Murphy v. Kroger Grocery & Baking Co., No. 38280.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtVan Osdol
Citation171 S.W.2d 610
PartiesDR. COURTNEY J. MURPHY, Respondent, v. KROGER GROCERY & BAKING COMPANY et al., Appellants.
Docket NumberNo. 38280.
Decision Date06 April 1943
171 S.W.2d 610
DR. COURTNEY J. MURPHY, Respondent,
v.
KROGER GROCERY & BAKING COMPANY et al., Appellants.
No. 38280.
Supreme Court of Missouri.
Division One, April 6, 1943.
Rehearing Denied, May 4, 1943.

[171 S.W.2d 611]

Appeal from Circuit Court of City of St. Louis.Hon. W.L. Mason, Judge.

AFFIRMED.

Wayne Ely for appellants.

(1) By specifying the ground on which plaintiff's motion for a new trial was sustained, the court in effect overruled said motion on all other grounds. Marr v. Marr, 342 Mo. 656, 117 S.W. (2d) 230; Sakowski v. Baird, 334 Mo. 951, 69 S.W. (2d) 649. (2) Whether an award of damages is inadequate is a legal question, addressed to the legal discretion of the court to be exercised in conformity with the spirit of the law, and not an arbitrary discretion. It does not confer upon the court the power to substitute the will of the judge nor permit the judge to usurp the functions of the jury. Edwards v. Mo. Pac. Ry. Co., 82 Mo. App. l.c. 486; State v. Camren, 41 S.W. (2d) 902; Sofian v. Douglas, 324 Mo. 258, 23 S.W. (2d) 126; Guthrie v. Gillespie, 319 Mo. 1137, 6 S.W. (2d) 886; Walthall v. St. Louis Pub. Serv. Co., 66 S.W. (2d) 177; Lonergan v. Love, 150 S.W. (2d) 534; Flynn v. Corisch, 53 S.W. (2d) 1103; Moss v. May Department Stores, 31 S.W. (2d) 566; Kelley v. Peeples, 182 S.W. 809; Castorina v. Hermann, 104 S.W. (2d) 297; Herbert v. Hawley, 32 S.W. (2d) 1095; Faber v. Bruner, 13 Mo. 541; McGurty v. Delaware, L. & W.R. Co., 158 N.Y.S. 285, 172 App. Div. 46; People ex rel. Stumpf v. Craig, 140 N.Y.S. 652, 79 Misc. 98; Scott v. Marley, 124 Tenn. 388, 137 S.W. 492; Kidd v. Commonwealth, 74 S.W. (2d) 944, 255 Ky. 498; Conway v. Minn. Mut. Life Ins. Co., 62 Wash. 49, 112 Pac. 1106, 40 L.R.A. (N.S.) 148; Osborn v. United States Bank, 22 U.S. 738, 6 L. Ed. 204; Tripp v. Cook, 26 Wend. 143; Carothers v. Giles County, 162 Tenn. 492, 39 S.W. (2d) 584; Cohen v. Richardson, 259 N.Y.S. 63, 144 Misc. 96; Phillips v. Lyon, 109 Cal. App. 261, 292 Pac. 711; Abramson v. Leo, 269 N.Y.S. 814, 240 App. Div. 343; Simms v. Chambers, 105 W. Va. 171, 141 S.W. 788; Somerset Realty Co. v. Shapiro, 51 R.I. 417, 155 Atl. 360; Alpern v. Lasser, 247 N.Y.S. 806, 139 Misc. 68; Webb v. Los Angeles Ry. Corp., 134 Cal. 637, 26 Pac. (2d) 26; Dudas v. Ward Baking Co., 104 Conn. 516, 133 Atl. 591; Priess v. Public Serv. Coordinated Transport Co., 11 N.J. Misc. 426, 166 Atl. 638; Agee v. Nelson, 21 Ala. App. 545, 109 So. 895; Rawle v. McIlhenny, 163 Va. 735, 177 S.E. 214, 98 A.L.R. 930; Wright v. Engelbert, 193 Minn. 509, 259 N.W. 75; Alabama Fuel & Iron Co. v. Andrews, 215 Ala. 92, 109 So. 750; Koontz v. Whitney, 109 W. Va. 114, 153 S.E. 797; Home Furniture Co. v. Hawkins, 84 S.W. (2d) 830; Hasty v. Nowell, 129 Me. 496, 151 Atl. 429; Gascone v. Hendrickson, 8 N.J. Misc. 229, 149 Atl. 337; City of Ozark v. Byrd, 225 Ala. 332, 143 So. 168; Motor Transport Co. v. Driver, 120 Fla. 293, 162 So. 883; Peek v. Arnett, 233 Ky. 756, 26 S.W. (2d) 1035; Canfield v. Sheketoff, 104 Conn. 28, 132 Atl. 401; Gustin v. Assov, 129 Me. 494, 151 Atl. 443; Ashley v. Safeway Stores, 100 Mont. 312, 47 Pac. (2d) 53; Woods v. Greenblatt, 163 Wash. 433, 1 Pac. (2d) 880; Degheri v. Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 204 N.Y.S. 303, 136 Misc. 600; Sykes v. Brown, 156 Va. 881, 159 S.E. 202; Hemelreich v. Carlos, 24 Mo. App. 264; Morris v. Mo. Pac. Ry. Co., 136 Mo. App. 393, 117 S.W. 687; Heeter v. Boorum & Pease Loose Leaf Book Co., 237 S.W. 902; Jacobs v. Frank Adams Electric Co., 97 S.W. (2d) 849; Goetz v. Ambs, 27 Mo. 28; Kennedy v. Mo. Pac. Ry. Co., 36 Mo. 351; Merrill v. St. Louis, 12 Mo. App. 466. (3) It is the exclusive province of the jury to determine the amount of damages allowable for personal injuries, and where there is nothing to indicate that the jury has