Fairbanks v. State

CourtSupreme Court of Connecticut
Citation124 A.2d 893,143 Conn. 653
Decision Date24 July 1956
PartiesEdith S. FAIRBANKS, Administratrix v. STATE of Connecticut et al. In re ESTATE of Betty L. BALDWIN. Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut

Page 893

124 A.2d 893
143 Conn. 653
Edith S. FAIRBANKS, Administratrix
v.
STATE of Connecticut et al.
In re ESTATE of Betty L. BALDWIN.
Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut.
July 24, 1956.

[143 Conn. 654]

Page 895

Allyn L. Brown, Jr., Norwich, with whom, on the brief, was Robert M. Sussler, Norwich, for appellant (defendant Baldwin).

J. Rodney Smith, New London, with whom was John C. Dennis, New London, for appellants (named defendant and others).

Milton L. Jacobson, Norwich, with whom, on the brief, were George Gilman and Vincent A. Laudone, Norwich, for appellee (plaintiff).

Before [143 Conn. 653] BALDWIN, O'SULLIVAN, WYNNE and DALY, JJ., and COMLEY, Superior Court Judge.

[143 Conn. 654] COMLEY, Superior Court Judge.

The plaintiff, administratrix of the estate of Betty L. Baldwin, brought this action to recover damages for the death of her decedent which resulted from injuries sustained by her while riding as a passenger in a car operated by her husband, the defendant Wallace R. Baldwin, Jr. About 11 p. m. on July 30, 1954, at the intersection of routes 87 and 207 in the town of Lebanon, the Baldwin car collided with a car driven by the defendant Arthur R. Harvey and owned by the state police department, in which Harvey was employed as a police officer. At the [143 Conn. 655] time of the accident, he was answering an emergency call in the line of duty. The state of Connecticut was made a party by virtue of General Statutes, § 8297.

The jury returned a verdict for $75,000 against all three defendants, and the trial court refused to set it aside. The defendant Baldwin has appealed, assigning as error the failure of the court to charge as requested, the exclusion of certain evidence, and the denial of the motion to set aside the verdict as excessive. The state and Officer Harvey have appealed on the sole ground that the verdict is excessive.

In connection with his claim that the court erred in refusing to charge as requested, the defendant Baldwin asks that certain paragraphs of the finding be corrected. It has recently been pointed out that in a jury case '[i]t serves no useful purpose to seek corrections in the finding which would not make clearer the situation as related to the claimed errors.' Trani v. Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation, 142 Conn. 541, 543, 116 A.2d 167, 168; Voronelis v. White Line Bus Corporation, 123 Conn. 25, 27, 192 A. 265. Corrections will not be made 'merely to secure a meticulous accuracy as to details.' Delfino v. Warners Motor Express, 142 Conn. 301, 302, 114 A.2d 205, 207. The changes sought in the present case are denied.

Page 896

The defendant Baldwin requested the court to charge as follows: 'If you the jury find both, defendant Harvey and defendant Baldwin, negligent then in order to establish liability of both defendant[s] you must find that the negligence of each was the substantial factor in causing the collision and continued to be [until] the point of impact. If the negligence of either defendant is questioned by you the jury as becoming a trivial consequence a mere [143 Conn. 656] incident of the operating cause although it may be in a sense a factor, the law holds it so insignificant that it cannot be considered a cause and that defendant is no longer to be held liable.' The trial court charged the jury at length upon the subject of proximate cause, adopting the familiar 'substantial factor' test as set forth in Mahoney v. Beatman, 110 Conn. 184, 195, 147 A. 762, 66 A.L.R. 1121, and emphasizing that 'to be a substantial factor, the negligence must have continued down to the moment of the injury or at least down to the setting in motion of the final active injurious force, which materially produced or preceded the injuries.' This was a sufficient compliance with the request to charge, in view of the fact that the proof offered by all the parties, including the defendant Baldwin, disclosed a collision between two vehicles within an intersection into which each operator had driven without any substantial alteration in his course or speed. It was a typical case of concurrent negligence continuing without interruption down to the time of the accident and did not involve any act of superseding or intervening negligence such as existed in the cases of Kinderavich v. Palmer, 127 Conn. 85, 15 A.2d 83, and Corey v. Phillips, 126 Conn. 246, 10 A.2d 370, where a charge such as the one requested was held to be essential.

