Dowd-Feder, Inc. v. Truesdell, No. 24902.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Ohio
Writing for the CourtDAY
Citation130 Ohio St. 530,200 N.E. 762
PartiesDOWD-FEDER, Inc., v. TRUESDELL.
Docket NumberNo. 24902.
Decision Date18 March 1936

130 Ohio St. 530
200 N.E. 762

DOWD-FEDER, Inc.,
v.
TRUESDELL.

No. 24902.

Supreme Court of Ohio.

March 18, 1936.


Error to Court of Appeals, Franklin County.

Action by one Truesdell against the Dowd-Feder, Incorporated. To review a judgment of the Court of Appeals which affirmed a judgment for plaintiff, defendant on allowance of motion to certify brings error.-[Editorial Statement.]

Affirmed.

On August 18, 1931, plaintiff's automobile was parked along the curb, facing west on the north side of Fourth avenue in Columbus. While plaintiff was standing on the left running board of his parked automobile, cleaning the front of the windshield, an automobile, driven by a man named Clay, going west on Fourth avenue, ran into the side of plaintiff's automobile, by reason of which plaintiff was injured. Suit was filed against plaintiff in error, the petition alleging among other things, that the defendant was engaged in the sale and distribution of automobiles, that the automobile operated by Clay was its property, and that Clay was one of its employees. The answer of defendant, after admitting its corporate capacity and that the streets named were public thoroughfares in the city of Columbus, denied generally the allegations contained in plaintiff's petition.

At the trial of the cause the following questions were permitted to be asked of prospective jurors on their voir dire over the objection of counsel for plaintiff in error:

‘Q. I will ask you this question, members of the jury, are any of you members of the jury employed by any casualty insurance company that writes automobile liability insurance?

‘Q. Are any of you owners of stock in and liability insurance company?’

Plaintiff in error moved for the withdrawal of a juror on account of those questions, which motion was denied, whereupon exceptions were duly taken.

The jury returned a verdict for plaintiff in the sum of $1,500, upon which judgment was rendered. Error was prosecuted to the Court of Appeals, where the judgment was affirmed. The matter is now before this court on the allowance of a motion to certify.



Syllabus by the Court.

[Ohio St. 530]1. The purpose of the examination of a prospective juror upon his voir dire is to determine whether he has both the statutory qualifications of a juror and is free from bias or prejudice for or against either litigant.

2. In the examination of a juror upon his voir dire, in cases involving property damage, personal injury, or both, he may be asked the general question whether he has or has had any connection with or interest in a casualty insurance company. If the answer be in the affirmative, the juror may then be asked the name of such company and the nature of his connection with or interest therein. Paragraph three of the syllabus of Pavilonis v. Valentine, 120 Ohio St. 154, 165 N.E. 730, and paragraph three of the syllabus of Vega, Adm'r, v. Evans, 128 Ohio St. 535, 191 N.E. 757, 95 A.L.R. 381, modified.

3. All questions in the voir dire examination must be propounded in good faith. The character and scope of such questions cannot become standardized, but must be controlled by the court in the exercise of its sound discretion, the court having for its purpose the securing to every litigant an unbiased jury.

[Ohio St. 537]JONES, J., dissenting.


[Ohio St. 531]

[200 N.E. 763]

John F. Ward, of Columbus, for plaintiff in error.

Huggins & Liggett, of Columbus, for defendant in error.


DAY, Judge.

Two questions are presented for our determination: First, whether it is error for a trial court to allow interrogation of prospective jurors on their voir dire concerning their possible connections with, interest in, or relationship to, a casualty insurance company; and, second, whether the facts as reflected by the record establish agency.

The first is the more important question presented for our consideration. We are faced with the problem of granting plaintiff in a personal injury case reasonable safeguards against obtaining a jury composed of men and women having insurance connections [Ohio St. 532]or interests and of relieving defendant from possible prejudice which interrogation concerning the jury's interests might tend to provoke. The only way to prevent those who have insurance interests or connections from sitting on juries in the trial of negligence cases is by the test applied in voir dire interrogation. On the other hand, the possibility of any prejudice which might arise by reason of such interrogation must be done away with by proper precautions taken to that end.

