstrong Rubber Co., 7 Cir., 344 F.2d 245. With the advent of the Uniform Sales Act, now replaced in the vast majority of states by the Uniform Commercial Code, 2 recovery became co......
  • Free signup to view additional results