Crosby v. Southeast Zayre, Inc., No. 21200

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtLEWIS; LITTLEJOHN, NESS and GREGORY, JJ., and JOSEPH R. MOSS
Citation274 S.C. 519,265 S.E.2d 517
PartiesEarline CROSBY, Respondent, v. SOUTHEAST ZAYRE, INC., Appellant.
Decision Date17 April 1980
Docket NumberNo. 21200

Page 517

265 S.E.2d 517
274 S.C. 519
Earline CROSBY, Respondent,
v.
SOUTHEAST ZAYRE, INC., Appellant.
No. 21200.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
April 17, 1980.

Page 518

[274 S.C. 520] Nelson, Mullins, Grier & Scarborough, Columbia, for appellant.

J. Marvin Mullis, Jr., Columbia, for respondent.

LEWIS, Chief Justice:

Plaintiff-respondent, while shopping in the store of defendant-appellant in Columbia, South Carolina, fell over a stock cart that was protruding into an aisle. She brought this action to recover for the injuries and damage sustained in the fall and was awarded a verdict by the jury in [274 S.C. 521] the amount of $5,000 actual damages, from which this appeal is presented.

At the beginning of the trial, the trial judge inquired as to any possible relationship between any juror and the respondent and, also, as to any connection with the corporate appellant. No relationship with any of the parties was revealed as a result of this inquiry. The trial judge made no further inquiry of the jury to determine any possible bias, prejudice, or interest that any juror might have in the cause. Counsel for appellant then requested the judge to inquire as to (1) "whether or not any member of the jury panel has any relationship with" any member of the law firms representing either party, and (2) "whether or not any member of the panel has sustained any type of injury in a department store or mercantile establishment." Although counsel for both parties finally joined in the foregoing request, it was denied by the trial judge.

Page 519

The refusal to permit the foregoing questions to be asked of the jury on their voir dire examination is the basis of the first ground of appeal.

Section 14-7-1020, South Carolina Code (1976), states the general duty of the trial judge to examine jurors as to their interest in a cause:

The court shall, on motion of either party in the suit, examine on oath any person who is called as a juror therein to know whether he is related to either party, has any interest in the cause, has expressed or formed any opinion or is sensible of any bias or prejudice therein . . . . (Emphasis added).

While it has been held that, generally, the conduct of voir dire examinations of jurors is within the discretion of the court, State v. Gibbs, 267 S.C. 365, 228 S.E.2d 104, we have also held that, under the quoted statute, the refusal to make any examination of prospective jurors to determine bias or prejudice on their part, when a timely request has [274 S.C. 522] been made, constitutes reversible error, State v. Brown, 240 S.C. 357, 126 S.E.2d 1.

The request by appellant, that inquiry be made to determine the relationship of any juror to counsel in the case, concerned the possible interest, bias, or prejudice of the jurors arising not only from kinship but also from business connections with any of the attorneys. The refusal to make such inquiry, when requested, amounted in this case, in effect, to the refusal by the trial judge to follow the clear mandate of the above quoted provisions of Section 14-7-1020; and constitutes reversible error.

The purpose of the voir dire examination of jurors is to ascertain whether grounds...

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9 practice notes
  • Creighton v. Coligny Plaza Ltd., No. 2909.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • November 30, 1998
    ...of four jurors. The manner and scope of voir dire is largely within the discretion of the trial judge. Crosby v. Southeast Zayre, Inc., 274 S.C. 519, 265 S.E.2d 517 (1980); State v. Middleton, 266 S.C. 251, 222 S.E.2d 763 (1976); Norris v. Ferre, 315 S.C. 179, 432 S.E.2d 491 (Ct.App.1993). ......
  • Wilson v. Childs, No. 2049
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • May 10, 1993
    ...the jurors' possible association with the solicitor's office was outside the scope of § 14-7-1020); Crosby v. Southeast Zayre, Inc., 274 S.C. 519, 521-22, 265 S.E.2d 517, 519 (1980) (the refusal to make any inquiry regarding the possible bias of jurors is reversible error); Norris v. Ferre,......
  • Hall v. Palmetto Enterprises II, Inc., of Clinton, No. 0189
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • March 2, 1984
    ...to prove liability. See McIntire v. Winn-Dixie Greenville, Inc., 275 S.C. 323, 270 S.E.2d 440 (1980); Crosby v. Southeast Zayre, Inc., 274 S.C. 519, 265 S.E.2d 517 (1980); 31A C.J.S. [282 S.C. 92] Evidence § 291 at 743 (1964). We also recognize that an offer to compromise the controversy in......
  • Wall v. Keels, No. 2848.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • June 1, 1998
    ...of the trial court." Wilson v. Childs, 315 S.C. 431, 438, 434 S.E.2d 286, 291 (Ct.App.1993); accord Crosby v. Southeast Zayre, Inc., 274 S.C. 519, 521, 265 S.E.2d 517, 519 (1980) ("[T]he conduct of voir dire examinations of jurors is within the 331 S.C. 318 discretion of the court."). Thus,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • Creighton v. Coligny Plaza Ltd., No. 2909.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • November 30, 1998
    ...of four jurors. The manner and scope of voir dire is largely within the discretion of the trial judge. Crosby v. Southeast Zayre, Inc., 274 S.C. 519, 265 S.E.2d 517 (1980); State v. Middleton, 266 S.C. 251, 222 S.E.2d 763 (1976); Norris v. Ferre, 315 S.C. 179, 432 S.E.2d 491 (Ct.App.1993). ......
  • Wilson v. Childs, No. 2049
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • May 10, 1993
    ...the jurors' possible association with the solicitor's office was outside the scope of § 14-7-1020); Crosby v. Southeast Zayre, Inc., 274 S.C. 519, 521-22, 265 S.E.2d 517, 519 (1980) (the refusal to make any inquiry regarding the possible bias of jurors is reversible error); Norris v. Ferre,......
  • Hall v. Palmetto Enterprises II, Inc., of Clinton, No. 0189
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • March 2, 1984
    ...to prove liability. See McIntire v. Winn-Dixie Greenville, Inc., 275 S.C. 323, 270 S.E.2d 440 (1980); Crosby v. Southeast Zayre, Inc., 274 S.C. 519, 265 S.E.2d 517 (1980); 31A C.J.S. [282 S.C. 92] Evidence § 291 at 743 (1964). We also recognize that an offer to compromise the controversy in......
  • Wall v. Keels, No. 2848.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • June 1, 1998
    ...of the trial court." Wilson v. Childs, 315 S.C. 431, 438, 434 S.E.2d 286, 291 (Ct.App.1993); accord Crosby v. Southeast Zayre, Inc., 274 S.C. 519, 521, 265 S.E.2d 517, 519 (1980) ("[T]he conduct of voir dire examinations of jurors is within the 331 S.C. 318 discretion of the court."). Thus,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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