Avery Freight Lines, Inc. v. Stewart, 7 Div. 175

CourtSupreme Court of Alabama
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM; The foregoing opinion was prepared by Foster; LIVINGSTON
Citation63 So.2d 895,258 Ala. 524
Docket Number7 Div. 175
Decision Date19 March 1953
PartiesAVERY FREIGHT LINES, Inc. et al. v. STEWART.

Page 895

63 So.2d 895
258 Ala. 524
AVERY FREIGHT LINES, Inc. et al.
v.
STEWART.
7 Div. 175.
Supreme Court of Alabama.
March 19, 1953.

[258 Ala. 525] Starnes & Holladay, Pell City, and Sadler & Sadler, Birmingham, for appellants.

Ramon Stewart, pro se., Embry & Embry, Pell City, and T. Eric Embry, Birmingham, for appellee.

PER CURIAM.

This is a suit in which appellee as administrator of the estate of Edsel H. Stewart recovered a judgment against appellants for $25,000 for causing the death of Edsel H. Stewart in the collision between a truck and car.

There are only three assignments of error. The first relates to an occurrence in connection with the qualification of prospective jurors. The trial judge had ascertained that Casualty Reciprocal Exchange was appellant Avery Freight Lines' liability insurance carrier by proceeding conducted out of the presence of the jury. He then propounded to the jury panel the following question: 'Are any of you stockholders[258 Ala. 526] or employees of the Casualty Reciprocal Exchange? And, for information of counsel only, gentlemen, do any of you have any relatives who work for that concern,

Page 896

Casualty Reciprocal Exchange?' There was no affirmative answer from the panel. Defendants' counsel then stated: 'And we renew our motion.' The court: 'I overrule the motion.' Defendants' counsel: 'Same grounds, being required to strike from the panel----'. The court: 'Yes. He's got it in the record.' Defendants' counsel: 'All right. And we except.' The motion then renewed supposedly referred to a statement by defendants' counsel to the court that 'defendant objects to being put upon trial in this case, and being required to strike from the jury panel from which a jury is to be selected, in that the jurors were in the court room when the case was called for announcement of attorneys, and Mr. Eric Embry, one of the attorneys for the plaintiff, inquired of the jurors as to whether or not any member of the panel was stockholders (sic) or employees (sic) of the * * * Casualty Reciprocal Exchange.'

The assignment of error is that the 'court erred in propounding the question to the jury panel, 'and, for information of counsel only, gentlemen, do any of you have any relatives who work for that concern, Casualty Reciprocal Exchange,' to which action of the court the appellants objected and duly reserved an exception.' The record shows no objection to the quoted feature of the question propounded by the court to the jury panel. The renewal of the motion as shown by the record is not such an objection in terms or effect. The portion claimed in the assignment to be objectionable was a part of a question, a portion of which is not now claimed to be objectionable. The motion which was renewed was an objection to being put on trial, and to strike from the panel, not on account of what is now thought to be objectionable but presumably on account of the entire question of which it is a part. So that, the record does not sustain the assignment of error.

The contention which appellant makes, however, is that the quoted feature of the question was objectionable because it was not propounded by plaintiff's counsel or by the court at his request, but that it was the ex mero motu act of the court. We could not sustain that contention ever if it were properly raised.

The inquiry is conceded to be one available to plaintiff's counsel under section 52, Title 30 of the Code. Cox v. Bennett, 250 Ala. 698, 36 So.2d 86. Under the statute counsel are not confined in their inquiry to matters which disqualify a juror, but it extends to what is appropriate tending to show their interest or bias. Dyer v. State, 241 Ala. 679(2), 4 So.2d 311. The trial judge could refuse without error a request that he propound the inquiry, since it did not go to the disqualification of a juror, and section 52, supra, does not apply to the judge. Cox v. Roberts, 248 Ala. 372, 27 So.2d 617; Leach v. State, 245 Ala. 539, 18 So.2d 289.

