Arkansas State Highway Commission v. Johns, 5-2989

Decision Date13 May 1963
Docket NumberNo. 5-2989,5-2989
Citation367 S.W.2d 436,236 Ark. 585
PartiesARKANSAS STATE HIGHWAY COMMISSION, Appellant, v. John W. JOHNS et al., Appellees.
CourtArkansas Supreme Court

Dowell Anders and H. Clay Robinson, Little Rock, for appellant.

Batchelor & Batchelor, Van Buren, for appellees.

GEORGE ROSE SMITH, Justice.

In this eminent domain proceeding the appellant seeks to acquire about half of a twelve-acre tract owned by the appellees. The circuit court, sitting without a jury, awarded the landowners $3,500 as compensation for the property being taken. For reversal the appellant contends that the court erred in refusing to strike the testimony of certain witnesses for the landowners.

Two of the witnesses, Bob Gelly and Joe Snelly, were real estate dealers in Crawford county. After having first stated that they were familiar with land values in the vicinity of the Johns property and that they had inspected this property, both these witnesses expressed their opinion as to the fair market value of the appellees' property before and after the taking. The appellant made an unsuccessful attempt to have this testimony stricken, on the ground that neither witness had stated the facts and reasons forming the basis for his opinion. In insisting that the testimony should have been excluded the appellant cites cases such as Ark. State Highway Comm. v. Byars, 221 Ark. 845, 256 S.W.2d 738, holding that the opinion of an expert witness is not substantial evidence when the witness fails to give a fair or reasonable basis for his conclusions.

We think counsel have misconstrued the intent of our cases. It is true that a non-expert witness, such as a layman testifying about a testator's mental capacity, must state the facts upon which his opinion is based before giving that opinion. Walsh v. Fairhead, 215 Ark. 218, 219 S.W.2d 941. But there is no similar condition to the admissibility of an expert's opinion.

An expert witness, after having established his qualifications and his familiarity with the subject of the inquiry, is ordinarily in a position to state his opinion. For instance, a physician might testify that he had examined a certain patient and found him to be afflicted with malaria. That testimony would unquestionably be admissible. Yet if this physician, on cross-examination, were forced to admit that he had found no recognized symptom of malaria and had based his conclusion solely upon the fact that the patient had been bitten by...

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31 cases
  • Arkansas State Highway Commission v. Southern Development Corp.
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • June 21, 1971
    ...no fair and reasonable basis, constitutes substantial evidence upon which a jury verdict can be based. Arkansas State Highway Commission v. Johns, 236 Ark. 585, 367 S.W.2d 436; Arkansas State Highway Commission v. Ptak, 236 Ark. 105, 364 S.W.2d 794 However, in the direct examination Souther......
  • Arkansas State Highway Commission v. First Pyramid Life Ins. Co. of America
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • April 2, 1979
    ...only considered the enumerated sales in arriving at his estimated just compensation. As pointed out in Arkansas State Highway Commission v. Johns, 236 Ark. 585, 367 S.W.2d 436 (1963), the admissibility of the opinion of a real estate expert is not conditioned upon his stating facts upon whi......
  • Arkansas State Highway Commission v. Witkowski
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • February 24, 1975
    ...examination of the witness. Of course, at that time the trial court properly refused the motion to strike, Ark. State Highway Comm. v. Johns, 236 Ark. 585, 367 S.W.2d 436 (1963). The motion to strike was not renewed at the end of the cross-examination. Consequently, appellant is not in a po......
  • Arkansas Louisiana Gas Co. v. McGaughey Bros., Inc., 5--5581
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • June 28, 1971
    ...the basis of their opinions. Arkansas State Highway Commission v. Hartsfield, 248 Ark. 821, 454 S.W.2d 82; Arkansas State Highway Commission v. Johns, 236 Ark. 585, 367 S.W.2d 436. The burden was upon appellant to demonstrate that the testimony of these witnesses was without any reasonable ......
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