Newland v. Holland

Decision Date19 February 1981
Docket NumberNo. 78-1119,78-1119
Citation624 P.2d 933
PartiesDorris J. NEWLAND, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. B. P. HOLLAND, and the City and County of Denver, Defendants-Appellants, and Robert Dill, other John Does, Arthur Dill, Chief of Police of the Police Department of the City and County of Denver, State of Colorado, John Does 1-100, as unknown members of the Denver Sheriff's Department, Wayne K. Patterson, as Warden of the City Jail of the City and County of Denver, Dan Cronin, Manager of Safety and Excise and Ex-Officio Sheriff of the City and County of Denver, Defendants. . II
CourtColorado Court of Appeals

Marks & Olom, Jonathan L. Olom, Gerash & Robinson, P. C., Walter L. Gerash, Denver, for plaintiff-appellee.

Wood, Ris & Hames, P. C., Eugene S. Hames, Denver, for defendants-appellants.

PIERCE, Judge.

Plaintiff, Dorris J. Newland, brought this wrongful death action against defendant B. P. Holland and others for the death of her husband, Carl Newland (decedent). Holland and the City and County of Denver (defendants) appeal from the judgment entered upon a jury verdict in favor of plaintiff. We affirm.

While investigating a reported robbery on April 9, 1976, police officer Holland stopped and questioned decedent near the scene of the crime. Several other police officers arrived, and a verbal altercation ensued between decedent and the police officers. Eyewitnesses to the robbery told the officers that decedent was not the robber, but the confrontation continued with the result that decedent was arrested and handcuffed.

At trial, plaintiff's evidence showed that after decedent had been handcuffed, defendant Holland grabbed him by the neck and choked him, and that this choking was the proximate cause of decedent's death. Holland denied having choked decedent, contending that he had only pushed against decedent's upper chest area, and that such force was reasonably necessary to overcome decedent's resistance to arrest. Decedent died several days later from a stroke which was caused by a trauma to his neck.

The jury found that both decedent's and Holland's negligence were the proximate causes of decedent's death, and that 53% of the negligence was attributable to defendant Holland.

I.

Defendants contend that the trial court erred in permitting plaintiff to cross-examine Holland concerning a statement made by him that he had choked decedent. This statement was made to a polygraph examiner, and plaintiff introduced it at trial as a prior inconsistent statement. Although reference to the polygraph examination and the results thereof were omitted from the questioning, defendants assert that any cross-examination regarding these statements was prejudicial error since defendants' counsel did not attempt to rehabilitate Holland. He argues that effective redirect examination by his own attorney would have brought out the context in which the statements were made. We do not agree with this argument because defendant's counsel could have propounded his questioning so as to avoid reference to the polygraph examination. Defendant cannot assert that his own counsel's tactical decisions amount to reversible error.

II.

Defendants further contend that the trial court violated the doctrine of election of remedies by instructing the jury on the alternative theories of assault and battery and negligence. We disagree.

The doctrine of election of remedies precludes the pursuit of alternative remedies where the remedial rights sought necessarily repudiate each other. Robinson v. Armstrong, 90 Colo. 363, 9 P.2d 481 (1932); Thornburg v. Homestead Minerals, 32 Colo.App. 299, 513 P.2d 219 (1973). But, a party is not required to elect where the remedies he invokes are consistent. Carpenter v. Donohoe, 154 Colo. 78, 388 P.2d 399 (1964). And it is not the fact that the causes of action are different, but the inconsistency of the demands that makes the election of one remedial right an estoppel against the assertion of the other remedial right. Holscher v. Ferry, 131 Colo. 190, 280 P.2d 655 (1955).

Here, the remedy sought by plaintiff under both the assault and battery and negligence causes of action was damages. Thus, only one remedy is sought by plaintiff, and therefore, the...

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7 cases
  • Hoyal v. Pioneer Sand Co., Inc.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court
    • May 12, 2008
    ...health, earning ability, probable life expectancy, and disposition to aid the plaintiff, among other things. See id.; Newland v. Holland, 624 P.2d 933, 935 (Colo.App.1981). These factors are used in what can be broken down into the separate calculations of (1) funds likely available to the ......
  • Flagtwet v. Smith
    • United States
    • South Dakota Supreme Court
    • April 24, 1985
    ...439 (E.D.Pa.1972); Mize v. Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railway Company, 46 Cal.App.3d 436, 120 Cal.Rptr. 787 (1975); Newland v. Holland, 624 P.2d 933 (Colo.App.1981); Kraus v. Ford Motor Co., 55 A.D.2d 851, 390 N.Y.S.2d 495 (1976); Borak v. Bridge, 524 S.W.2d 773 (Tex.Civ.App.1975).6 Beldi......
  • Trimble v. City and County of Denver
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals
    • October 22, 1981
    ...131 Colo. 190, 280 P.2d 655 (1955). However, to allow the innocent party to do both would be to allow double recovery. Newland v. Holland, Colo.App., 624 P.2d 933 (1981). On defendant's breach, Trimble could have elected to rescind the contract and would have then been relieved of his promi......
  • Andrews v. Harley Davidson, Inc.
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court
    • August 21, 1990
    ...intoxication, and a party "cannot assert that his own counsel's tactical decisions amount to reversible error." Newland v. Holland, 624 P.2d 933, 935 (Colo.Ct.App.1981). If there is any error in this case, it was invited by Andrews. I would leave undisturbed the jury's 1 Andrews had first a......
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2 books & journal articles
  • Rule 8 GENERAL RULES OF PLEADING.
    • United States
    • Colorado Bar Association Colorado Rules of Civil and Appellate Procedure (CBA)
    • Invalid date
    ...remedies precludes pursuit of alternative remedies where the remedial rights sought necessarily repudiate each other. Newland v. Holland, 624 P.2d 933 (Colo. App. 1981). Party is not required to make election of remedies where the remedies he invokes are consistent. Newland v. Holland, 624 ......
  • Calculating Net Pecuniary Loss Under Colorado Wrongful Death Law
    • United States
    • Colorado Bar Association Colorado Lawyer No. 24-6, June 1995
    • Invalid date
    ...of wrongful death damages awarded should take into account decedent's devotion to and past support of his family); Newland v. Holland, 624 P.2d 933, 935 (Colo.App. 1981) (evidence that decedent and surviving spouse were separated at time of decedent's death may be admissible to prove nature......

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