Bridgman v. Baxter County

Decision Date17 March 1941
Docket Number4-6247
Citation148 S.W.2d 673,202 Ark. 15
PartiesBRIDGMAN v. BAXTER COUNTY
CourtArkansas Supreme Court

Appeal from Baxter Circuit Court; John L. Bledsoe, Judge; affirmed.

Judgment affirmed.

H J. Denton and O. E. Ellis, for appellant.

Bob Wood and Claude Cowart, for appellee.

SMITH J. MEHAFFY, J., dissents.

OPINION

SMITH, J.

On August 30, 1938, the county court of Baxter county, upon the petition of the State Highway Commission, made an order changing the route of highway No. 62 through the town of Cotter, which involved the condemnation of portions of lots belonging to residents of that town. Thirteen of these landowners filed claims for damages with the county court, all of which were disallowed, and from these orders of the county court appeals were prosecuted to the circuit court, where all cases were consolidated and tried together. During the course of the trial, four of the claimants took non-suits. Separate verdicts were returned in each of the other nine cases, all in favor of the county, and from the judgment pronounced thereon is this appeal. In the case of Mrs. M. O. White the verdict was set aside, and this appeal involves the claims of the remaining eight claimants.

Highway No. 62 ran through the town before the institution of the condemnation proceedings, and the property owners insist that they received no new or special benefits from the re-location, reconstruction and blacktopping of the new road. The old road was a gravel road. The new road is wider, and reduced certain curves in the old one.

The case was submitted to the jury under instructions conforming to the law as declared in the recent case of Herndon v. Pulaski County, 196 Ark. 284, 117 S.W.2d 1051, and the cases there cited.

Testimony was offered showing the parts and per cent. of each lot of which portions had been condemned, and a plat was offered in evidence showing the shape of the lots after these portions had been condemned. It was proposed, after some testimony had been taken, that the jury should view the route of the new road, and it was agreed that this should be done. Thereupon, the presiding judge said: "In view of the fact that the defendant desires a view of the different properties involved in this case, and the plaintiffs do not object, . . . it will be well, from this point on, to introduce your testimony, . . . , on the theory that there will be a view of each separate property involved, by the jury." This was on the first day of the trial, and on the next day, before the trial was resumed, separate written objections were filed by all the plaintiffs to a view of the property by the jury.

Section 1518, Pope's Digest, provides that "Whenever, in the opinion of the court, it is proper for the jury to have a view of real property which is the subject of litigation, or of the place in which any material fact occurred, it may order them to be conducted in a body, under the charge of an officer, to the place, which shall be shown to them by some person appointed by the court for that purpose. While the jury are thus absent, no person other than the person so appointed shall speak to them on any subject connected with the trial."

It was, therefore, within the discretion of the trial judge to permit the view, even though both parties had not at first consented, and this would be true even though one of the parties had not consented, but had objected. The court, no doubt, was of the opinion that the situation could be better visualized and comprehended by a view than by testimony based upon maps which were offered in evidence. We conclude, therefore, that the court did not abuse its discretion in this respect. It is not insisted that the jury was subjected to any improper influence, or that the view was not had under the directions of the court in conformity to the section of the statute above copied.

In making up the jury, the court excluded members of the regular panel who stated that they had personal knowledge of the location of the old road and the relocation of the other, and the jury was made up of members of the regular panel who said they had no personal knowledge of the situation. It was not essential that this be done if the excused jurors were unbiased and otherwise qualified. We think this, too, was a matter within the discretion of the trial judge. It was evidently the purpose of the trial judge to have a jury composed of members without...

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11 cases
  • Arkansas State Highway Commission v. Snowden
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • May 8, 1961
    ...accept one figure and reject the other, but to weigh all the testimony and, if possible, reconcile it. In the case Bridgman v. Baxter County, 202 Ark. 15, 148 S.W.2d 673, 675, we find this 'Five real estate men testified as to values, damages and benefits, four for the defendant and one for......
  • The State Life Insurance Company of Indianapolis, Indiana v. Arkansas State Highway Commission
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • March 17, 1941
    ... ... Mayesville-East Road, No. 102, through lands belonging to it ... in Benton county. It is alleged that no condemnation has been ... had of the land and that it is an attempt to take ... ...
  • Ball v. Independence County
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • February 21, 1949
    ... ... testimony as to values to be established by the opinions of ... witnesses familiar with the property in question. In ... Bridgman v. Baxter County, 202 Ark. 15, 148 ... S.W.2d 673, we said: "The weight to be given the ... testimony of any one of the witnesses who expressed ... ...
  • Wells v. Autry
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • May 18, 1970
    ...court abused its discretion in overruling the defendant's request to disqualify the two veniremen for cause. In Bridgmen v. Baxter County, 202 Ark. 15, 148 S.W.2d 673 (1941), the Supreme Court of Arkansas held as shown by the second syllabus In suits for damages for taking of realty for rel......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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