119 S.W.2d 797
BENJAMIN PHILIBERT, Appellant,
BENJAMIN ANSEHL COMPANY, a Corporation.
Supreme Court of Missouri.
Division One, September 17, 1938.*
[119 S.W.2d 798]
Appeal from Circuit Court of City of St. Louis. — Hon. Arthur H. Bader, Judge.
REVERSED AND REMANDED IN CASE OF REMITTITUR OF $3833 WITH DIRECTIONS SETTING ASIDE THE ORDER GRANTING A NEW TRIAL AND REINSTATE THE VERDICT AND ENTER A JUDGMENT FOR $16,000. OTHERWISE REVERSED AND REMANDED FOR A NEW TRIAL BECAUSE OF EXCESSIVE VERDICT.
Lashly, Lashly & Miller for appellant.
(1) Where (as here) the trial court specifies the ground upon which a motion for a new trial is sustained, this is considered, in legal effect, as overruling all other grounds assigned in the motion for a new trial. Porter v. C., B. & Q. Ry. Co., 325 Mo. 381, 28 S.W. (2d) 1035; Smith v. K.C. Pub. Serv. Co., 328 Mo. 979, 43 S.W. (2d) 548; Tabler v. Perry, 337 Mo. 154, 85 S.W. (2d) 471; Neal v. 12th & Grand Ave. Bldg. Co., 228 Mo. App. 536, 70 S.W. (2d) 136. (2) In determining whether plaintiff-appellant made a case for the jury all the evidence adduced in the cause must be considered. The question of whether a case should or should not have been submitted to a jury is to be determined by a consideration of all the evidence adduced in the cause, including defendant-respondent's evidence, where (as here) defendant-respondent did not stand upon its demurrer to the evidence at the close of plaintiff-appellant's case in chief. Smith v. K.C. Pub. Serv. Co., 328 Mo. 979, 43 S.W. (2d) 548; Neal v. Caldwell, 326 Mo. 1146, 34 S.W. (2d) 104; Perles & Stone, Inc., v. Childs Co., 337 Mo. 448, 84 S.W. (2d) 1052; Downing v. Loose-Wiles Biscuit Co., 320 Mo. 819, 8 S.W. (2d) 884; Lorton v. Mo. Pac. Ry. Co., 306 Mo. 125, 267 S.W. 385. (3) A question of law as distinguished from discretion is invoked on this appeal. Whether or not defendant-respondent's requested instruction in the nature of a demurrer to the evidence, interposed at the close of plaintiff-appellant's case and at the close of the whole case, should have been granted invokes a question of law. Smith v. K.C. Pub. Serv. Co., 328 Mo. 979, 43 S.W. (2d) 548; Grange v. Chicago & E.I. Ry. Co., 334 Mo. 1040, 69 S.W. (2d) 955; Hardin v. Ill. Cent. Ry. Co., 334 Mo. 1169, 70 S.W. (2d) 1075. (4) Evidence to be viewed in the light most favorable to plaintiff-appellant. In determining whether the case should have been submitted to a jury or whether there was a submissible case, the rule is well-settled to the effect that the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to plaintiff-appellant and that plaintiff-appellant is entitled to the benefit of the most favorable reasonable inferences which can be drawn therefrom. Stith v. Newberry Co., 336 Mo. 467, 79 S.W. (2d) 447; Mayfield v. K.C. Southern, 337 Mo. 79, 85 S.W. (2d) 116; Hein v. Peabody Coal Co., 337 Mo. 626, 85 S.W. (2d) 604; Smith v. K.C. Pub. Serv. Co., 328 Mo. 979, 43 S.W. (2d) 548; Bird v. St. L.