Anderson v. Southern Cotton Oil Co.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtWHITFIELD, J.
Citation73 Fla. 432,74 So. 975
Decision Date23 February 1917
PartiesANDERSON v. SOUTHERN COTTON OIL CO.

74 So. 975

73 Fla. 432

ANDERSON
v.
SOUTHERN COTTON OIL CO.

Florida Supreme Court

February 23, 1917


Rehearing Denied May 4, 1917.

Error to Court of Record, Escambia County; Kirke Monroe, Judge.

Suit by Louis J. Anderson against the Southern Cotton Oil Company. Judgment for defendant on directed verdict, and plaintiff brings error. Reversed.

Ellis and Shackleford, JJ., dissenting.

Syllabus by the Court

SYLLABUS

In determining whether error was committed in directing a verdict, due consideration should be given to the organic right of trial by jury. Otherwise fundamental principles may be subordinated to procedure or convenience.

The considerations and legal principles that guide the judicial discretion in directing a verdict and in granting a new trial on the evidence are not the same.

In directing a verdict, the court is governed by practically the same rules that are applicable in demurrers to evidence.

A party in moving for a directed verdict admits, not only the facts stated in the evidence adduced, but also admits every conclusion favorable to the adverse party that a jury might fairly and reasonably infer from the evidence.

It is reversible error to direct a verdict for one party when there is substantial evidence tending to prove the issue upon which the jury could lawfully find a verdict for the opposite party.

Where different conclusions may fairly be drawn from the evidence as to whether an employé driver of an automobile was acting within the express or implied authority of the defendant employer at the time his alleged negligence caused the injury complained of, the evidence should be submitted to the jury under appropriate instructions.

Where with the acquiescence of the employer an employé while engaged with the employer's automobile in the general line of his authority uses the automobile for his own purposes, and while doing so injures one on the street, the jury should be permitted to determine under appropriate instructions whether the defendant employer is liable.

COUNSEL [74 So. 976] [73 Fla. 433] F. W. Marsh and C. Moreno Jones, both of Pensacola, for plaintiff in error.

Watson & Pasco, of Pensacola, for defendant in error.

OPINION

WHITFIELD, J.

The declaration herein is as follows:

'The plaintiff, Louis J. Anderson, sues the Southern Cotton Oil Company, a corporation, for that, to wit: On the --- day of April, A. D. 1914, said defendant was the owner and did operate its business and for the use and convenience of its agents and servants a certain automobile, and permitted and authorized the use and operation of said automobile by its said agents and servants for the purpose of transporting themselves from defendant's place of business to their meals in Pensacola, Fla., and to return therefrom to their employment at defendant's place of business; that on said day said automobile was being run and operated by its agent and servant in and upon the streets of the city of Pensacola, county of Escambia, state of Florida, with the permission of and by the authority of said defendant, in transporting himself from his lunch in said city to his place of employment, to wit, the place of business of said defendant
'That while said plaintiff was riding on a motorcycle and proceeding with due care along West Garden street, in said city, county and state, said defendant's automobile being so run and operated by its agent and servant, and at a time and place and with the permission and authority of the defendant as aforesaid, and within the scope [73 Fla. 434] of his authority as such agent and servant, to wit, in transporting himself back to the place of business of said defendant, so carelessly and negligently run, drove and operated said automobile, and without any negligence on the part of the plaintiff, at the intersection of Garden and Donelson streets in said city, that same violently came in contact with and did strike against with great force and violence, the leg, foot, and ankle of plaintiff, whereby plaintiff was greatly injured and maimed, his leg, foot, and ankle broken, fractured, bruised, and lacerated, and plaintiff suffered other great physical injury and contusions. That as result of said injuries, plaintiff suffered, and still suffers, great pain and bodily discomfort, and was for a long time confined to his bed, and has been put to a large expense for medical and surgical treatment and attendance, and has been for a long time, and still is, prevented from working or following his vocation, or earning a livelihood, and is permanently disabled and injured, and will be permanently prevented from working at his trade and occupation or of performing manual labor. And plaintiff claims damage in the sum of $15,000. Wherefore he sues.
'Second Count.
'The plaintiff, L. J. Anderson, sues the defendant, Southern Cotton Oil Company, a corporation, doing business in the county of Escambia, state of Florida, for that, to wit, on the --- day of April, A. D. 1914, said defendant was possessed of and owned a certain automobile, and on said date was by its agent and servant driving, operating, and conducting same on and upon the streets of the city of Pensacola, county and state aforesaid; that while the plaintiff was riding upon a motorcycle at the intersection of Garden and Donelson streets in the city, county, and state aforesaid, and was proceeding [73 Fla. 435] with due care and without any negligence on his part, said defendant by its agent and servant so carelessly and negligently drove, managed, and operated said automobile that thereby said automobile was driven with great force and violence against the leg, foot, and ankle of plaintiff. Whereby plaintiff was greatly injured and maimed, his leg, foot, and ankle broken, fractured, bruised, and lacerated, and plaintiff suffered other great physical injury and contusions. That as a result of said injuries said plaintiff suffered, and still suffers, great pain and bodily discomfort, and was a long time confined to his bed, and has been put to a large expense for medical and surgical treatment and attendance, and has been for a long time, and still is, prevented from working at his trade and occupation, and is permanently maimed, crippled, and injured. And plaintiff claims damages in the sum of $15,000. Wherefore he sues.'

