866 F.2d 112 (5th Cir. 1988), 88-4428, Granberry v. O'Barr

Docket Nº:88-4428
Citation:866 F.2d 112
Party Name:Patricia Below GRANBERRY, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Dennis O'BARR, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:December 29, 1988
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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Page 112

866 F.2d 112 (5th Cir. 1988)

Patricia Below GRANBERRY, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

Dennis O'BARR, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 88-4428

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

December 29, 1988

Page 113

Bennie L. Turner, Randolph Walker, Walker & Turner, West Point, Miss., for plaintiff-appellant.

Taylor B. Smith, Threadgill, Smith, Sanders & Jolly, Columbus, Miss., for defendant-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi (EC-85-88-313-D).

Before GEE, WILLIAMS and HIGGINBOTHAM, Circuit Judges.

JERRE S. WILLIAMS, Circuit Judge:

This is a diversity case involving a fatal automobile accident in Chickasaw County, Mississippi. Appellant, Patricia Granberry, brought suit for damages against Dennis O'Barr, appellee, in the death of her father in the accident. Her father, driving a pickup truck, was hit on the left hand side by a tractor semi-trailer rig owned by O'Barr and operated by James E. Hardin. The jury verdict found no negligence in the operation of the tractor semi-trailer owned by appellee O'Barr.

Three issues are raised by appellant: The sufficiency of the evidence to support the verdict of the jury, the refusal of the court to allow cross-examination of the only non-involved eyewitness to the accident as to a corporate connection with the insurer of appellee's truck, and the refusal to instruct the jury of the obligation under Mississippi law to slow down when special hazards such as hills, turns, and intersections exist. We briefly discuss each claim in turn.

Our review of a jury verdict as to the sufficiency of the evidence is exceedingly narrow because of the requirements of the right to a jury trial preserved by the Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution. "[N]o fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States than according to the common law." The common law standard of review is not the "clearly erroneous" standard in a trial before the court as provided in Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(a). Instead, it is the same common law standard which is applied in awarding a directed verdict or a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. The standard of review is usually referred to as a "sufficiency of the evidence" standard. But the limited scope of our review is not fully described by such a general statement. In detail, we have stated it this way:

The...

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