Baird v. National Health Foundation

Decision Date01 July 1940
Docket NumberNo. 19687.,19687.
PartiesFERN BAIRD, RESPONDENT, v. NATIONAL HEALTH FOUNDATION ET AL.
CourtMissouri Court of Appeals

Appeal from Jackson Circuit Court. — Hon. Thos. E. Walsh, Special Judge.

AFFIRMED.

Hook & Thomas for appellants.

(1) Because of failure of proof of material elements, the case should not have been submitted to the jury, and the demurrers should have been sustained. Under the circumstances, expert testimony as to medical standards and proper treatment was indispensable, there being involved highly technical and controversial medical questions. Hill v. Jackson, 218 Mo. App. 210, 265 S.W. 859; Pedigo v. Roseberry (Mo.), 102 S.W. (2d) 200; Adelsberger v. Sheeny, 332 Mo. 954, 59 S.W. (2d) 644, 646; Connelly v. Cone, 205 Mo. App. 395, 224 S.W. 1011, 1012. Where the plaintiff, in proving his case, introduces evidence that destroys his cause of action, a directed verdict is proper. People's Finance Co. v. Buckner (Mo.), 126 S.W. (2d) 301, 302. There was no evidence of causal connection between the alleged negligence and the alleged injury. Snyder v. Railroad, 75 S.W. (2d) 504; Kourik v. English, 340 Mo. 367, 100 S.W. (2d) 901; Nevinger v. Haun, 197 Mo. App. 416, 196 S.W. 39, 42; Pedigo v. Roseberry, supra, 608. It is elementary that where no damages are proved or are presumed as a matter of law, there is nothing to submit to a jury. Trask v. Dunnigan, 299 S.W. 116. Mere proof of an incorrect diagnosis is insufficient, Gunter v. Whitner, 75 S.W. (2d) 588; Spain v. Burch, 151 S.W. 172. The plaintiff's injuries, if any, under the evidence would be a mere matter of speculation and conjecture. Connolly v. Cone, supra. There was no evidence that, by the requisite treatment, the results would have been different. Snyder v. Railroad, supra. The physician defendants exercised their independent judgment and were not collectively liable nor was there liability through respondeat superior. Gross v. Robinson, 203 Mo. App. 118, 218 S.W. 924, 926; Noren v. American School, 223 Mo. App. 278, 298 S.W. 1061. There being no proof or submission of any lack of requisite knowledge and skill, the law presumes that the physician defendants did their duty. Pate v. Dumbauld, 298 Mo. 435, 250 S.W. 59. The physician defendants used their independent judgments upon the symptoms, complaints, and examinations. That was all that was required. Louzander v. James, 107 S.W. (2d) 976. In such case, there is no liability unless the course followed by the physician is clearly against that recognized generally by the profession. Bailey v. Railroad, 78 S.W. (2d) 504. (2) The giving of Instruction No. 1 was error. The instruction was verbose, redundant, incorrect, confusing and ambiguous, and therefore erroneous. Sideway v. Missouri Land Co., 163 Mo. 342, 63 S.W. 705, 715; Williams v. Ransom (Mo.), 136 S.W. 349; Christner v. Railroad, 228 