Kramer Service, Inc. v. Wilkins

Decision Date20 February 1939
Docket Number33532
Citation186 So. 625,184 Miss. 483
CourtMississippi Supreme Court
PartiesKRAMER SERVICE, INC., v. WILKINS

APPEAL from the circuit court of Pike county HON. J. F. GUYNES Judge.

Personal injury action by T. B. Wilkins against Kramer Service Incorporated. Judgment for plaintiff, and defendant appeals. Affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part.

Affirmed as to liability; reversed and remanded on issue of amount of the damages.

Price &amp McLain and R. B. Reeves, all of McComb, and Green, Green &amp Jackson and Watkins & Eager, all of Jackson, for appellant.

The court committed reversible error in admitting the testimony of T. B. Wilkins and D. P. Clokey as to alleged statements made by Fred Allen after accident.

Crosby v. C. & G. R. Co., 181 So. 139; Woods v. Franklin, 151 Miss. 635, 118 So. 450; Tuccio v. Smith, 151 Miss. 393, 118 So. 195; V. & M. R. R. Co. v. McGowan, 62 Miss. 682; Deposit Guaranty Bank & Trust Co. v. Silver Saver Stores, Inc., 148 So. 367, 166 Miss. 882; Miss. Cent. R. Co. v. Pillows, 101 Miss. 527, 58 So. 483; G. M. & N. R. Co. v. Hudson, 170 So. 369, 142 Miss. 542.

The court committed error in refusing the appellant 's request for a peremptory instruction.

(a) No proof of notice upon the part of the appellant of the alleged defective transom.

Restatement of Law of Torts, 932, sec. 342; Hope v. R. R. Co., 98 Miss. 822, 54 So. 369; Gulfport Creosoting Co. v. White, 171 Miss. 127, 157 So. 86; City of Tupelo v. Payne, 176 Miss. 245, 168 So. 283.

(b) Such condition as existed in Room 50 was obvious to the appellee.

Restatement of Law of Torts, page 927, sec. 340, and page 929, sec. 341; Miss. P. & L. Co. v. Griffin, 81 F.2d 292; Wilbourn v. Charleston Cooperage Co., 90 So. 9, 127 Miss. 290; Bennett v. L. & N. R. R. Co., 102 U.S. 577, 28 L.Ed. 235.

(c) The accident was one which the appellant was not required as a reasonably prudent person to anticipate.

Williams v. Lumpkin, 169 Miss. 146, 142 So. 842; D'Antoni v. Albritton, 126 So. 836, 156 Miss. 78; Burnside v. Gulf Ref. Co., 166 Miss. 460, 148 So. 219; I. C. R. R. Co. v. Bloodworth, 145 So. 333, 166 Miss. 692; Jabron v. State, 159 So. 406, 172: Miss. 135; C. & G. R. Co. v. Coleman, 160 So. 271, 172 Miss. 514; Shuptrine v. Herron, 180 So. 620; N. O. & N.E. Co. v. McEwen & Murray, 49 La. Ann., 1184, 22 So. 675, 38 L.R.A. 134.

The burden of proof rested upon the appellee, plaintiff in the court below, to prove as a reasonably certain probability by a preponderance of the evidence that the skin cancer from which he suffered at the time of the trial was proximately caused by the wound on his temple of January 15, 1935.

Molyneux v. Canal Co., 35 P.2d 651, 94 A.L.R. 1264; Winn v. John Hancock Mutual Life Ins. Co., 250 N.W. 459, 216 Iowa, 1249; Florman v. Patzer, 24 P.2d 228; Pitre v. Guidry, 147 So. 767; Symington v. Graham, 169 A. 316; Refrigerating Equipment Co. v. Finch, 242 N.W. 217; Sajatovich v. Traction Bus Co., 172 A. 148; Kress & Co. v. Sharp, 156 Miss. 693, 126 So. 650; Y. & M. V. R. R. Co. v. Boone, 111 Miss. 881, 72 So. 777; Grant v. N. O. R. R. & Light Co., 56 So. 897; Teche Lines, Inc. v. Bounds, 179 So. 747; Y. & M. V. R. R. Co. v. Lamensdorff, 178 So. 80; C. & G. Ry. v. Coleman, 117 Miss. 514, 160 So. 277; Williams v. Lumpkin, 152 So. 842, 169 Miss. 146; Tyson v. Utterback, 122 So. 496, 154 Miss. 381; N. O. & N.E. R. R. Co. v. Holsomback, 151 So. 720, 168 Miss. 493; I. C. R. R. Co. v. Cathey, 70 Miss. 332; Berryhill v. Nichols, 158 So. 470, 171 Miss. 769; Schapiro v. Wannamaker, 189 N.Y.S. 343; Ortner v. Carburetor Co., 175 N.W. 122; Bates v. Carroll, 122 A. 562.