The ruling on evidence which is assigned as error by the defendant Baldwin arose out of his attempt to show bias or prejudice on the part of a state police officer named Powers who investigated the accident on the night of its occurrence and testified as a witness for the plaintiff. Later in the trial, the plaintiff called a witness named Zelinsky who was at the scene of the accident and overheard a conversation between Powers and the defendant Harvey. Upon cross-examination by Baldwin's [143 Conn. 657] counsel, Zelinsky was permitted to testify to the statements made by Harvey in this conversation but not to those made by Powers. Baldwin's counsel then stated that he had expected to show by this excluded testimony that Powers had said to Harvey that the latter 'should not be sorry' about the accident and that he,...

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42 practice notes
  • State v. Brown
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • May 3, 1972
    ...it would be appropriate to strike these items of the narrative, the evidentiary rulings would not be affected. See Fairbanks v. State, 143 Conn. 653, 655, 124 A.2d 893; Trani v. Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation, 142 Conn. 541, 543, 116 A.2d The state offered in evidence thirty bags of white......
  • State v. Williams, No. 12244
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 28, 1987
    ...judicial discretion of the trial court whether to admit the impeaching statement where no foundation has been laid. Fairbanks v. State, 143 Conn. 653, 657, 124 A.2d 893 [1956]. The trial court is vested with a liberal discretion as to how the inquiry should be conducted in any given case." ......
  • State v. Alvarez, No. 13722
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • August 21, 1990
    ...or through the introduction of extrinsic evidence that McCrea was biased towards Rasheem. Fairbanks v. [216 Conn. 315] State, 143 Conn. 653, 657, 124 A.2d 893 (1956); C. Tait & J. La Plante, supra, § 7.20.1, p. 191. "The jury had an adequate opportunity to observe and examine the demeanor o......
  • Katsetos v. Nolan
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • April 20, 1976
    ...The pain, therapeutic measures, and unusual procedures may well have resulted in an apprehension of death. Compare Fairbanks v. State, 143 Conn. 653, 660, 124 A.2d 893. A trial court does not err in submitting to the jury any [170 Conn. 656] issue of fact within the pleadings which is reaso......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
42 cases
  • State v. Brown
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • May 3, 1972
    ...it would be appropriate to strike these items of the narrative, the evidentiary rulings would not be affected. See Fairbanks v. State, 143 Conn. 653, 655, 124 A.2d 893; Trani v. Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation, 142 Conn. 541, 543, 116 A.2d The state offered in evidence thirty bags of white......
  • State v. Williams, No. 12244
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 28, 1987
    ...judicial discretion of the trial court whether to admit the impeaching statement where no foundation has been laid. Fairbanks v. State, 143 Conn. 653, 657, 124 A.2d 893 [1956]. The trial court is vested with a liberal discretion as to how the inquiry should be conducted in any given case." ......
  • State v. Alvarez, No. 13722
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • August 21, 1990
    ...or through the introduction of extrinsic evidence that McCrea was biased towards Rasheem. Fairbanks v. [216 Conn. 315] State, 143 Conn. 653, 657, 124 A.2d 893 (1956); C. Tait & J. La Plante, supra, § 7.20.1, p. 191. "The jury had an adequate opportunity to observe and examine the demeanor o......
  • Katsetos v. Nolan
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • April 20, 1976
    ...The pain, therapeutic measures, and unusual procedures may well have resulted in an apprehension of death. Compare Fairbanks v. State, 143 Conn. 653, 660, 124 A.2d 893. A trial court does not err in submitting to the jury any [170 Conn. 656] issue of fact within the pleadings which is reaso......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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