Stanley v. Johnson, No. 3-1078A288

Docket NºNo. 3-1078A288
Citation182 Ind.App. 557, 395 N.E.2d 863
Case DateOctober 25, 1979
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

Page 863

395 N.E.2d 863
182 Ind.App. 557
Louis C. STANLEY, as Guardian for Edgar Leo Stanley,
Appellant (Plaintiff Below),
v.
David L. JOHNSON and LaPorte County Farm Bureau Co-Operative
Association, Appellees (Defendants Below).
No. 3-1078A288.
Court of Appeals of Indiana, Third District.
Oct. 25, 1979.

Page 864

Donald C. Swanson, Jr., Fort Wayne, Richard G. French, Pro Hac Vice, Chicago, Ill., for appellant; Michael C. Kominiarek, Chicago, Ill., of counsel.

R. Kent Rowe, South Bend, Leon R. Kaminski, Thomas D. Sallwasser, LaPorte, for appellees.

[182 Ind.App. 558] STATON, Judge.

Louis C. Stanley, as guardian for Edgar Leo Stanley, filed an action for damages against the LaPorte County Farm Bureau Co-operative Association (LaPorte) and David L. Johnson (Johnson), its agent and employee. The action arose as the result of an automobile accident in which Stanley sustained severe and permanent injuries. The jury returned a verdict for Stanley and awarded him $570,000.00 in damages. Judgment was entered accordingly.

On appeal, Stanley raises three issues for our consideration:

(1) Did the trial court commit reversible error in allowing LaPorte and Johnson to admit liability and in granting their motion in limine?

(2) Did the verdict adequately compensate Stanley for his injuries?

(3) Were the damages inadequate because of confusing and misleading instructions to the jury?

We affirm.

The facts relevant to our disposition of the case indicate that Stanley was severely injured in an accident in which his vehicle collided with a semi-trailer truck driven by Johnson, on behalf of LaPorte. Due to the seriousness of Stanley's injuries, his son Louis was appointed as guardian of the estate.

On April 21, 1978, a pre-trial order in which LaPorte and Johnson denied any liability, was filed. According to this order, the contested issues of fact at trial were to be whether LaPorte and Johnson were liable, and, if so, the extent of damages. Although

Page 865

they had denied liability throughout the nearly two years of pre-trial proceedings, they were allowed to admit it on the first day of the trial. Johnson and LaPorte neither amended the pre-trial order nor filed an answer admitting liability. At the time of this admission, the court also granted their motion in limine. It barred Stanley from introducing into evidence certain facts surrounding his accident.

On appeal, Stanley urges us to find that the trial court committed reversible error when it allowed Johnson and LaPorte to admit liability in violation of the pre-trial order. It provided, in part:

[182 Ind.App. 559] "Hereafter, this Order will control the course of the trial and may not be amended except by the parties and the Court or by Order of the Court to prevent manifest injustice. The pleadings are deemed merged herein."

Stanley contends that there was no showing by Johnson and LaPorte that the pre-trial order should have been modified to "prevent manifest injustice." He argues that "trial strategy" was the only reason for their admission of liability on the first day of the trial.

Despite the interesting nature of this question, we decline his invitation to address it. Stanley's trial began on May 8, 1978. Five days earlier, he had received a letter from LaPorte and Johnson which admitted liability and presented a proposed preliminary instruction to that effect to be read to the jury. LaPorte and Johnson orally admitted negligence to the court on May 8th. At the same time, the court granted their motion in limine which barred Stanley from introducing many of the circumstances surrounding his accident into evidence. Stanley did not object. A preliminary instruction which admitted that Johnson was negligent in the operation of the semi-truck and that his negligence proximately cause injury to Stanley was then read to the jury in the opening hours of the trial. Again, Stanley did not object. In fact, it wasn't until the close of the third day of the trial, that Stanley chose to place his objections "on the record" by formally objecting to LaPorte's and Johnson's admissions of negligence and the court's granting of their motion in limine.

In order to preserve a question on appeal, a proper objection must be made At the time the evidence is offered. Pointon v. State, Ind.,372 N.E.2d 1159. A party waives any error if he fails to present A timely objection in the court below to the giving of allegedly misleading, improper or insufficient preliminary instructions. Weenig v. Wood...

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9 practice notes
  • Southern, School Bldgs., Inc. v. Loew Elec., Inc., No. 3-879A241
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • July 9, 1980
    ...have been predicated upon the improperly given instruction. 4 Ind.Rules of Procedure, Trial Rule 61; Stanley v. Johnson (1979), Ind.App., 395 N.E.2d 863, 867; Cf., Summers v. Weyer (1967), 141 Ind.App. 176, 226 N.E.2d 904, 907 (reversible error if it appears that jury's verdict "may have be......
  • Plan-Tec, Inc. v. Wiggins, PLAN-TE
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • January 11, 1983
    ...Indiana that a party objecting to an instruction may not vary its grounds for objection on appeal. Stanley v. Johnson, (1979) Ind.App., 395 N.E.2d 863, 867; Davis v. Schneider, (1979) Ind.App., 395 N.E.2d 283, 289. It is readily apparent that Plan-Tec is attempting to assert new grounds on ......
  • Orkin Exterminating Co., Inc. v. Traina, No. 4-782A193
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • March 26, 1984
    ...could be found. We make this second observation only in light of our Third District's holding in Stanley v. Johnson, (1979) Ind.App., 395 N.E.2d 863, where it reviewed the adequacy of an instruction, despite appellant's failure to set out his at-trial objections Ind.Rules of Procedure, Appe......
  • Hoffman v. E. W. Bliss Co., No. 882S320
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • May 4, 1983
    ...and the evidence to see if the verdict could have been predicated on the erroneous instruction. Stanley v. Johnson, (1979) Ind.App., 395 N.E.2d 863; Joy v. Chau, (1978) 177 Ind.App. 29, 377 N.E.2d If the party complaining of the instruction produced evidence supporting his position, but the......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • Southern, School Bldgs., Inc. v. Loew Elec., Inc., No. 3-879A241
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • July 9, 1980
    ...have been predicated upon the improperly given instruction. 4 Ind.Rules of Procedure, Trial Rule 61; Stanley v. Johnson (1979), Ind.App., 395 N.E.2d 863, 867; Cf., Summers v. Weyer (1967), 141 Ind.App. 176, 226 N.E.2d 904, 907 (reversible error if it appears that jury's verdict "may have be......
  • Plan-Tec, Inc. v. Wiggins, PLAN-TE
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • January 11, 1983
    ...Indiana that a party objecting to an instruction may not vary its grounds for objection on appeal. Stanley v. Johnson, (1979) Ind.App., 395 N.E.2d 863, 867; Davis v. Schneider, (1979) Ind.App., 395 N.E.2d 283, 289. It is readily apparent that Plan-Tec is attempting to assert new grounds on ......
  • Orkin Exterminating Co., Inc. v. Traina, No. 4-782A193
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • March 26, 1984
    ...could be found. We make this second observation only in light of our Third District's holding in Stanley v. Johnson, (1979) Ind.App., 395 N.E.2d 863, where it reviewed the adequacy of an instruction, despite appellant's failure to set out his at-trial objections Ind.Rules of Procedure, Appe......
  • Hoffman v. E. W. Bliss Co., No. 882S320
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • May 4, 1983
    ...and the evidence to see if the verdict could have been predicated on the erroneous instruction. Stanley v. Johnson, (1979) Ind.App., 395 N.E.2d 863; Joy v. Chau, (1978) 177 Ind.App. 29, 377 N.E.2d If the party complaining of the instruction produced evidence supporting his position, but the......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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