Dehon v. Heidt

CourtFlorida Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtAuthor: Terrell
Citation38 So.2d 39
Decision Date23 November 1948
PartiesDEHON v. HEIDT.

38 So.2d 39

DEHON
v.
HEIDT.

Florida Supreme Court

November 23, 1948


Rehearing Denied Jan. 15, 1949. [38 So.2d 40]

Appeal from Circuit Court, Palm Beach County; Jos. S. White, Judge.

Paty, Warwick & Paul, of West Palm Beach, for appellant.

Earnest, Lewis & Smith, of West Palm Beach, for appellee.

TERRELL, Justice.

Appellant as plaintiff sued appellee to recover damages for the negligent death of his minor son. On the first trial the jury failed to reach a verdict, a mistrial was declared and the case was set for trial a second time. When the second trial was concluded the jury deliberated over two hours and reported to the Court that they were unable to agree on a verdict. The Court gave them further instructions and ordered them to again consider their verdict. This procedure was warranted by Section 54.22, Florida Statutes 1941, F.S.A. After more than two hours deliberation the jury again returned to the courtroom and reported to the Court that they could not reach a verdict.

The Court then announced that he would take the responsibility for deciding the case himself and instructed the foreman of the jury to sign a verdict for the defendant on which final judgment was entered. The reason given by the Court for so instructing the jury was that two juries having failed to reach a verdict based on negligence, the plaintiff had failed to make out his case. A new trial was denied and this appeal was prosecuted.

The question for determination is whether or not the second jury having failed to agree on a verdict for the plaintiff, the trial court committed error in taking the case in hand and directing a verdict for the defendant.

We think that an examination of the record requires an affirmative answer to this question. Summarized, the evidence shows that young Dehon was killed in a collision between the servi-cycle on which he was riding and appellee's automobile which was being driven by his son. The collision took place in the late afternoon as daylight was overtaking the shadows of evening, in the Town of Boca Raton, approximately fifty feet south of the intersection of State Highway AIA and Palmetto Park Road which runs east and west from Boca Raton to the Beach. Young Dehon and a friend, Billy Gaskins, met about 600 feet south of the intersection. Gaskins was riding a motor-bike and Dehon was riding a servicycle. They exchanged a few words and proceeded north on State Highway AIA which was twenty-two feet wide and straight for some distance either way from the point where the collision occurred. Gaskins turned left into Palmetto Park Road, young Dehon following him, but when he 'Gaskins' had gone about two hundred feet after he turned, he heard a crash. He returned to the locale of the crash and found the body of young Dehon on the west side of the road about one [38 So.2d 41] hundred and twenty feet southwest from where he was struck. His servi-cycle was about one hundred feet from where it was struck on same side of the road. The defendant's car which collided with the servicycle was traveling south and came to rest on the east side of the road about opposite the body of the deceased.

The evidence is not clear as to the exact location of Dehon's servi-cycle when it was struck by defendant's car. It is evident that Dehon was pursuing Gaskins and that the collision took place near the middle of the highway. From the diagram introduced in evidence, the marks made by the servi-cycle were in the middle of the road but the skid marks made by defendant's car from approximately the point of...

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16 practice notes
  • Franklin v. Dade County, Nos. 69-222
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • January 20, 1970
    ...could have been generated by a vehicle which had stopped and was entering the intersection with caution. Compare Dehon v. Heidt, Fla.1949, 38 So.2d 39, However, as disclosed by testimony of the investigating officer, and as implied by the circumstantial evidence, it was shown that the polic......
  • Fruit Industries, Inc. v. Petty, No. 17397.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • September 11, 1959
    ...for the purpose of the argument that the so-called Florida rule applies, appellees, citing Florida cases in support, Dehon v. Heidt, 38 So. 2d 39, Voelker v. Life & Cas. Ins. Co., 73 So.2d 403, and Byers v. Gunn, 81 So. 2d 723, argue with assurance that under the Florida rule the evidence i......
  • Ritter v. Brengle, No. 5653
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • April 6, 1966
    ...recovery could have been allowed. We have said that lack of witnesses does not conclude the question of negligence, Dehon v. Heidt, Fla., 38 So.2d 39, and we subscribe to the view that negligence may be proved by circumstantial evidence. Voelker v. Combined Ins. Co. of America, Fla., 73 So.......
  • Chaney v. Headley
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • October 31, 1956
    ...recovery could have been allowed. We have said that lack of witnesses does not conclude the question of negligence, Dehon v. Heidt, Fla., 38 So.2d 39, and we subscribe to the view that negligence may be proved by circumstantial evidence. Voelker v. Combined Ins. Co. of America, Fla., 73 So.......
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16 cases
  • Franklin v. Dade County, Nos. 69-222
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • January 20, 1970
    ...could have been generated by a vehicle which had stopped and was entering the intersection with caution. Compare Dehon v. Heidt, Fla.1949, 38 So.2d 39, However, as disclosed by testimony of the investigating officer, and as implied by the circumstantial evidence, it was shown that the polic......
  • Fruit Industries, Inc. v. Petty, No. 17397.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • September 11, 1959
    ...for the purpose of the argument that the so-called Florida rule applies, appellees, citing Florida cases in support, Dehon v. Heidt, 38 So. 2d 39, Voelker v. Life & Cas. Ins. Co., 73 So.2d 403, and Byers v. Gunn, 81 So. 2d 723, argue with assurance that under the Florida rule the evidence i......
  • Ritter v. Brengle, No. 5653
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • April 6, 1966
    ...recovery could have been allowed. We have said that lack of witnesses does not conclude the question of negligence, Dehon v. Heidt, Fla., 38 So.2d 39, and we subscribe to the view that negligence may be proved by circumstantial evidence. Voelker v. Combined Ins. Co. of America, Fla., 73 So.......
  • Chaney v. Headley
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • October 31, 1956
    ...recovery could have been allowed. We have said that lack of witnesses does not conclude the question of negligence, Dehon v. Heidt, Fla., 38 So.2d 39, and we subscribe to the view that negligence may be proved by circumstantial evidence. Voelker v. Combined Ins. Co. of America, Fla., 73 So.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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