The difficulty the problem presents is intensified by the fact that the rights of the casualty insurance company, not a party to the action, are sought to be protected, and it is contended that nondisclosure affords such protection. Yet, that very fact is one of the main reasons for ascertaining a juror's qualifications in that respect.

In view of the fact that neither litigant nor counsel can know...

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46 practice notes
  • State v. Murphy, No. 98-1586.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • June 6, 2001
    ...to exercise peremptories. Thus, it did not deny appellant the essential benefits of voir dire. See Dowd-Feder, Inc. v. Truesdell (1936), 130 Ohio St. 530, 5 O.O. 179, 200 N.E. 762, paragraph one of the syllabus; State v. Anderson (1972), 30 Ohio St.2d 66, 71-72, 59 O.O.2d 85, 89, 282 N.E.2d......
  • State v. Jenkins, No. 84-478
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • December 17, 1984
    ...the scope of voir dire. Pavilonis v. Valentine (1929), 120 Ohio St. 154, 157, 165 N.E. 730; Dowd-Feder, Inc. v. Truesdell (1936), 130 Ohio St. 530, 200 N.E. 762 [5 O.O. 179]; State v. Anderson, supra, 30 Ohio St.2d at 72-73, 282 N.E.2d In the case at bar, appellant sought to ask questions o......
  • State v. Bridgeman
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • April 7, 1977
    ...during voir dire examination. State v. Anderson (1972), 30 Ohio St.2d 66, 282 N.E.2d 568; Dowd-Feder, Inc. v. Truesdell (1936), 130 Ohio St. 530, 200 N.E. 762; Krupp v. Poor (1970), 24 Ohio St.2d 123, 265 N.E.2d 268; Salerno v. Oppman (1936), 52 Ohio App. 416, 3 N.E.2d In this case the tria......
  • State v. Williams, No. 90AP-638
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • July 2, 1991
    ...qualifications of a juror and is free from bias or prejudice for or against either party. Dowd-Feder, Inc. v. Truesdell (1936), 130 Ohio St. 530, 5 O.O. 179, 200 N.E. 762, paragraph one of the syllabus. Voir dire examination, where not specifically controlled by statute, is largely in the d......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
46 cases
  • State v. Murphy, No. 98-1586.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • June 6, 2001
    ...to exercise peremptories. Thus, it did not deny appellant the essential benefits of voir dire. See Dowd-Feder, Inc. v. Truesdell (1936), 130 Ohio St. 530, 5 O.O. 179, 200 N.E. 762, paragraph one of the syllabus; State v. Anderson (1972), 30 Ohio St.2d 66, 71-72, 59 O.O.2d 85, 89, 282 N.E.2d......
  • State v. Jenkins, No. 84-478
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • December 17, 1984
    ...the scope of voir dire. Pavilonis v. Valentine (1929), 120 Ohio St. 154, 157, 165 N.E. 730; Dowd-Feder, Inc. v. Truesdell (1936), 130 Ohio St. 530, 200 N.E. 762 [5 O.O. 179]; State v. Anderson, supra, 30 Ohio St.2d at 72-73, 282 N.E.2d In the case at bar, appellant sought to ask questions o......
  • State v. Bridgeman
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • April 7, 1977
    ...during voir dire examination. State v. Anderson (1972), 30 Ohio St.2d 66, 282 N.E.2d 568; Dowd-Feder, Inc. v. Truesdell (1936), 130 Ohio St. 530, 200 N.E. 762; Krupp v. Poor (1970), 24 Ohio St.2d 123, 265 N.E.2d 268; Salerno v. Oppman (1936), 52 Ohio App. 416, 3 N.E.2d In this case the tria......
  • State v. Williams, No. 90AP-638
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • July 2, 1991
    ...qualifications of a juror and is free from bias or prejudice for or against either party. Dowd-Feder, Inc. v. Truesdell (1936), 130 Ohio St. 530, 5 O.O. 179, 200 N.E. 762, paragraph one of the syllabus. Voir dire examination, where not specifically controlled by statute, is largely in the d......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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