Mo. App. 220, 64 S.W. (2d) 752, 757; American Vet. Lab. v. Glidden, 59 S.W. (2d) 53; Cannon v. Kresge Co. (Mo. App.), 116 S.W. (2d) 559; McGrory v. Thurnau (Mo. App.), 84 S.W. (2d) 147; Crole v. Thomas, 117 Mo. 329; Belt v. Good, 31 Mo. 128. The instruction gave the jury a roving commission to follow its own whims, and permitted the jury to find facts in the absence of proof of such facts. Pedigo v. Roseberry, supra; Adelsberger v. Sheeny, supra; Connolly v. Cone, supra; Snyder v. Railroad, supra; Hill v. Jackson, 218 Mo. App. 210, 265 S.W. 859; Plank v. Petroleum Co. (Mo.), 61 S.W. (2d) 328, 334; Hager v. K.C. Pub. Serv., 322 Mo. 1103, 19 S.W. (2d) 707. The instruction assumes material facts in controversy and is erroneous. Snyder v. Railroad, supra; Reavis v. Gordon (Mo. App.), 45 S.W. (2d) 99. The instruction is broader than the pleadings and therefore erroneous. Pate v. Dumbauld, supra; Lee v. Shryock-Wright Grocery Co., 53 S.W. (2d) 406; Kitchen v. Sleuter Mfg. Co., 323 Mo. 1179, 20 S.W. (2d) 676, 682; Hager v. K.C. Pub. Serv. (Mo.), 19 S.W. (2d) 707. Damages must be limited to the injuries claimed in the petition. Blyster-Spencer v. United Rys., 152 Mo. App. 118, 132 S.W. 1175. The instruction is self-contradictory and contains conflicting and inconsistent theories and principles. Wood v. Fleetwood, 19 Mo. 529; State ex rel. Tungett v. Shain, 340 Mo. 434, 101 S.W. (2d) 1. Under the evidence respondeat superior, liability did not exist. Gross v. Robinson, 203 Mo. App. 118, 218 S.W. 924; 21 R.C.L. 395; Noren v. American School, 223 Mo. App. 278, 298 S.W. 1061. (3) Instruction No. 2 was erroneous. It conflicted with Instruction No. 1 in defining the requisite standards of medical conduct and both instructions failed to state the true rule. Owen v. McCleary, 313 Mo. 213, 281 S.W. 682, 685; Louzander v. James, supra; Boner v. Nicholson, 179 Mo. App. 146, 161 S.W. 309. The giving of conflicting instructions is error. Sloan v. Polar Wave, etc., Co., 323 Mo. 363, 19 S.W. (2d) 476; Zorn v. Zorn, 64 S.W. (2d) 698; Wilson v. Chattin, 333 Mo. 949, 72 S.W. (2d) 681. No man should be held to a higher degree of care or skill than the fair average of his trade or profession, and the standard of due care is the conduct of the average man. Pate v. Dumbauld, supra. (4) Instruction No. 4 being supported by the evidence and the law should have been given. Gross v. Robinson, supra; Noren v. American School, supra; Owen v. McCleary, supra. (5) Counsel in the closing argument may not without error make improper and inflammatory statements or incorrectly advise the jury as to the law, contrary to the given instructions. State ex rel. v. Bailey, 115 S.W. 17, 23; State ex rel. v. Edwards, 35 Mo. 680; Hopkins v. American Car Co., 11 S.W. (2d) 65. It was error for counsel to argue against the court's instructions and for that error any number of new trials may be granted. State ex rel. v. Edwards, 35 Mo. 680.