abused its discretion a new trial will not be awarded for inadequacy of the verdict of the jury. Hoover v. St. Louis Electric Term. Ry. Co., 227 S.W. 77; State v. Parsons, 2 S.W. (2d) 785; Porter v. C., B. & Q.R. Co., 325 Mo. 381, 28 S.W. (2d) 1035; Brennecke v. Ganahl Lbr. Co., 329 Mo. 341, 44 S.W. (2d) 627; State ex rel. v. Deuser, 134 S.W. (2d) 132; Jochens v. Neville, 22 S.W. (2d) 887; Bertram v. Peoples Ry. Co., 55 S.W. 1040; Barree v. Cape Girardeau, 112 S.W. 724; Maloney v. United Rys. Co. of St. Louis, 237 S.W. 509; 17 C.J. 1058, sec. 361; 5 C.J.S., p. 537, sec. 1637; Edwards v. Mo. Pac. Ry. Co., 82 Mo. App. 478; Broughton v. S.S. Kresge Co., 26 S.W. (2d) 838; Cochran v. Wilson, 287 Mo. 210, 229 S.W. 1050; Pritchard v. Hewitt, 91 Mo. l.c. 540, 4 S.W. 437, 60 Am. St. Rep. 265; Fischer v. St. Louis, 189 Mo. 567, 88 S.W. 82, 107 Am. St. Rep. 380; State v. Camren, 41 S.W. (2d) 902; Sofian v. Douglas, 324 Mo. 258, 23 S.W. (2d) 126; Guthrie v. Gillespie, 319 Mo. 1137, 6 S.W. (2d) 886; Walthall v. St. Louis Pub. Serv. Co., 66 S.W. (2d) 177; Lonergan v. Love, 150 S.W. (2d) 534; Flynn v. Corisch, 53 S.W. (2d) 1103; Moss v. May Department Stores, 31 S.W. (2d) 566; Kelley v. Peeples, 182 S.W. 809; Abramson v. Leo, 269 N.Y.S. 814, 240 App. Div. 343; Simms v. Chambers, 105 W. Va. 171, 141 S.W. 788; Somerset Realty Co. v. Shapiro, 51 R.I. 417, 155 Atl. 360; Alpern v. Lasser, 247 N.Y.S. 806, 139 Misc. 68; Webb v. Los Angeles Ry. Corp., 134 Cal. 637, 26 Pac. (2d) 26; Dudas v. Ward Baking Co., 104 Conn. 516, 133 Atl. 591; Priess v. Public Serv. Coordinated Transport Co., 11 N.J., Misc. 426, 166 Atl. 638; Agee v. Nelson, 21 Ala. App. 545, 109 So. 895; Rawle v. McIlhenny, 163 Va. 735, 177 S.E. 214, 98 A.L.R. 930; Wright v. Engelbert, 193 Minn. 509, 259 N.W. 75; Alabama Fuel & Iron Co. v. Andrews, 215 Ala. 92, 109 So. 750; Koontz v. Whitney, 109 W. Va. 114, 153 S.E. 797; Home Furniture Co. v. Hawkins, 84 S.W. (2d) 830; Hasty v. Nowell, 129 Me. 496, 151 Atl. 429; Gascone v. Hendrickson, 8 N.J. Misc. 229, 149 Atl. 337; City of Ozark v. Byrd, 225 Ala. 332, 143 So. 168; Motor Transport Co. v. Driver, 120 Fla. 293, 162 So. 883; Peek v. Arnett, 233 Ky. 756, 26 S.W. (2d) 1035; Canfield v. Sheketoff, 104 Conn. 28, 132 App. 401; Gustin v. Assov, 129 Me. 494, 151 Atl. 443; Ashley v. Safeway Stores, 100 Mont. 312, 47 Pac. (2d) 53; Woods v. Greenblatt, 163 Wash. 433, 1 Pac. (2d) 880; Degheri v. Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 204 N.Y.S. 304, 136 Misc. 600; Sykes v. Brown, 156 Va. 881, 159 S.E. 202; Dowd v. Westinghouse Air Brake Co., 132 Mo. 579, 34 S.W. 493; Hemelreich v. Carlos, 24 Mo. App. 264; Morris v. Mo. Pac. Ry. Co., 136 Mo. App. 393, 117 S.W. 687; Heeter v. Boorum & Pease Loose Leaf Book Co., 237 S.W. 902; Jacobs v. Frank Adam Electric Co., 97 S.W. (2d) 849. (4) The existence of disease or injury, and the causes thereof, are medical questions which the courts may not pass upon. Mutual Life Ins. Co. of New York v. Still, 78 Fed. (2d) 748; Thomasson v. Hethcock, 7 Cal. App. 634, 46 Pac. (2d) 832. (5) The plaintiff is absolutely bound by the uncontradicted testimony of his own witnesses. Klotsch v. P.F. Collier & Son Corp., 159 S.W. (2d) 589; Rucker v. Alton R. Co., 343 Mo. 929, 123 S.W. (2d) 24; Draper v. L. & N.R.R. Co., 156 S.W. (2d) 626; State ex rel. v. Central Surety & Ins. Co., 232 Mo. App. 748, 122 S.W. (2d) 607; Schrorer v. Brooks, 204 Mo. App. 567, 224 S.W. 53; Semple v. United Rys. Co. of St. Louis, 152 Mo. App. 18, 133 S.W. 114; Walsh v. Southwestern Bell Tel. Co., 52 S.W. (2d) 839. (6) After verdict the evidence should be viewed in the light most favorable to the prevailing party, and parties should not be required to try an issue the second time where there was no error in the first trial. Cluck v. Abe, 40 S.W. (2d) 558; Eckner v. Western Hair & Beauty Supply Co., 162 S.W. (2d) 621; Hoelzel v. Chicago, R.I. & P. Ry. Co., 85 S.W. 126; Semple v. United Rys. Co. of St. Louis, 133 S.W. 115; King v. Mann, 286 S.W. 100; Hemelreich v. Carlos, 24 Mo. App. 264; King v. Kansas City Life Ins. Co., 164 S.W. (2d) 458.

