79 So.2d 20 (Ala. 1955), 6 Div. 828, Hunt v. Ward

Docket Nº6 Div. 828.
Citation79 So.2d 20, 262 Ala. 379
Opinion JudgePER CURIAM.
Party NameJohn Roy HUNT v. John M. WARD.
AttorneyTweedy & Beech, Jasper, for appellant., Fred Jones, Haleyville, and Rankin Fite, Hamilton, for appellee.
Case DateMarch 24, 1955
CourtSupreme Court of Alabama

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79 So.2d 20 (Ala. 1955)

262 Ala. 379

John Roy HUNT


John M. WARD.

6 Div. 828.

Supreme Court of Alabama.

March 24, 1955

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[262 Ala. 381] Tweedy & Beech, Jasper, for appellant.

Fred Jones, Haleyville, and Rankin Fite, Hamilton, for appellee.


This is an appeal from a judgment for plaintiff in a suit for damage to his truck. The damage resulted from a collision with a car driven by defendant on the highway between Haleyville and Double Springs in Winston County, Alabama. Approaching the place of the collision the road extended generally southwesterly and northeasterly for a distance, but at that point there was a distinct curve to the north,--the curve being to the left of defendant driving toward Double Springs. At the curve the south side of the road was elevated on account of it. There was a downgrade in each direction from the crest of the hill. Plaintiff's truck was following another truck driven by one Wamsley also traveling toward Haleyville. They were traveling upgrade as was defendant who was approaching from the opposite direction. They were each on his right side of the road until near the crest when the first truck, which we will designate as the 'pick-up' truck leading plaintiff's truck by twenty-five or thirty yards, turned to his left into and across the lane in which defendant was approaching from the opposite direction. Defendant caused his car to slip down to his left and toward plaintiff's truck which was still in its right lane of traffic, resulting in the collision which damaged plaintiff's truck. There was a [262 Ala. 382] solid yellow line on the right side of the center white line leading toward Haleyville as the trucks were traveling. The 'pick-up' truck had to cross that yellow line to

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get into and over the lane in which defendant was traveling. That line was said by some of the witnesses to prevent passing by one traveling on the same said of the road. Defendant was injured, became unconscious and was carried to a hospital. Plaintiff's driver was not injured.

Plaintiff's evidence tended to show that the 'pick-up' truck was completely off the hard surface on the left hand side of the road, where the driver had gone to get a person going to Haleyville, and it was not the sole cause of the defendant so maneuvering his car as to collide with plaintiff's truck.

We will treat the assignments of error in their logical order.

The first and second assignments are not well taken. When a document is offered in evidence, some of which is competent and material, and some is not, and a general objection is made to the whole, it is not reversible error to overrule the objection--Mobile Light & R. Co. v. Ellis, 209 Ala. 580(10-11), 96 So. 773,--nor to sustain it. Montgomery City Lines v. Callahan, 247 Ala. 23, 22 So.2d 339; Smith v. Kifer, 36 Ala.App. 79(7), 52 So.2d 399. That is the status of the written statement signed by plaintiff's truck driver, which was offered in evidence, and to which objection was sustained.

Assignments of error 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21.

There was testimony that after the accident plaintiff's truck was on the farm of Ray Motor Company. Plaintiff had bought another truck from Ray Motor Company, but did not trade in the damaged truck nor have it repaired.

The several questions involved in these assignments seek to ascertain how the truck reached the farm of Ray Motor Company and who carried it there. This occurred on the cross examination of plaintiff. We cannot see that this was relevant to any issue. Sometimes there is no reversible error in the admission of irrelevant matter on cross examination, but it is not reversible error to deny its admission.

Assignment of error No. 12.

It is claimed that during the trial, plaintiff's counsel frequently injected in it the existence of insurance by defendant. The court sustained the objections as made, but on each occurrence refused defendant's motion for a mistrial. Those matters were also included in a motion for a new trial after the verdict and judgment. The motion was overruled.

Plaintiff's witness Barnett was his truck driver on the occasion of the accident. He signed a written statement afterward as to the occurrence referred to above. The statement was offered in evidence but objection to it was sustained. It was exhibited to the witness and he admitted signing it.

Plaintiff's counsel asked him about the person to whom he made the statement, and he said he did not remember his name. He was then asked 'if he told you he was representing the insurance company covering Mr. Roy Hunt's car'. Objection was sustained: motion for a mistrial was overruled, and exception noted.

Assignment No. 13.

And again witness was asked 'if he said he was investigating for an insurance company'. Objection was sustained: motion for a mistrial was overruled and defendant excepted.

With respect to those assignments we observe that is is sometimes admissible and relevant to have it appear for certain material purposes or incidentally that defendant had liability insurance. When a witness had interested himself about the case, it was held in Pittman v. Calhoun, 231 Ala. 460(4), 165 Ala. 391, to be permissible as tending to establish bias to show that the witness represented the company carrying insurance for defendant.

[262 Ala. 383] We cannot say that it was wholly improper to ask the questions here involved. But the objection was sustained and the

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questions did not indicate a purpose to get before the jury the incident of insurance without any show of right to do so. We think that it was not sufficient to require the court to grant a mistrial or a new trial. It is not every reference to insurance which is of such nature that the court should withdraw the case and grant a new trial. Pittman v. Calhoun, 233 Ala. 450(3), 172 So. 263.

Assignment No. 14.

Defendant was testifying as a witness and was asked by plaintiff's attorney on cross examination, if defendant did not tell plaintiff at a specified time and place, 'It was my fault, and I want the insurance company to pay you, and if they don't pay you, you sue me and I will make you a good witness'. The court sustained an objection, but overruled a motion for a mistrial, and defendant excepted.

Assignment No. 15.

Plaintiff's counsel asked defendant on cross examination if he did not at a certain time and place say to plaintiff, 'Tell your truck driver that if I have to die that it wasn't his fault, and that I want my insurance company to pay for you trouble'. The court sustained the objection, but overruled the motion for a mistrial, and defendant excepted.

Assignment No. 16.

Plaintiff's counsel asked plaintiff as a witness in rebuttal the...

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