S.R. Stone, Reginald A. Smith and Walter A. Raymond for respondent.

(1) Defendants' requested Instructions E, F, G, and H, in the nature of demurrers to the evidence were properly refused. (a) In general. Neal v. Curtis & Co. Mfg. Co., 328 Mo. 389, 41 S.W. (2d) 543, 556; Byers v. St. Louis Pub. Serv. Co., 334 Mo. 278, 66 S.W. (2d) 894, 900; Fawkes v. Nat. Refining Co., 341 Mo. 630, 108 S.W. (2d) 7, 11; Bolles v. Kinton, 83 Colo. 147, 263 Pac. 26, 27, 48; C.J.P. 1136, par. 140; Morey v. Thybo, 199 Fed. 760, 762; Stokes v. Long, 52 Mont. 470, 159 Pac. 28, 32; Peterson v. Hunt, 197 Wash. 255, 84 P. (2d) 999, 1000; Slatoch v. Holm, 100 Minn. 276, 111 N.W. 264, 266; Dailey v. Shaffer, 178 Mich. 574, 146 N.W. 192, 193; Casenburg v. Lewis, 163 Tenn. 163, 40 S.W. (2d) 1038, 1040; 48 C.J., sec. 114, page 1128; Daly v. Lininger, 288 Pac. 633, 638; Johnson v. Winston, 94 N.W. 607, 609; Buskirk v. Bucklew (W. Va.), 176 S.E. 603; Vanhoover v. Berghoff, 90 Mo. 487, 3 S.W. 72, 76; Coffey v. Tiffany, 192 Mo. App. 455, 182 S.W. 495, 499; State ex rel. Tiffany v. Ellison, 266 Mo. 604, 182 S.W. 996; Boyd v. Andrae, 44 S.W. (2d) 891, 893; Snyder v. St. Louis S.W. Ry. Co., 228 Mo. App. 626, 72 S.W. (2d) 504, 512; Gunter v. Whitener (Mo. App.), 75 S.W. (2d) 588, 590; Pedigo v. Roseberry, 340 Mo. 724, 102 S.W. (2d) 600, 606; State v. Gregory, 339 Mo. 133, 96 S.W. (2d) 47, 52; Cole v. Uhlmann Grain Co., 340 Mo. 277, 100 S.W. (2d) 311, 317; Setzer v. Ulrich, 90 S.W. (2d) 154, 156; Anderson v. Asphalt Distributing Co., 55 S.W. (2d) 688, 693; State ex rel. City of St. Charles v. Haid, 325 Mo. 107, 28 S.W. (2d) 97, 102; Wright v. Stickler, 96 S.W. (2d) 932, 938; Reed v. Laughlin, 332 Mo. 324, 58 S.W. (2d) 440, 443; Hodgson v. Bigelow, 7 Atl. (2) 338, 348. (b) Liability of the National Health Foundation. Clark v. Grand Lodge, 328 Mo. 1084, 43 S.W. (2d) 404, 405, 413; Phillips v. St. Louis & S.F.R. Co., 211 Mo. 419, 111 S.W. 109, 113; Smith v. Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, 212 Mo. 158, 251 S.W. 155, 158; Noren v. American School of Osteopathy, (Mo. App.), 298 S.W. 1061 (Aff. on reh. 2 S.W. (2d) 215, certiorari quashed, 322 Mo. 991, 18 S.W. (2d) 487); Atkinson v. American School of Osteopathy, 240 Mo. 338, 144 S.W. 816. (c) Liability of M.K. Kelly, Trustee. Girven v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. (Mo. App.), 75 S.W. (2d) 596, 599; Tinsley v. Washington Nat. Ins. Co. (Mo. App.), 97 S.W. (2d) 874, 877; Phillips v. St. Louis & S.F.R. Co., 211 Mo. 109, 111 S.W. 109, 113; Snyder v. St. Louis S.W. Ry. Co., 228 Mo. App. 626, 72 S.W. (2d) 504, 505; Laughlin v. Laughlin (Mo.), 232 S.W. 114, 119; Lambert v. Jones, 339 Mo. 677, 98 S.W. (2d) 752, 759; Lee v. Allen (Mo. App.), 120 S.W. (2d) 172, 175; State ex rel. Talbert v. Shain, 334 Mo. 617, 66 S.W. (2d) 826, 827. (d) Liability of Dr. Glenn C. Carbaugh. Cazzell v. Schofield, 319 Mo. 1169, 8 S.W. (2d) 580, 587; 21 R.C.L. 389, sec. 34; Lewis v. McClellan, 1 S.W. (2d) 247, 249. (e) Liability of Dr. J. Earle Donaldson. (f) Liability of Dr. Eugene Carbaugh. (2) The court committed no error in giving plaintiff's Instruction No. 1, hypothesizing the facts and directing a verdict. Wolfe v. Payne, 294 Mo. 170, 241 S.W. 915; Houston v. Am. Car & Foundry Co. (Mo. App.), 282 S.W. 170; Troutman v. East St. Louis Cotton Oil Co. (Mo. App.), 224 S.W. 1014; McKenzie v. Randolph (Mo.), 257 S.W. 126; Potterfield v. Terminal R. Ass'n. of St. Louis, 319 Mo. 619, 5 S.W. (2d) 447; Chambers v. Hines, 208 Mo. App. 222, 233 S.W. 949; Grubbs v. Kansas City Pub. Serv. Co., 329 Mo. 390, 45 S.W. (2d) 71; McClellan v. Kansas City Pub. Serv. Co. (Mo. App.), 19 S.W. (2d) 902. (a) The length of plaintiff's instruction does not constitute reversible error. Preston v. Union Pac. R. Co., 292 Mo. 442, 239 S.W. 1080, 1083; Young v. M.K.T.R. Co., 100 S.W. (2d) 929, 935; Rowe v. M.K.T.R. Co., 339 Mo. 1145, 100 S.W. (2d) 487; Mayfield v. K.C. So. Ry. Co., 337 Mo. 79, 101 S.W. (2d) 769, 773; Cunningham v. Doe Run Lead Co. (Mo.), 26 S.W. (2d) 957; Walter v. Mo. Portland Cement Co. (Mo.), 250 S.W. 587. (b) Sufficiency of the proof. (c) It does not give the jury a roving commission. (d) It does not require the...

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