Deese v. White Belt Dairy Farms, Inc.

Decision Date31 January 1964
Docket NumberNo. 4202,4202
Citation160 So.2d 543
PartiesBetty Jo DEESE, Appellant, v. WHITE BELT DAIRY FARMS, INC., a Florida corporation, and Bruce Bidding, Appellees.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

Dean Tooker, Stuart, and Farish & Farish, West Palm Beach, for appellant.

Fee, Parker & Neill, Ft. Pierce, for appellees.

WHITE, Judge.

Appellant Betty Jo Deese was plaintiff in a personal injury action wherein she obtained a verdict. She is aggrieved by an order of the trial court which granted judgment for the defendants notwithstanding the verdict and further granted the defendants a new trial in the event the judgment should be reversed.

The plaintiff was injured when she fell from a horse named 'Little Buck' owned by the corporate defendant and handled by co-defendant Bruce Bidding. She alleged and testified in substance that while working at Martin County Fair she was introduced to Bruce Bidding who invited her to ride a certain horse; that she informed Bidding she had never ridden, but Bidding said he would teach her to ride; that she and Bidding mounted separate horses and Bidding rode ahead leading plaintiff's horse by the reins; that after so proceeding for ten to fifteen minutes Bidding stated to plaintiff that the horse she was riding had been ridden only three times, and plaintiff became frightened and asked to be let off; that the horse bucked or reared and plaintiff fell to the ground and became unconscious; that the stirrups had not been adjusted and plaintiff had no means of control, and that even if she had such means she would not have known what to do; and plaintiff charged the defendants with negligence in permitting her on a horse which they knew or should have known was dangerous for her to ride; that the defendants failed to take due precautions for her safety and that as a result she suffered serious permanent injuries and disfigurement.

The defendants joined issue and affirmatively pleaded contributory negligence of the plaintiff. Defendant Bruce Bidding, manager of the corporate defendant, testified that the horse in question was just under three years old and had been broken gently; that he helped plaintiff mount the horse, and he led it by the reins from his position on another horse; that the plaintiff did not mention not having ever ridden. He denied telling plaintiff that the horse had been ridden only three times, testifying that it actually had been ridden many times. He contradicted plaintiff's testimony that he did not give instructions, and he denied that the stirrups were not adjusted. He testified that the horse had not thrown anyone and that no one had fallen from it. He stated that he did not see the plaintiff fall.

Witness W. C. McCall testified on behalf of the defendants that he saw the plaintiff 'raise up' in the saddle as she was attempting to dismount. A county agent testified that he saw the horse at the Fair and that it did not show a mean disposition. Peggy Bidding, daughter of defendant Bidding, testified that she and her brother and sister had ridden the horse without trouble. A private investigator, testifying for the plaintiff in rebuttal, stated that while he was at the farm observing the horse he heard defendant's witness W. C. McCall refer to it as 'a wild s. b.'

In granting defendants' motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, the trial court concluded that there was no showing that the horse had dangerous propensities and further concluded that the plaintiff's evidence, even if accepted in its entirety, failed to show negligence on the part of the defendants. In that portion of the order granting defendants' motion for a new trial, the trial court concluded that certain testimony was prejudicial to the defendants and had been received in evidence through inadvertence. The nature and import of this testimony will be pointed out later in this opinion.

The case developed trial problems of some difficulty. As we see it,...

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38 cases
  • Cedars of Lebanon Hosp. Corp. v. Silva
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • 10 September 1985
    ...which has prejudiced the jury broadly on all issues. See, e.g., Porter v. Gordon, 46 So.2d 19 (Fla.1950); Deese v. Whitebelt Dairy Farms, Inc., 160 So.2d 543 (Fla. 2d DCA 1964). In the present case, however, it is abundantly clear that the only reasons requiring a new trial were the jury's ......
  • Jones v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • 15 September 1983
    ... ... Peacock, 160 So.2d at 543; White v. State, 375 So.2d 622 (Fla. 4th DCA 1979) ... ...
  • Florida Tomato Packers, Inc. v. Wilson, s. 73--217
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • 7 May 1974
    ...225 So.2d 346, cert. den., Fla.1970, 232 So.2d 739; Chowning v. Pierce, Fla.App.1965, 174 So.2d 42; and Deese v. White Belt Dairy Farms, Inc., Fla.App.1964, 160 So.2d 543. Based on the facts set forth and the record, this court finds that the trial judge properly submitted the question of a......
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    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • 13 November 1986
    ... ... Department, identified himself as Martin White, and told the police "somebody killed my grandma" ... ...
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