The inquiry of the panel by the judge as to their relation to or interest in the insurance carrier of defendant was proper unless attended by undue prejudicial circumstances. Vredenburgh Saw Mill Co. v. Black, 251 Ala. 302, 37 So.2d 212; Fortson v. Hester, 252 Ala. 143, 39 So.2d 649. It is the imperative duty of the judge to ascertain whether the jurors are qualified. Leach v. State, supra; Section 6, Title 30, Code. But such duty ends there.

Considering those features of the law, we...

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10 practice notes
  • Sims v. Struthers, 3 Div. 760
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • April 25, 1957
    ...verdict, but it does not empower the party to require the court to put such questions to the jury. Avery Freight Lines, Inc. v. Stewart, 258 Ala. 524, 63 So.2d 895; Cox v. Roberts, 248 Ala. 372, 27 So.2d It, of course, is the right of the plaintiff to ascertain whether insurance is involved......
  • Beecher v. State, 8 Div. 208
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • October 6, 1966
    ...by counsel to do so. In short, all of these matters lie within the sound discretion of the trial court. Avery Freight Line v. State, 258 Ala. 524, 63 So.2d 895. The trial judge's actions are presumptively correct, in the absence of a showing to the contrary. Ballard v. State, supra. There w......
  • Roan v. Smith, 1 Div. 770
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • September 21, 1961
    ...resting within the sound discretion of the trial court. Dyer v. State, 241 Ala. 679, 4 So.2d 311; Avery Freight Lines, Inc. v. Stewart, 258 Ala. 524, 63 So.2d 895; Sims v. Struthers, 267 Ala. 80, 100 So.2d 23; Alabama Clay Products Co. v. Mathews, 220 Ala. 549, 126 So. 869; Louisville &......
  • Brandwein v. Elliston, 1 Div. 719
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • February 19, 1959
    ...qualifying the jury. Code 1940, Tit. 30, § 52; Hudson v. Stripling, 261 Ala. 196, 201, 73 So.2d 514; Avery Freight Lines, Inc. v. Stewart, 258 Ala. 524, 526, 63 So.2d 895; Vredenburgh Saw Mill Co. v. Black, 251 Ala. 302, 306-307, 37 So.2d 212; Gammill v. Culverhouse, 217 Ala. 65, 66, 114 So......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • Sims v. Struthers, 3 Div. 760
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • April 25, 1957
    ...verdict, but it does not empower the party to require the court to put such questions to the jury. Avery Freight Lines, Inc. v. Stewart, 258 Ala. 524, 63 So.2d 895; Cox v. Roberts, 248 Ala. 372, 27 So.2d It, of course, is the right of the plaintiff to ascertain whether insurance is involved......
  • Beecher v. State, 8 Div. 208
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • October 6, 1966
    ...by counsel to do so. In short, all of these matters lie within the sound discretion of the trial court. Avery Freight Line v. State, 258 Ala. 524, 63 So.2d 895. The trial judge's actions are presumptively correct, in the absence of a showing to the contrary. Ballard v. State, supra. There w......
  • Roan v. Smith, 1 Div. 770
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • September 21, 1961
    ...resting within the sound discretion of the trial court. Dyer v. State, 241 Ala. 679, 4 So.2d 311; Avery Freight Lines, Inc. v. Stewart, 258 Ala. 524, 63 So.2d 895; Sims v. Struthers, 267 Ala. 80, 100 So.2d 23; Alabama Clay Products Co. v. Mathews, 220 Ala. 549, 126 So. 869; Louisville &......
  • Brandwein v. Elliston, 1 Div. 719
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • February 19, 1959
    ...qualifying the jury. Code 1940, Tit. 30, § 52; Hudson v. Stripling, 261 Ala. 196, 201, 73 So.2d 514; Avery Freight Lines, Inc. v. Stewart, 258 Ala. 524, 526, 63 So.2d 895; Vredenburgh Saw Mill Co. v. Black, 251 Ala. 302, 306-307, 37 So.2d 212; Gammill v. Culverhouse, 217 Ala. 65, 66, 114 So......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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