Even if liability existed on the part of the appellant in this case, a verdict of twenty thousand dollars was so excessive and out of all reason as to indicate such passion and prejudice, especially in view of other errors committed in the case, as should require a new trial.

Y. & M. V. R. R. Co. v. Lane, 40 So. 959; Y. & M. V. R. Co. v. Mothershed, 85 So. 98, 122 Miss. 835; Miss. Cent. R. R. Co. v. Smith, 154 So. 533, 159 So. 562, 173 Miss. 507; Sivley v. Sivley, 51 So. 457, 96 Miss. 137; Scott-Burr Stores v. Edgar, 165 So. 623; Kimmie v. Terminal, etc., Assn., 66 S.W.2d 561.

The court committed error in failing and refusing to grant the appellant Instruction No. 7, marked refused by the court, because the appellee did not establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the injuries complained of resulted in producing the skin cancer on appellee's temple.

Under the authority of Teche Lines, Inc. v. Bounds, 179 So. 747; Masonite Corp. v. Hill, 154 So. 295, 170 Miss. 158, 95 A.L.R. 157; Sovereign Camp Woodmen of the World v. Sloan, 101 So. 195, 136 Miss. 549; Tolfree v. Wetzler, 25 F.2d 553, 73 L.Ed. 747; Cudahy v. Baskin, 155 So. 217, 170 Miss. 834; U.S. F. & G. Co. v. Rochester, 281 S.W. 306, 283 S.W. 135; Tucker v. Gurley, 175 So. 279, 179 Miss. 412; Gully v. Lumberman's Mutual Casualty Co., 168 So. 609, we now submit that furthermore, all that has been said in all of the briefs in this case and all that can be said in arguing this record lead to the inescapable conclusion that the plaintiff-appellee has been permitted to go to the jury with instructions as to the law, resulting in the jury returning a verdict based upon at most testimony that is contrary to present known medical fact and law.

Gurley v. Missouri Pacific Ry. Co., 104 Mo. 211, 168 S.W. 11; Hunter v. Railway Co., 23 N.E. 9; Davidson v. St. Louis, etc., R. R., 148 S.W. 406, 164 Mo. 701; Sexton v. Metropolitan Ry. Co., 149 S.W. 21, 245 Mo. 254; St. L. & S.W. Ry. Co. v. Eldenwood, 123 Ark. 428, 185 S.W. 768; Radziemenski v. B. & O. R. R. Co., 283 Pa. 182, 128 A. 735; Szpyrka v. International Ry. Co., 210 N.Y.S. 553, 213 A.D. 390; B. & O. R. R. Co. v. O'Neill, 186 F. 13, 108 C. C. A. 115; Y. & M. V. R. R. Co. v. Lamensdorff, 180 Miss. 426, 178 So. 80; Y. & M. V. R. R. Co. v. Skaggs, 179 So. 274.

Under all of these authorities the principle is definitely established that even though a cloud of witnesses may testify to a thing as being a fact, yet if such testimony is contrary to known natural, physical or medical law, and fact, the court will disregard entirely all of said testimony, and the testimony will not be sufficient to support a verdict, even though a jury may return the same, based upon said false testimony.

W. Calvin Wells, of Jackson, A. A. Cohn and J. W. Cassedy, both of Brookhaven, and Mounger & Watts and Gordon Roach, all of McComb, for appellee.

