Brown v. Turner

CourtSupreme Court of Alabama
Citation497 So.2d 1119
PartiesHarvel Phillip BROWN and Toni Brown v. John TURNER, et al. 85-519.
Decision Date07 November 1986

R. Bradford Wash, Birmingham, for appellants.

Jack B. Porterfield and William Dudley Motlow, Jr., Birmingham, for appellees.

TORBERT, Chief Justice.

Phillip Brown lost a finger in a punch press at a Magic Chef, Inc., plant in Anniston, Alabama. Mr. Brown was unloading base rails for microwave ovens after they had been formed by the dies on the press. After one particular down and up cycle of the press ram, the ram failed to stop at the top of the stroke as it was supposed to and came down a second time and crushed Mr. Brown's finger. Mr. Brown brought both negligence and wantonness claims against the defendants, and his wife asserted a claim for loss of consortium. The defendants claimed that Phillip Brown was contributorily negligent. The trial court directed verdicts in favor of the defendants on the claim for wanton conduct. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants on the negligence claim. It is not clear whether the jury found an absence of negligent conduct or the presence of contributory negligence. Contributory negligence acts as a complete bar to an action based on negligence; however, contributory negligence does not act as a bar in an action based on wanton misconduct. See Burns v. Moore, 494 So.2d 4 (Ala.1986). The only issue on this appeal is whether the trial court erred in granting directed verdicts on the wantonness claim in favor of defendants Fred Gant, the plant manager; John Turner, the personnel manager; and Richard Fleming, the supervisor of the fabrication department.

In Caterpillar Tractor Co. v. Ford, 406 So.2d 854, at 856 (Ala.1981), this Court stated the standard of review for a directed verdict:

"A directed verdict is proper only where there is a complete absence of proof on an issue material to the claim or where there are no disputed questions of fact on which reasonable people could differ. Deal v. Johnson, 362 So.2d 214 (Ala.1978). In considering a motion for directed verdict, the court must apply Rule 50(e), ARCP, under which 'a question must go to the jury, if the evidence, or any reasonable inference arising therefrom, furnishes a mere gleam, glimmer, spark ... or a scintilla in support of the theory of the complaint....' Dixie Electric Company v. Maggio, 294 Ala. 411, 318 So.2d 274 (Ala.1975).

"In addition, the trial court must view the entire evidence, and all reasonable inferences which a jury might have drawn therefrom, in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Alabama Power Company v. Taylor, 293 Ala. 484, 306 So.2d 236 (1975); Vintage Enterprises, Inc. v. Cash, 348 So.2d 476 (Ala.1977). Also, this Court's function in reviewing a motion for a directed verdict is to review the tendencies of the evidence most favorably to the non-movant, regardless of a view we may have as to the weight of the evidence, and we must allow such reasonable inferences as the jury were free to draw, not inferences which we may think the more probable. Beloit Corp. v. Harrell, 339 So.2d 992 (Ala.1976)."

Quoted with approval in Ritch v. Waldrop, 428 So.2d 1 (Ala.1982), and Pate v. Sunset Funeral Home, 465 So.2d 347, 348 (Ala.1984).

What constitutes wanton misconduct depends upon the facts presented in each particular case. Pate, 465 So.2d at 349; Westbrook v. Gibbs, 285 Ala. 223, 231 So.2d 97 (1970). In order for the trial court to find a party guilty of wanton conduct, it must be shown that with reckless indifference to the consequences the party consciously and intentionally did some wrongful act or omitted some known duty, and that this act or...

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    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • April 27, 1990
    ...... (emphasis added); see also Brown Mechanical Contractors, Inc. v. Centennial Ins. Co., 431 So.2d 932, 945 (Ala.1983) (finding that the contract, which provided "[t]he Subcontractor ... See Brown v. Turner, 497 So.2d 1119, 1120 (Ala.1986); Birmingham Elec. Co. v. McQueen, 253 Ala. 395, 44 So.2d 598, 600 (1950). Wanton conduct thus requires a higher ......
  • Central Alabama Elec. Co-op. v. Tapley
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • May 12, 1989
    ...count. B. Wantonness What constitutes wanton misconduct depends upon the facts presented in each particular case. Brown v. Turner, 497 So.2d 1119 (Ala.1986); Trahan v. Cook, 288 Ala. 704, 265 So.2d 125 (1972); Westbrook v. Gibbs, 285 Ala. 223, 231 So.2d 97 (1970). In Lynn Stickland Sales & ......
  • Tolbert v. Tolbert
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    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • October 8, 2004
    ...the facts presented in each particular case. Central Alabama Electric Cooperative v. Tapley, 546 So.2d 371 (Ala.1989); Brown v. Turner, 497 So.2d 1119 (Ala.1986); Trahan v. Cook, 288 Ala. 704, 265 So.2d 125 (1972). A majority of this Court, in Lynn Strickland Sales & Service, Inc. v. Aero-L......
  • J & M Associates Inc. v. Callahan, Civil Action No. 07–0883–CG–C.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Southern District of Alabama
    • November 12, 2010
    ...this act or omission caused the injury. Kennedy v. Jack Smith Enterprises, Inc., 619 So.2d 1326, 1328 (Ala.1993) (citing Brown v. Turner, 497 So.2d 1119 (Ala.1986)). Since this court granted summary judgment as to most of the bases of J & M's wantonness claim, this argument only applies to ......
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