Baker Service Tools, Inc. v. Buckley, 55933

Decision Date19 November 1986
Docket NumberNo. 55933,55933
Citation500 So.2d 970
PartiesBAKER SERVICE TOOLS, INC., et al. v. Angela Carol BUCKLEY.
CourtMississippi Supreme Court

Dorrance Aultman, George E. Dent, Aultman, Tyner, McNeese & Ruffin, Hattiesburg, for appellants.

Dan C. Taylor, Ellisville, John K. Keyes, Collins, for appellee.

Before WALKER, C.J., and SULLIVAN and ANDERSON, JJ.

WALKER, Chief Justice for the Court:

Angela Buckley, a minor, by and through her next friend filed suit against Baker Service Tools, Inc. and Garner Delk for injuries arising out of a multi-vehicle collision. After trial in the Circuit Court of Covington County, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Buckley against both defendants. Baker Service Tools, Inc. and Delk appeal. Because the verdict of the jury was contrary to the substantial weight of the evidence, we reverse.

On August 17, 1977, Angela Buckley was driving a Ford LTD west on Highway 84 near New Hebron, Mississippi. Behind Buckley's automobile was a pickup truck travelling in the same direction. That truck was driven by Garner Delk, an employee of Baker Service Tools, Inc. Delk was driving to Prentiss on an assignment from his employer. Travelling on the same highway but from the opposite direction was an eighteen-wheel truck driven by Earnest Deans. The three vehicles approached an intersection, Deans from the west, and Buckley and Delk from the east. Buckley's automobile crossed the center line into the path of the oncoming eighteen-wheel truck. Although the cause of her crossing into the lane of oncoming traffic is in controversy, the result is undisputed: Buckley's automobile was struck by the eighteen-wheel truck. She suffered severe injuries including fractures of both legs, fractures of ribs, and multiple facial lacerations. The injuries required lengthy hospitalization and extensive treatment including several surgical procedures. Medical testimony indicated that Buckley suffered a twenty-five percent (25%) permanent partial impairment of her left leg and a five percent (5%) permanent partial impairment of her right leg.

Buckley's testimony as to how the accident occurred was as follows: Delk's pickup was approximately one car length behind her when she reached the intersection. After she made a left-turn signal, she stopped, and Delk struck her from behind and forced her automobile into the lane of oncoming traffic, where it was struck by the eighteen-wheel truck. Buckley was apparently knocked unconscious when the eighteen-wheel truck collided with her automobile, and she remembers nothing subsequent to that impact.

In stark contrast to this version is the testimony of Garner Delk, which was as follows: He was approximately seventy (70) to eighty (80) feet behind Buckley's automobile when she reached the intersection. He saw her begin to turn left, realized the oncoming eighteen-wheel truck was going to hit her, and stopped his pickup a distance behind her automobile. The collision occurred immediately, and Buckley's LTD was knocked back into Delk's pickup. The right rear quarter panel of her car struck the front right half of Delk's truck causing minor damage to the quarter panel of her LTD.

The jury returned a verdict for Angela Buckley and awarded her $400,000.00 in damages. The trial court entered a remittitur of $191,000.00. Delk and Baker Service Tools, Inc. raise four (4) issues on appeal. Because the first is dispositive, we do not reach the remaining three (3).

Baker Service Tools, Inc. and Delk argue on appeal that the verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence, and that therefore the trial court erred in denying their motions for a directed verdict and for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. They argue that because the verdict was contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence, they are entitled to a new trial.

As noted above, Buckley testified that Delk's truck collided with her automobile, propelling it into the path of the oncoming truck. Delk claimed that he stopped before reaching Buckley's automobile and that she turned into the path of the oncoming eighteen-wheel truck. The record reveals that the only evidence in support of Buckley's version is her testimony and the testimony of her father that one week after the accident Delk came to his office and admitted that he struck Buckley from behind. At trial Delk denied making such a statement. Thus the verdict is supported by the testimony of Buckley and that of her father. Delk's version, on the other hand, is corroborated by the testimony of two eyewitnesses. The driver of the eighteen-wheel truck testified that Delk stopped before reaching Buckley's automobile and that Delk did not strike the automobile before it entered the lane of oncoming traffic. Similarly, a passenger in a vehicle travelling behind Delk at the time of the incident testified that Delk stopped before reaching Buckley's...

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11 cases
  • City of Jackson v. Johnson
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • April 28, 2022
    ...favorable to the plaintiff." Upton v. Magnolia Elec. Power Ass'n , 511 So. 2d 939, 943 (Miss. 1987) (citing Baker Serv. Tools, Inc. v. Buckley , 500 So. 2d 970, 972 (Miss. 1986) ). If reasonable minds could differ on the verdict when the evidence is so viewed, the motion should be denied. I......
  • Maxwell v. Illinois Central Gulf R.R.
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • September 16, 1987
    ...conclusions, the motion should be denied and the jury's verdict allowed to stand. 464 So.2d at 54; see also Baker Service Tools v. Buckley, 500 So.2d 970, 972 (Miss.1986); Spradlin v. Smith, 494 So.2d 354, 356 (Miss.1986); Paymaster Oil Mill Co. v. Mitchell, 319 So.2d 652, 657 (Miss.1975). ......
  • Illinois Cent. R. Co. v. White, 89-CA-0781
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • August 26, 1992
    ...is contrary to the substantial weight of the evidence. Burnham v. Tabb, 508 So.2d 1072, 1075 (Miss.1987) (citing Baker Tools Inc. v. Buckley, 500 So.2d 970, 972 (Miss.1986); Adams v. Green, 474 So.2d 577 The discretion vested in a trial judge with regard to a motion for a new trial is broad......
  • Davis v. State
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • August 17, 1988
    ...might reach different conclusions, the motion should be denied and the jury's verdict allowed to stand. See also Baker Service Tools v. Buckley, 500 So.2d 970, 972 (Miss.1986). A reasonable person would view a pistol as a deadly weapon. The fact that the pistol misfired three times does not......
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