We submit that the court did not commit reversible error in admitting the testimony of T. B. Wilkins and D. P. Clokey as to the statement made by Fred Allen after the accident.

Y. & M. V. R. R. Co. v. Jones, 73 Miss. 229; M. & O. R. R. Co. v. Stinson, 74 Miss. 453; I. C. R. R. Co. v. Tronstine, 64 Miss. 834; Mayes v. State, 64 Miss. 329; Ward v. Y. & M. V. R. R. Co., 79 Miss. 145.

We submit that the fact of the defective condition of the glass in the transom, which afterward fell on the plaintiff, was established by the undisputed testimony of Clokey, and that, too, a defective condition sufficiently long before the injury to render it absolute negligence for the defendant not to have corrected said dangerous condition before the injury to plaintiff occurred. That being established by the undisputed testimony of Clokey we submit that evidence of the knowledge of said defective condition by the manager of the hotel, Allen, could be proved by the admissions of Allen himself. In other words, even though the court might hold that the liability of the defendant could not be established as to the defective condition of the transom, by the admissions of Allen, and even though it might be held that such admissions were not a part of the res gestae, such admissions would be admissible to prove knowledge on behalf of Allen.

Scott-Burr Stores Corp. v. Edgar, 177 So. 766; Yazoo City, v. Loggins, 110 So. 833.

The existence or absence of knowledge may be shown by declarations of the person whose knowledge is of importance, even though such declarations were made a considerable time before or after the time involved in the inquiry, provided there is not such an element of remoteness as destroyed materiality.

22 C J., sec. 302 (9); Philadelphia, etc., R. Co. v. Stimpson, 14 Pet. 448, 10 L.Ed. 535; Weiss v. Haight, etc., Co., 148 F. 399; McKnight v. U.S. 130 F. 659, 65 C. C. A. 37; Salvens v. Northern Pac. R. Co., 97 F. 255, 38 C. C. A. 151; Gibbs v. Johnson, 10 Fed. Cas. No. 5384; Tobin v. Walkinshaw, 23 Fed. Cas. No. 14070, McAll. 186; Carter v. Fulgham, 134 Ala. 238, 32 So. 684; Jones v. State, 103 Ala. 1, 15 So. 891; Louisville, etc., R. Co. v. Mothershed, 97 Ala. 261, 12 So. 714; Bell v. Troy, 35 Ala. 184; Elledge v. National City, etc., R. Co., 100 Cal. 282, 34 P. 720, 38 A. S. R. 290; Jordan v. Patterson, 67 Conn. 473, 35 A. 521; Sanders v. State, 113 Ga. 267, 38 S.E. 841; Jones v. State, 63 Ga. 395; Tumlin v. Crawford, 61 Ga. 128; McLeod v. Ginther, 80 Ky. 399; Robinson v. Sweet, 3 Me. 316; Roberts v. Spencer, 123 Mass. 397; Com. v. Roberts, 108 Mass. 296; Seyfer v. Otoe County, 66 Neb. 566, 92 N.W. 756; Swift v. Mass. Mutual Life Ins. Co., 63 N.Y. 186, 20 Am. Rep. 522; Chapman v. Erie R. Co., 55 N.Y. 579; Merrill v. Grinnell, 30 N.Y. 594; Lake Shore, etc., Southern R. Co. v. Erie County, 2 N.Y. St. 317; Baird v. Howard, 51 Ohio St. 57, 36 N.E. 732, 46 Am. St. Rep. 550, 22 L.R.A. 846; Corbett v. State, 5 Ohio Cir. Ct. 155, 3 Ohio Cir. Dec. 79; Kreiter v. Bomberger, 82 Pa. 59, 22 Am. Rep. 750; Maxwell v. Hill, 89 Tenn. 584, 15 S.W. 253; Memphis Cotton Oil Co. v. Goode, 171 S.W. 284; Rodriguez v. Espinosa, 25 S.W. 669; Cortez v. State, 43 Tex.Crim. 375, 66 S.W. 453; Clay v. State, 40 Tex. Cr. 556, 51 S.W. 212; State v....

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