61 N.W.2d 593 (Mich. 1953), 53, Routhier v. City of Detroit

Docket Nº:53.
Citation:61 N.W.2d 593, 338 Mich. 449
Opinion Judge:CARR, Justice.
Party Name:ROUTHIER v. CITY OF DETROIT et al.
Attorney:[338 Mich. 450] W. J. McBrearty, Stephen Riffel, Detroit, for plaintiff and appellant. James S. Shields, Leo A. Sullivan, Detroit (A. Albert Bonczak, Detroit, of counsel), for defendants and appellees.
Judge Panel:Before the Entire Bench.
Case Date:December 29, 1953
Court:Supreme Court of Michigan
 
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Page 593

61 N.W.2d 593 (Mich. 1953)

338 Mich. 449

ROUTHIER

v.

CITY OF DETROIT et al.

No. 53.

Supreme Court of Michigan.

December 29, 1953

Page 594

[338 Mich. 450] W. J. McBrearty, Stephen Riffel, Detroit, for plaintiff and appellant.

James S. Shields, Leo A. Sullivan, Detroit (A. Albert Bonczak, Detroit, of counsel), for defendants and appellees.

Before the Entire Bench.

CARR, Justice.

On the 10th of March, 1951, plaintiff was riding as a passenger on a bus owned and operated by the City of Detroit. Defendant Torando was the [338 Mich. 451] driver of said bus which was proceeding in a southerly direction on Cass avenue. According to her claim, plaintiff was standing in the rear of the vehicle and was grasping a vertical steel pole or rod in order to save herself from being suddenly jostled or thrown. She further claimed that in the intersection of Cass and Hancock the driver applied the brakes, bringing the vehicle to such a sudden stop that she was thrown backward, striking a steel bar across the rear door and being thence thrown to the floor. As a result she sustained serious injuries, and brought action to recover damages therefor.

After the introduction of plaintiff's proofs as to how the accident occurred, counsel for defendants moved for a directed verdict on the ground that plaintiff had failed to establish that the injuries sustained by her were the proximate result of negligence on the part of the defendants. Decision on the motion was reserved. Thereupon defendants introduced the testimony of one witness and the cause was submitted to the jury which returned a verdict in the sum of $5,000 for the plaintiff. The following day, as counsel agree, the trial judge recalled the jurors, stating in substance that he had received certain information with reference to the proceedings in the case that made it necessary for him to poll the jury. Such action was taken, and, in answer to the usual question to each juror whether the verdict was his or her verdict, 11 answered affirmatively and 1 answered 'no'. Thereupon the judge stated that the verdict not being a unanimous one it would be necessary to set it aside. The members of the jury were thereupon excused with an admonition from the court not to discuss anything that may have occurred in the jury room. Subsequently counsel for defendants submitted a motion for judgment in their favor, alleging therein the grounds set forth as the basis for the motion for a directed verdict made in [338 Mich. 452] the course of the trial. Plaintiff moved to set aside the mistrial declared by the court and for the entry of judgment on the verdict. Plaintiff's motion was denied and defendants' motion was granted. Judgment was entered accordingly, and plaintiff has appealed.

The first question presented is whether the trial court was in error in setting aside the verdict returned by the jury and declaring a mistrial. On behalf of plaintiff it is contended that the court had no authority to take such action, while appellees insist that under the circumstances...

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