Baird v. Baird, A92A0737

Decision Date10 June 1992
Docket NumberNo. A92A0737,A92A0737
Citation420 S.E.2d 342,204 Ga.App. 706
PartiesBAIRD v. BAIRD et al.
CourtGeorgia Court of Appeals

Lawson, Daniell & Hancock, John W. Lawson, Roy B. Daniell, III, Decatur, for appellant.

Branch, Pike, Ganz & O'Callaghan, Alfred B. Adams, III, Atlanta, for appellees.

JOHNSON, Judge.

Appellees Elena and Leah Baird brought this action against their mother, Ms. Judith Baird, to recover funds placed in trust for them by their paternal grandparents. The corpus of the trusts was in the form of stock in the Baird Bread Company. The stock was held by their father, Roland Baird. Subsequent to the gifts of stock, Mr. and Ms. Baird divorced. Ms. Baird was given custody of the children and Mr. Baird maintained possession of their stock. Mr. Baird, pursuant to an agreement with Ms. Baird, sold the subject stock back to Baird Bread and turned over the proceeds to Ms. Baird for the benefit of the children. Appellees contend that their mother breached her fiduciary duty as trustee by converting the trust proceeds for her own personal benefit.

After a jury trial, a special verdict was returned in favor of appellees in the amount of $94,324.72 principal and pre-judgment interest, and $64,130.21 in attorney fees and costs. Ms. Baird appeals from the verdict and the denial of her motion for new trial.

1. Ms. Baird contends that the trial court erred in granting appellees' motion in limine which precluded the introduction of Mr. Baird's prior conviction of the federal misdemeanor crime, Conspiracy In Restraint of Interstate Trade & Commerce (15 USC § 1). 15 USC § 1 provides, in pertinent part, "[e]very person who shall make any such contract or engage in any such combination or conspiracy ... shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor." 15 USC § 1 (1890). Ms. Baird asserts that the crime is one of moral turpitude and, therefore, proper for use as impeachment evidence against him. We disagree.

It is well-settled in this state that a witness in a civil case may be impeached by proof of conviction of a misdemeanor if it appears that such offense was one involving moral turpitude. Giles v. Jones, 169 Ga.App. 882, 315 S.E.2d 440 (1984). "[C]rimes involving moral turpitude are 'restricted to the gravest offenses, consisting of felonies, infamous crimes, and those that are malum in se and disclose a depraved mind. (Cit.)' [Cits.]" Seaboard Coast Line R.R. v. West, 155 Ga.App. 391, 393, 271 S.E.2d 36 (1980). Crimes malum in se are those inherently immoral, whereas crimes malum prohibitum are those not inherently immoral but are simply forbidden by law.

A federal court, in interpreting the statute under which Baird was convicted, noted that the word "conspiracy" in 15 USC § 1 refers merely to an agreement or contract which is forbidden by law and is not intended to be interpreted as having an opprobrious connotation. (Emphasis supplied.) Webster Motor Car Co. v. Packard Motor Car Co., 135 F.Supp. 4, 9 (D.C.D.C.1955), rev'd on other grounds 243 F.2d 418, 100 U.S.App.D.C. 161, cert. den. 355 U.S. 822, 78 S.Ct. 29, 2 L.Ed.2d 38, reh. den. 355 U.S. 900, 78 S.Ct. 259, 2 L.Ed.2d 197, reh. den. 357 U.S. 923, 78 S.Ct. 1358, 2 L.Ed.2d 1363.

It appearing to this court that a federal court previously determined Conspiracy In Restraint of Trade to be a crime malum prohibitum rather than malum in se, we find that it is not a crime of moral turpitude and therefore a prior conviction of this misdemeanor offense cannot properly be used as a tool for impeachment of a witness. Accordingly, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting appellees' motion in limine.

2. Ms. Baird further contends that the trial court erred in charging the jury on pre-judgment interest and in allowing the final judgment to incorporate an award of pre-judgment interest because the case involved unliquidated damages. This enumeration is without merit.

Evidence produced at trial in the form of testimony and bank records indicated that checks in the amount of $24,000 were placed by Ms. Baird in separate trust accounts for appellees. The transcript reveals that on March 28, 1979, with additional interest accrued, one of the appellees had an account balance of $25,060 and the other appellee had an account balance of $24,969.64. The balances of the accounts after...

To continue reading

Request your trial
2 cases
  • Rivergate Corp. v. Atlanta Indoor Advertising Concepts, Inc.
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • September 24, 1993
    ...sought are liquidated, and the trial court erred in denying Atlanta Indoor's request for pre-judgment interest. Baird v. Baird, 204 Ga.App. 706(1), 420 S.E.2d 342 (1992). Accordingly, we must remand this case to the trial court for the issuance of an award on pre-judgment interest based upo......
  • Peeples v. Carolina Container, LLC
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Georgia
    • September 1, 2022
    ... ... otherwise “capable of calculation to a ... certainty.” Baird v. Baird , 420 S.E.2d 342, ... 344 (Ga.Ct.App. 1992). Indeed, “[b]ecause these damages ... ...

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT