Gates v. Murphree, 47230

Decision Date01 October 1973
Docket NumberNo. 47230,47230
Citation286 So.2d 291
PartiesJames O'Neal GATES v. Troy Lane MURPHREE.
CourtMississippi Supreme Court

Paul M. Moore, Calhoun City, Armis E. Hawkins, Houston, for appellant.

Yancy & Easley, Bruce, for appellee.





Troy Lane Murphree sued Danny Haire and James O'Neal Gates in the Circuit Court of Calhoun County for personal injuries sustained in an automobile accident. The jury returned a verdict for Murphree against both defendants. Haire did not appeal; Gates did.

The case was affirmed on a former day without opinion. Gates filed a petition for rehearing which was considered by the Court en banc, resulting in a denial of the petition for rehearing.

The accident occurred on state highway No. 32 in Chickasaw County. Three vehicles were traveling in the same direction. The lead vehicle was a pickup truck driven by Mrs. Ruby Pettit. The next vehicle was a pickup truck driven by James O'Neal Gates, and the third vehicle was an automobile driven by Danny Haire in which Troy Lane Murphree, the plaintiff, was a passenger. When the first vehicle was nearly around a looping curve, Gates began to pass the Pettit pickup truck. At that place or some point thereafter the Haire automobile attempted to pass the Gates vehicle. The Haire automobile ran onto the left shoulder, where it hit a mailbox and turned over without touching either of the other vehicles. The two lead vehicles were traveling about forty to fifty miles per hour when Gates began passing Mrs. Pettit's pickup truck. The Haire automobile was traveling at a high rate of speed of approximately sixty-five or seventy-five mile per hours, although there is testimony that it slowed down upon entering the curve. This skeletal statement of the facts is sufficient for the purpose of discussing the question raised by the petition for rehearing.

The trial court instructed the jury to find for plaintiff against defendant Haire. The jury was instructed that defendant Gates was negligent as a matter of law, but did not instruct the jury to find against Gates, thus submitting to the jury the question whether Gates' negligence was a proximate contributing cause of the accident and resulting injuries to plaintiff.

Gates contends that the trial court erred in instructing the jury that Gates was negligent as a matter of law.

As often said by this Court, the Court must look solely to the testimony in behalf of the party against whom the directed verdict is requested and consider that testimony as true along with all inferences which could be drawn therefrom favorable to such party, and if such evidence could support a verdict for him, the directed verdict or peremptory instruction should not be given. However, it is equally well settled that a litigant is bound by his own positive testimony to definite facts which, if true, would conclusively show his liability.

The major premise of Gates' argument is that he attempted to pass the Pettit pickup truck after both vehicles had rounded the curve and were in a straight stretch of road. This is not borne out by the record. Gates testified that he was at the driveway of Lloyd Collums when he attempted to pass Mrs. Pettit and identified the place by the number '2' on a photograph which appears in the record as Exhibit No. 1. This photograph shows without question that Gates attempted to pass in the curve. This Exhibit 1, together with Exhibit 3, indicates that at the place where Gates began his pass he could see the highway in front of him for a substantial distance, but these two photographs also show that his view was obstructed to his rear because of the curve.

There are two pertinent statutes. Mississippi Code Annotated section 63-3-611 (1972) provides in part as follows:

(2) No vehicle shall, in overtaking and passing another vehicle or at any other time, be driven to the left side of the roadway under the following conditions:

a. When approaching the crest of a grade or upon a curve in the highway where the driver's view along the highway is obstructed;

The foregoing statute must be read along with Code section 63-3-707, which is, in part, as follows:


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    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • September 25, 2003 part and dissent in part. EASLEY, J., JOINS THIS OPINION. 1. See Conner v. Harris, 624 So.2d 482 (Miss. 1993) and Gates v. Murphree, 286 So.2d 291 (Miss.1973), where we found a defendant negligent, as a matter of law, for failing to follow applicable traffic 2. See Stribling v. Hauerkamp......
  • Hoffman v. Planters Gin Co., Inc.
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
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    ...with all permissible inferences to be drawn therefrom. Paymaster Oil Mill Co. v. Mitchell, 319 So.2d 652 (Miss.1975); Gates v. Murphree, 286 So.2d 291 (Miss.1973); Dazet v. Bass, 254 So.2d 183 (Miss.1971). If such evidence could support a verdict for him, the peremptory instruction should n......
  • Webster v. Kennebrew
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • December 14, 1983
    ...discovery proceedings, a serious question is presented on whether contradictory testimony should have been permitted. See: Gates v. Murphree, 286 So.2d 291 (Miss.1973); Callender v. Cockrell, 217 So.2d 643 (Miss.1965); Bradshaw Even conceding the testimony was admissible with their explanat......
  • Walker v. Gann
    • United States
    • Mississippi Court of Appeals
    • May 1, 2007
    ...(emphasis added). ¶ 10. As support for her argument that the instruction should have been allowed, Walker points to Gates v. Murphree, 286 So.2d 291 (Miss.1973), where the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed a trial court's decision to give the jury an instruction telling it that the defenda......
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