John C. Casey and Roberts P. Elam for respondent.

(1) Granting a new trial upon the ground assigned is the equivalent of saying that the verdict is against the weight of the evidence. St. Louis v. Franklin, 26 S.W. (2d) 954; Hunt v. Gus Gillerman Iron & Metal Co., 327 Mo. 887, 39 S.W. (2d) 369; Stegner v. M.-K.-T.R. Co., 333 Mo. 1182, 64 S.W. (2d) 691. (2) The trial court had the right, in the exercise of its discretion, to grant a new trial upon the ground that the verdict was inadequate — i.e., against the weight of the evidence — and cannot be said to have abused its discretion if there was any substantial evidence to support its action. State ex rel. Atchison, T. & S.F.R. Co., 268 Mo. 225, 186 S.W. 1075; Guthrie v. Gillespie, 319 Mo. 1137, 6 S.W. (2d) 886; Hunt v. Gus Gillerman Iron & Metal Co., 327 Mo. 887, 39 S.W. (2d) 369; Haven v. Missouri R. Co., 155 Mo. 216, 55 S.W. 1035; McCarty v. St. Louis Transit Co., 192 Mo. 396, 91 S.W. 132; St. Louis v. Franklin, 26 S.W. (2d) 954; Sofian v. Douglas, 324 Mo. 258, 23 S.W. (2d) 126; Lilley v. Eberhardt, 37 S.W. (2d) 599; Herschel v. Orpheum Theatre Co., 330 Mo. 481, 48 S.W. (2d) 102; Stegner v. M.-K.-T.R. Co., 333 Mo. 1182, 64 S.W. (2d) 691. (3) There was ample substantial evidence to support a verdict larger than $1,000, and, therefore, to support the action of the trial court in sustaining plaintiff's motion for a new trial. Authorities cited under points (1) and (2), supra. (4) There was no ruling by the trial court inconsistent with its actual ruling that the verdict was inadequate — i.e., against the weight of the evidence. The mere rebuttable presumption by which it is said that, where a motion for a new trial is sustained upon a specified ground or assignment, the other assignments of the motion are in effect overruled, cannot arise to create an inconsistency in the trial court's ruling. Authorities cited under point (1), supra; Yuronis v. Wells, 322 Mo. 1039, 17 S.W. (2d) 518; Smith v. Kansas City Pub. Serv. Co., 328 Mo. 979, 43 S.W. (2d) 548; Taylor v. Cleveland, C.C. & St. L.R. Co., 333 Mo. 650, 63 S.W. (2d) 69.