-S.F. Ry. Co., 336 Mo. 316, 78 S.W. (2d) 389. (5) Defendant-respondent's evidence disregarded except as it aids plaintiff-appellant's case. Evidence adduced by the demurrant must be disregarded as untrue, except in so far as the demurrant's evidence tends to aid the plaintiff's case. Clark v. Atchison & Eastern Bridge Co., 324 Mo. 544, 24 S.W. (2d) 143; Young v. Wheelock, 333 Mo. 492, 64 S.W. (2d) 950; Mattingly v. Broderick, 225 Mo. App. 377, 36 S.W. (2d) 415; Yerger v. Smith, 338 Mo. 140, 89 S.W. (2d) 66. (6) Plaintiff-appellant's evidence must be taken as true. On defendant-respondent's instruction, at the close of the whole case, plaintiff-appellant's evidence must be considered as true. Beebe v. Kansas City, 327 Mo. 67, 34 S.W. (2d) 57; Berlan v. Met. Life Ins. Co., 224 Mo. App. 938, 24 S.W. (2d) 686; McCain v. Trenton G. & E. Co., 222 Mo. App. 1146, 15 S.W. (2d) 970. (7) Instruction in nature of demurrer to evidence should be refused where there is any substantial evidence supporting demurree's action. A demurrer to the evidence should not be sustained where there is any substantial evidence in the record sustaining plaintiff-appellant's action. Goucan v. Atlas Portland Cement Co., 317 Mo. 919, 298 S.W. 789; Burton v. Holman, 288 Mo. 70, 231 S.W. 630; Cooke v. Reserve Realty & Inv. Co., 25 S.W. (2d) 562. (8) Because where (as here) the evidence shows that plaintiff goes upon the premises of an owner or occupant for the purpose of installing a switchboard, electrical apparatus, or plumbing, pursuant to a request for such installation made by the owner or occupant upon plaintiff's employer, the plaintiff is an "invitee." Stein v. Battenfeld Oil & Grease Co., 327 Mo. 804, 39 S.W. (2d) 345; Simmons v. K.C. Jockey Club, 334 Mo. 99, 66 S.W. (2d) 119; Graham v. Brandt Shoe Co., 165 Mo. App. 361, 147 S.W. 165; Sommer v. Pub. Serv. Corp., 79 N.J.L. 349, 75 Atl. 892; Julian v. Sinclair Oil & Gas Co., 168 Okla. 192, 32 Pac. (2d) 31; Young's Admr. v. Farmers & Depositors Bank, 267 Ky. 845, 103 S.W. (2d) 667; Cross Co. v. Burns, 81 Fed. (2d) 856; Watson v. Jo. Coal Mining Co., 331 Mo. 475, 53 S.W. (2d) 895; Kennedy v. Philips, 319 Mo. 573, 5 S.W. (2d) 33; Glaser v. Rothschild, 221 Mo. 180, 120 S.W. 1; Blood v. Ansley, 231 Mass. 438, 121 N.E. 488; Coffer v. Bradshaw, 46 Ga. App. 143, 167 S.E. 119; Williamson v. Neitzel, 45 Idaho, 39, 260 Pac. 689; Ellington v. Richs, 179 N.C. 686, 102 N.E. 510. (a) Where (as here) the case is one in which the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is applicable, and plaintiff-appellant makes a case under that doctrine, an instruction offered by defendant-respondent in the nature of a demurrer to the evidence at the close of the whole case should be refused where defendant-respondent does not adduce evidence explaining and showing as a matter of law that the happening of the transaction causing plaintiff's injury was not due to a cause chargeable to defendant's negligence. Perry v. Stein, 63 S.W. (2d) 296, 67 S.W. (2d) 755, 334 Mo. 749; Keady v. Stix, Baer & Fuller Co., 15 S.W. (2d) 379; Duffy v. McGee, 196 Mo. App. 395, 195 S.W. 1053; Ridenour v. International Harvester Co., 205 S.W. 881; Lober v. Kansas City, 74 S.W. (2d) 815; Warren v. Mo. & Kan. Tel. Co., 196 Mo. App. 549, 196 S.W. 1030; Gulf, C. & S.F. Ry. Co. v. Dunman, 15 S.W. (2d) 1053; Armour v. Golkowska, 95 Ill. App. 494, 202 Ill. 144, 66 N.E. 1037; Anderson v. McCarthy Dry Goods Co., 49 Wash. 398, 95 Pac. 325; Highland v. Wilsonian Inv. Co., 171 Wash. 34, 17 Pac. (2d) 631; Crawford v. Am. Stores Co., 5 N.J. Misc. 413, 136 Atl. 715.
Green, Henry & Green for respondent.