To the first count pleas of not guilty and contributory negligence were filed, while to the second count a plea of not guilty was filed.

At the trial the court directed a verdict for the defendant, on which judgment was rendered, and the plaintiff took writ of error.

As the court directed a verdict for the defendant after all the evidence for both parties had been submitted, the question to be determined is whether 'no sufficient evidence has been submitted upon which the jury could legally find a verdict for' the plaintiff. Chapter 6220, Acts of 1911 (Comp. Laws 1914, § 1496), amending section 1496, Gen. Stats. of 1906.

In determining whether error was committed in directing a verdict, due consideration should be given to the organic right of trial by jury. Otherwise fundamental principles may be subordinated to procedure or convenience.

[73 Fla. 436] The considerations and legal principles that guide the judicial discretion in [74 So. 977] directing a verdict and in granting a new trial on the evidence are not the same. Florida East Coast Ry. v. Hayes, 66 Fla. 589, 64 So. 274, decided at the last term. In directing a verdict, the court is governed by practically the same rules that are applicable in demurrers to evidence. A party, in moving for a directed verdict, admits not only the facts stated in the evidence adduced, but also admits every conclusion favorable to the adverse party that a jury might fairly and reasonably infer from the evidence. 6 Ency. Pl. & Pr. 692 et seq. The statute enacts that:

'If * * * after all the evidence shall have been submitted on behalf of the plaintiff in any civil case, it be apparent * * * that no evidence has been submitted upon which the jury could lawfully find a verdict for the plaintiff, the judge may then direct the jury to find a verdict for the defendant; and if, after all the evidence of all the parties shall have been submitted, it be apparent to the judge * * * that no sufficient evidence has been submitted upon which the jury could legally find a verdict for one party, the judge may direct the jury to find a verdict for the opposite party.' Chapter 6220, Acts of 1911.

Under this statute, unless 'it be apparent to the judge that no sufficient evidence has been submitted upon which the jury could legally find' for one party, the court is not authorized to direct a verdict for the...

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83 practice notes
  • Jackson By and Through Whitaker v. Hertz Corp., No. 88-2261
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • December 4, 1990
    ...properly operated when it is by his authority on the public highway. Susco, 112 So.2d at 836 (quoting Anderson v. Southern Cotton Oil Co., 73 Fla. 432, 74 So. 975 (1917)). There is no evidence in this case that on the date of the accident the rented vehicle was being operated without the au......
  • Vreeland v. Ferrer, No. SC10–694.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • September 13, 2011
    ...deliver it over to any one he pleases and not be responsible for the consequences.Id. at 632, 635 (quoting Anderson v. So. Cotton Oil Co., 73 Fla. 432, 74 So. 975, 978 (1917); Ingraham v. Stockamore, 63 Misc. 114, 118 N.Y.S. 399, 401 (N.Y.Sup.Ct.1909)). In a subsequent decision, this Court ......
  • Hoffer v. Burd, No. 7236
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • March 24, 1951
    ...take him on, contrary to instructions, was acting within scope of employment held jury question.' In Anderson v. Southern Cotton Oil Co. 73 Fla. 432, 74 So. 975, 978, L.R.A. 1917E, 715, it is 'It has been held that where without the employer's knowledge or consent there is a deviation in th......
  • Gravette v. Turner
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • March 29, 1919
    ...of trial by jury. Otherwise fundamental principles may be subordinated to procedure or convenience. Anderson v. Southern Cotton Oil Co., 73 Fla. 432, 74 So. 975, L. R. A. 1917E, 715. The considerations and legal principles that guide the judicial discretion in directing a verdict and in gra......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
83 cases
  • Jackson By and Through Whitaker v. Hertz Corp., No. 88-2261
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • December 4, 1990
    ...properly operated when it is by his authority on the public highway. Susco, 112 So.2d at 836 (quoting Anderson v. Southern Cotton Oil Co., 73 Fla. 432, 74 So. 975 (1917)). There is no evidence in this case that on the date of the accident the rented vehicle was being operated without the au......
  • Vreeland v. Ferrer, No. SC10–694.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • September 13, 2011
    ...deliver it over to any one he pleases and not be responsible for the consequences.Id. at 632, 635 (quoting Anderson v. So. Cotton Oil Co., 73 Fla. 432, 74 So. 975, 978 (1917); Ingraham v. Stockamore, 63 Misc. 114, 118 N.Y.S. 399, 401 (N.Y.Sup.Ct.1909)). In a subsequent decision, this Court ......
  • Hoffer v. Burd, No. 7236
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • March 24, 1951
    ...take him on, contrary to instructions, was acting within scope of employment held jury question.' In Anderson v. Southern Cotton Oil Co. 73 Fla. 432, 74 So. 975, 978, L.R.A. 1917E, 715, it is 'It has been held that where without the employer's knowledge or consent there is a deviation in th......
  • Gravette v. Turner
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • March 29, 1919
    ...of trial by jury. Otherwise fundamental principles may be subordinated to procedure or convenience. Anderson v. Southern Cotton Oil Co., 73 Fla. 432, 74 So. 975, L. R. A. 1917E, 715. The considerations and legal principles that guide the judicial discretion in directing a verdict and in gra......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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