VAN OSDOL, C.


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15 practice notes
  • Kirst v. Clarkson Const. Co., No. 8467
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • October 12, 1965
    ...Airmotive, 358 Mo. 1121, 1128, 219 S.W.2d 333, 335(2), 8 A.L.R.2d 710; Murphy v. Kroger Grocery & Baking Co., 350 Mo. 1186, 1191, 171 S.W.2d 610, 2 Dial v. Seven-Up Bottling Co., Mo., 373 S.W.2d 53, 57(6); White v. St. Louis Public Service Co., 364 Mo. 111, 116, 259 S.W.2d 795, 798(2); Eile......
  • Bailey v. Interstate Airmotive, Inc., No. 40851.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • March 14, 1949
    ...in paragraph 26. King v. Kansas City Life Ins. Co., 350 Mo. 75, 164 S.W. 2d 458; Murphy v. Kroger Grocery & Baking Co., 350 Mo. 1186, 171 S.W. 2d 610. Defendants-respondents urge the trial court acted within its sound discretion in granting the new trial on the specified grounds; but defend......
  • Steuernagel v. St. Louis Public Service Co., No. 41628
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 12, 1951
    ...a new trial on the ground that the verdict is against the weight of the evidence. Murphy v. Kroger Grocery & Baking Co., 350 Mo. 1186, 171 S.W.2d 610, 611; Sofian v. Douglas, 324 Mo. 258, 23 S.W.2d 126, 129; Coats v. News Corporation, 355 Mo. 778, 197 S.W.2d 958; Lang v. St. Louis Public Se......
  • Baker v. Brown's Estate, No. 45119
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • September 10, 1956
    ...Steuernagel v. St. Louis Public Service Co., 361 Mo. 1066, 238 S.W.2d 426, 431; Murphy v. Kroger Grocery & Baking Co., 350 Mo. 1186, 171 S.W.2d 610, 613[8, Upon appeal from the overruling of plaintiff's motion for new trial on the ground that the verdict of the jury was wholly inadequate, t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
15 cases
  • Kirst v. Clarkson Const. Co., No. 8467
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • October 12, 1965
    ...Airmotive, 358 Mo. 1121, 1128, 219 S.W.2d 333, 335(2), 8 A.L.R.2d 710; Murphy v. Kroger Grocery & Baking Co., 350 Mo. 1186, 1191, 171 S.W.2d 610, 2 Dial v. Seven-Up Bottling Co., Mo., 373 S.W.2d 53, 57(6); White v. St. Louis Public Service Co., 364 Mo. 111, 116, 259 S.W.2d 795, 798(2); Eile......
  • Bailey v. Interstate Airmotive, Inc., No. 40851.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • March 14, 1949
    ...in paragraph 26. King v. Kansas City Life Ins. Co., 350 Mo. 75, 164 S.W. 2d 458; Murphy v. Kroger Grocery & Baking Co., 350 Mo. 1186, 171 S.W. 2d 610. Defendants-respondents urge the trial court acted within its sound discretion in granting the new trial on the specified grounds; but defend......
  • Steuernagel v. St. Louis Public Service Co., No. 41628
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 12, 1951
    ...a new trial on the ground that the verdict is against the weight of the evidence. Murphy v. Kroger Grocery & Baking Co., 350 Mo. 1186, 171 S.W.2d 610, 611; Sofian v. Douglas, 324 Mo. 258, 23 S.W.2d 126, 129; Coats v. News Corporation, 355 Mo. 778, 197 S.W.2d 958; Lang v. St. Louis Public Se......
  • Baker v. Brown's Estate, No. 45119
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • September 10, 1956
    ...Steuernagel v. St. Louis Public Service Co., 361 Mo. 1066, 238 S.W.2d 426, 431; Murphy v. Kroger Grocery & Baking Co., 350 Mo. 1186, 171 S.W.2d 610, 613[8, Upon appeal from the overruling of plaintiff's motion for new trial on the ground that the verdict of the jury was wholly inadequate, t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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