(1) Because the petition itself failed to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action. (a) A petition alleging that plaintiff was "lawfully on the premises," without other averments as to the purposes of his being there, makes him a "licensee" and not an invitee. Degnan v. Doty, 246 S.W. 923; Forsythe v. Shyrack, 283 Mo. 49; 45 C.J., sec. 635. (b) And failure to allege facts showing that the injury was wantonly inflicted on one "lawfully on the premises" states no cause of action. (c) To recover as an invitee, an allegation to that effect or facts establishing that status is a necessary averment. Omission of a necessary averment is fatal. Kirkland v. Bixby, 222 S.W. 462; Lee v. Pub. Serv. Co., 88 S.W. (2d) 337; Rogers v. Crown Coach Co., 68 S.W. (2d) 729; 49 C.J. 136; Baldridge v. Ryan, 260 S.W. 536; St. Louis, etc., Co. v. Walsh Co., 32 S.W. (2d) 97; 49 C.J. 143. (2) Where a petition states no cause of action it cannot be aided by verdict, and objection thereto may even be raised for the first time on appeal. St. Louis v. Railroad Co., 330 Mo. 502; Brock v. Ry. Co., 330 Mo. 918; Calvin v. Gideon, 200 S.W. 715; O'Toole v. Williams, 29 S.W. (2d) 103; Denny v. Guyton, 40 S.W. (2d) 562; Baugher v. Gamble Co., 324 Mo. 1233; Jackson v. Johnson, 248 Mo. 680. (a) While a petition will be construed liberally after verdict and given the benefit of any implications from allegations therein, it does not aid a petition which does not state a cause of action. Lewis v. Term. Ry. Co., 61 S.W. (2d) 234; Ehrlich v. Mittelberg, 299 Mo. 301; State v. Gromer, 252 S.W. 705; Hawkins v. Paben, 332 Mo. 483; Baugher v. Gamble Co., 324 Mo. 1233; State v. Allen, 85 S.W. (2d) 455; Taylor v. Railroad Co., 333 Mo. 658; Godschaux v. Quinn, 95 S.W. (2d) 82; Rositzky v. Rositzky, 329 Mo. 662. (3) While the court in considering a demurrer to the evidence considers only the evidence most favorable to plaintiff, he is not entitled to the benefit of any evidence which contradicts his own evidence. De Lorme v. St. L. Pub. Serv. Co., 61 S.W. (2d) 247; Murray v. Transit Co., 176 Mo. 183; Paetz v. London Guar. & Acc. Co., 71 S.W. (2d) 827; State ex rel. v. Trimble, 52 S.W. (2d) 864. (4) Because, under the evidence, plaintiff was not entitled to recover as an invitee, as he was injured in a place to which he was not actually or impliedly invited. Glaser v. Rothschild, 221 Mo. 180; Davis v. Ringulske, 127 S.W. 626; Berry v. Cemetery Assn., 106 Mo. App. 358; Newton v. Scalzo, 240 Mo. 177; York v. Claw, 163 Mo. App. 401; Shaw v. Goldman, 116 App. 332; Shuck v. Realty Co., 201 S.W. 559; Behre v. Hemp & Co., 191 S.W. 1038; Keeran v. Spurgeon, 194 Iowa, 1240; Warehouse v. Anderson, 14 Tenn. 288; Putejohn v. Bushman, 126 Va. 72; Smith v. Trimble, 111 Ky. 861; Hutchins v. Cleveland, 141 Mich. 346; Ryan v. Toop, 99 N.Y. 590; Southwest Cotton Co. v. Popsi, 218 Pac. 152; Dennis v. Railroad Co., 205 Ill. App. 550; Scanlos v. Cigar Store, 228 Mass. 481; Luers v. Kelly, 147 Atl. 281; Wright v. Salvation Army, 249 N.W. 549; Johnson v. Main, 230 N.W. 472; Roberts v. Kelly Food, 140 N.E. 283.
Plaintiff, appellant here, obtained a verdict against defendant for $19,833, for personal injuries. Motion for a new trial was sustained and plaintiff appealed. The new trial was granted on the ground that the court erred in refusing a demurrer to the evidence both at the...