Van Houten v. K.C. Pub. Serv. Co., No. 19033.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtReynolds
Citation122 S.W.2d 868
PartiesMARY J. VAN HOUTEN, RESPONDENT, v. KANSAS CITY PUBLIC SERVICE CO., APPELLANT.
Docket NumberNo. 19033.
Decision Date07 November 1938
122 S.W.2d 868
MARY J. VAN HOUTEN, RESPONDENT,
v.
KANSAS CITY PUBLIC SERVICE CO., APPELLANT.
No. 19033.
Kansas City Court of Appeals. Missouri.
November 7, 1938.

[122 S.W.2d 869]

Appeal from Jackson Circuit Court. — Hon. Darius A. Brown, Judge.

AFFIRMED.

Charles L. Carr and Cooper, Neel, Kemp, Sutherland & E.E. Ball for appellant.

(1) The trial court erred, in giving to the jury Instruction No. 1, as requested by plaintiff. Said instruction, based upon a res ipsa loquitur presentation and predicating a verdict for the plaintiff, after advising the jury that if they found that the plaintiff was a passenger on the street car in question, that said street car and its appliances were under the exclusive management and control of defendant, that the step of the car suddenly gave down with a jolt while plaintiff was alighting and had her foot on said step, thereby causing plaintiff to fall to the pavement, and that such giving down of said step was an unusual occurrence and out of the ordinary course of events — is erroneous and prejudicial to defendant for the following reasons, to-wit: (a) said instruction invades the province of the jury in that it erroneously includes, and advises the jury with regard to, fact inferences, when fact inferences (having no fixed legal effect for the consideration of the jury) have no proper place in an instruction; (b) said instruction invades the province of the jury in advising the jury what fact inferences may or should be drawn and in suggesting a course of reasoning approved by the court; (c) said instruction, even under a res ipsa loquitur doctrine submission of general negligence, is erroneous, as such doctrine gives rise to a mere fact (logical) inference of negligence and does not give rise to any presumption of law, either rebuttable or otherwise, and therefore the inclusion of such fact inferences of negligence as above quoted in said Instruction No. 1, renders the instruction erroneous; (d) said instruction erroneously singles out particular facts in evidence, namely, the claimed unusual and sudden giving down of the step with a jolt and the claimed resulting fall to the pavement, gives said facts undue importance and thus improperly comments on particular portions of the evidence and the weight thereof; (e) said instruction is erroneous as being argumentative in that the court improperly takes sides and makes an argument to the jury through its instruction in favor of the plaintiff, such being a matter for the argument of counsel and not for the court to argue to the jury in its instructions; (f) said instruction improperly puts an additional burden of proof on the defendant, improperly lessens the proper burden of proof on the plaintiff — the burden of persuasion — and improperly shifts the burden of proof from plaintiff to defendant; (g) said instruction improperly instructs the jury with respect to a prima facie case (burden of going forward with the evidence, which is a matter to be addressed to the court and not to the jury, and (h) misleads and confuses the