Myers v. Vosmek, No. 52804

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtSTUART
PartiesRobert J. MYERS, Jr., a Minor, by Robert J. Myers, Sr., His Father and Next Friend, and Robert J. Myers, Sr., Individually, Appellants, v. Katherine P. VOSMEK, Appellee.
Decision Date09 April 1968
Docket NumberNo. 52804

Page 925

157 N.W.2d 925
261 Iowa 1324
Robert J. MYERS, Jr., a Minor, by Robert J. Myers, Sr., His Father and Next Friend, and Robert J. Myers, Sr., Individually, Appellants,
v.
Katherine P. VOSMEK, Appellee.
No. 52804.
Supreme Court of Iowa.
April 9, 1968.

[261 Iowa 1325] Joseph L. Phelan, Fort Madison, for appellants.

James W. Crawford, Cedar Rapids, for appellee.

STUART, Justice.

Five year old Robert J. Myers, Jr. was injured as he was crossing a residential street when struck by an automobile driven by Katherine Vosmek. An action was brought in two counts. In the first count his father, as his next friend, sought to recover damages for his personal injuries. In the second count Robert J. Myers, Sr., sued in his own name for medical expenses, loss of earnings and loss of society and services during minority. In the second count only medical expenses were submitted to the jury. No exceptions were taken. It was stipulated 'that the medical expenditures by the plaintiff, Robert J. Myers, Sr., as a result of the accident including doctor bills, hospital bills, etc. were in the amount of $904.15'.

In stating the issues under Count II, the trial court told the jury plaintiff claimed:

'That said Robert J. Myers, Jr., by reason of the aforesaid acts of the defendant was seriously crippled, requiring extensive hospitalization; because of which this plaintiff was required to and did spend substantial sums all to his damage in the amount of $5000.'

In Instruction No. 15, the jury was told it was not to allow damages for any items

Page 926

not established by a preponderance of the evidence. In Instruction No. 17 it was told in no event could the total amount awarded for medical expenses exceed $904.15, 'the maximum permissible under the evidence introduced'.

Defendant objected to the Statement of Issues 'for the reason that the figure of $5000 is set forth therein, and that the uncontradicted evidence in this case, introduced by the plaintiff and stipulated to by the defendant, amounted to $904.15, and that the plaintiff Robert J. Myers, Sr., if entitled to any award is entitled to no more than $904.15; and the inclusion of the figure of $5000 in Count II of the Statement of Issues is such [261 Iowa 1326] that it may very well prove confusing and misleading to the jury, and in an attempt to reconcile Instruction No. 17 with Count II of the issues may make an award in excess of the figure of $904.15; and the same constitutes prejudicial error to the defendant'.

The jury returned a verdict in Count I in favor of Robert J. Myers, Jr. for personal injuries in the amount of $4000. A verdict of $2000 for medical expenses was returned for Robert J. Myers, Sr. in Count II.

The trial court sustained defendant's motion for new trial on four grounds. (1) The verdict in Count II was contrary to law as the jury disregarded Instruction No. 17 which limited recovery to $904.15. (2) The jury from some cause failed to respond to the real merits of the controversy and properly do its duty. (3) The verdicts are contrary to the evidence. (4) The verdicts fail to administer substantial justice. He did not amplify his rulings. Plaintiffs appealed. We affirm.

I. The verdict in Count II was obviously contrary to the law. Instruction No. 17 limited the recovery to $904.15. The jury returned a verdict of $2000. Plaintiffs do not dispute this fact but take the position that the court should have ordered a remittitur...

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1 practice notes
  • Householder v. Town of Clayton, No. 56229
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • August 28, 1974
    ...of the issues, and seldom on the issue of damages only, except where liability of a defendant is definitely established. Myers v. Vosmek, 261 Iowa 1324, 1327, 157 N.W.2d 925, 926; Allbee v. Berry, 254 Iowa 712, 719, 119 N.W.2d 230, 234. Where it appears from the jury award there was a compr......
1 cases
  • Householder v. Town of Clayton, No. 56229
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • August 28, 1974
    ...of the issues, and seldom on the issue of damages only, except where liability of a defendant is definitely established. Myers v. Vosmek, 261 Iowa 1324, 1327, 157 N.W.2d 925, 926; Allbee v. Berry, 254 Iowa 712, 719, 119 N.W.2d 230, 234. Where it appears from the jury award there was a compr......

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