jury into believing that the court's argument, its reasoning and inferences, guiding their thoughts, are decisive of the case — Kennedy v. Phillips, 319 Mo. 573, l.c. 589-590, 5 S.W. (2d) 33, l.c. 39-40; Chouquette v. Barada, 28 Mo. 491, l.c. 498-499; Rose v. Missouri District Tel. Company, 328 Mo. 1009, l.c. 1027, 43 S.W. (2d) 562, l.c. 569; McCloskey v. Koplar, 329 Mo. 527, l.c. 542-543, 46 S.W. (2d) 557, l.c. 564; Givens v. Spalding Cloak Co., 228 Mo. App. 169, l.c. 185-187, 63 S.W. (2d) 819, l.c. 828-829; Tabler v. Perry, 337 Mo. 154, l.c. 164-170, 85 S.W. (2d) 471, l.c. 476-479; Merkel v. Railway Mail Assoc., 205 Mo. App. 484, l.c. 490-493, 226 S.W. 299, l.c. 300-301; Frye v. St. Joseph Ry. L.H. & P. Co., 99 S.W. (2d) 540, l.c. 548-549; Glovers, Admr., v. Duhle, 19 Mo. 360, l.c. 360-361; Moies v. Eddy, 28 Mo. 382, l.c. 382-383; Stinwender v. Creath, 44 Mo. App. 356, l.c. 361, 366-367; State v. Swarens, 294 Mo. 139, l.c. 149-156, 159, 241 S.W. 934, l.c. 937-940; State v. Sagerser, 84 S.W. (2d) 918, l.c. 919; State v. Nibarger, 339 Mo. 937, l.c. 942, 98 S.W. (2d) 625, l.c. 628; Ducoulombier v. Baldwin, 101 S.W. (2d) 96, l.c. 101-102; Kansas City Law Review, Volume IV, Number 8, June, 1936, pages 115-119, 125 — "Proper Interpretation of the Res Ipsa Loquitur Doctrine in Missouri Today;" Bench and Bar — Lawyers' Association of the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Missouri — September, 1937, pages 5, 8-10, 12 — article entitled "Res Ipsa Loquitur Since McCloskey Case;" Williams v. St. Louis-San Francisco Ry. Co., 337 Mo. 667, l.c. 684, 85 S.W. (2d) 624, l.c. 634; Harke v. Haase, 335, Mo. 1104, l.c. 1109-1110, 75 S.W. (2d) 1001, l.c. 1003-1004; Brown-Scott v. Davis, 216 Mo. App. 530, l.c. 541-542, 270 S.W. 433, l.c. 436-437; Noce v. St. Louis-San Francisco Ry. Co., 337 Mo. 689, l.c. 695, 697-698, 85 S.W. (2d) 637, l.c. 641, 642; Pandjuris v. Oliver Cadillac Company, 98 S.W. (2d) 969, l.c. 974; Cole v. Uhlmann Grain Company, 100 S.W. (2d) 311, l.c. 322; Rice v. Jefferson City Bridge & Transit Co., 216 S.W. 746, l.c. 753; Dawes v. Starret, 336 Mo. 897, l.c. 927, 82 S.W. (2d) 43, l.c. 58; Graesser v. St. Louis Public Service Co., 78 S.W. (2d) 551, l.c. 553-554 (not officially published); Smith v. St. Louis Public Service Co., 84 S.W. (2d) 161, l.c. 165-166 (not officially published); Neff v. City of Cameron, 213 Mo. 350, l.c. 370-372, 111 S.W. 1139, l.c. 1145; Lampe v. Franklin American Trust Co., 96 S.W. (2d) 710, l.c. 719-720; McKnight-Keaton Grocery Co. v. Hudson, 116 Mo. App. 551, l.c. 553-554, 92 S.W. 1130, l.c. 1130-1131; Causey v. Wittig, 11 S.W. (2d) 11, l.c. 14-15; State v. Poor, 286 Mo. 644, l.c. 658, 228 S.W. 810, l.c. 814-815; Messer v. Gentry, 220 Mo. App. 1294, l.c. 1301, 290 S.W. 1014, l.c. 1016-1017; Rock v. Keller, 312 Mo. 458, l.c. 477, 489, 278 S.W. 759, l.c. 764, 768; Gardner v. St. Louis Union Trust Co., 85 S.W. (2d) 86, l.c. 89-90; Scism v. Alexander, 93 S.W. (2d) 36, l.c. 39; Steffen v. S.W. Bell Telephone Co., 331 Mo. 574, l.c. 587-588, 56 S.W. (2d) 47, l.c. 50-51; Block v. Kinder, 93 S.W. (2d) 932, l.c. 932-933; City of Mountain View v. Farmers' Telephone Exch. Co., 294 Mo. 623, l.c. 636, 243 S.W. 153, l.c. 157; State ex rel. Bixby v. St. Louis, 241 Mo. 231, l.c. 239-240, 145 S.W. 801, l.c. 803-804; Lyons v. National Surety Company, 243 Mo. 607, l.c. 620, 147 S.W. 778, l.c. 781; Simpson v. Witte Iron Works Co., 249 Mo. 376, l.c. 385, 155 S.W. 810, l.c. 811; State ex rel. Dunlap v. Higbee, 328 Mo. 1066, l.c. 1078, 43 S.W. (2d) 825, l.c. 831; State ex inf. McKittrick v. American Colony Ins. Co., 336 Mo. 406, l.c. 424, 80 S.W. (2d) 876, l.c. 882; Platte Valley Drainage Dist. v. National Surety Co., 221 Mo. App. 898, l.c. 911, 295 S.W. 1083, l.c. 1090; State ex rel. Kennedy v. Harris, 228 Mo. App. 469, l.c. 477, 69 S.W. (2d) 307, l.c. 312; Rauch v. Metz, 212 S.W. 353, l.c. 357 (not officially published); State v. Sheeler, 7 S.W. (2d) 340, l.c. 342 (not officially published); Kinnerk v. Smith, 328 Mo. 513, l.c. 524, 41 S.W. (2d) 381, l.c. 385-386; Gillilan v. Gillilan, 278 Mo. 99, l.c. 116, 212 S.W. 348, l.c. 351; Harke v. Haase, 335 Mo. 1104, l.c. 1111, 75 S.W. (2d) 1001, l.c. 1004; Kansas City Law Review, Vol. IV, No. 8, June, 1936, pp. 115-119, 125."Proper Interpretation of Res Ipsa Loquitur Doctrine in Missouri Today;" Bench and Bar — Lawyers' Association of 8th Judicial Circuit in Missouri. — September, 1937, pp. 5, 8-10, 12. — Article entitled "Res Ipsa Loquitur since McCloskey case;" Freeman v. Berberich, 332 Mo. 831, l.c. 837, 60 S.W. (2d) 393, l.c. 395. (2) The trial court erred to the prejudice of the defendant in refusing Instruction "I" as requested by the defendant, erred in modifying same and erred in giving the same to the jury, as modified, as the court's instruction, all over the objections and exceptions of the defendant (appellant), for the reason that said Instruction "I" as originally requested by the defendant properly made it the duty of the jury to disregard the testimony of any witness insofar as it is in conflict with and contrary to the physical facts as detailed in evidence and the common observation and experience of the jury and for the further reason that said Instruction "I" as modified by the court and given by the court as modified erroneously leaves it to the jury, and in its discretion, to elect whether it will or will not disregard or give probative force to impossible testimony of any witness which is contrary to and in conflict with the physical facts as detailed in evidence and the common observation and experience of the jury, thus enabling and advising the jury that it may return a verdict for the plaintiff upon impossible evidence, which is not the law. Bryant v. K.C. Rys. Co., 286 Mo. 342, l.c. 351-352, 228 S.W. 472, l.c. 474-475; McClanahan v. St. Louis-S.F.R. Co., 147 Mo. App. 386, l.c. 403, 409-410, 126 S.W. 535, l.c. 540, 541-542, and many cases cited. See also: Copeland v. Wabash R.R. Co., 175 Mo. 650, l.c. 667, 75 S.W. 106, l.c. 110 (Instruction No. 16); Sexton v. Met. St. Ry. Co., 245 Mo. 254, l.c. 272-274, 149 S.W. 21, l.c. 25; Huss v. Heydt Bakery Co., 210 Mo. 44, l.c. 69, 108 S.W. 63, l.c. 71; Gray v. Levy, 48 S.W. (2d) 20, l.c. 23; Maxwell v. Kansas City, 52 S.W. (2d) 487, l.c. 492-493; Aldright v. Mo. Pac. R.R. Co., 215 Mo. App. 217, l.c. 231, 256 S.W. 93, l.c. 97; Nugent v. Kauffman Milling Co., 131 Mo. 241, l.c. 252-253, 33 S.W. 428, l.c. 430-431; Zalotuchin v. Met. St. Ry. Co., 127 Mo. App. 577, l.c. 584-585, 106 S.W. 548, l.c. 550; Conduitt v. Trenton Gas & E. Co., 326 Mo. 133, l.c. 145, 31 S.W. (2d) 21, l.c. 26; High v. Quincy, O. & K.C.R.R. Co., 318 Mo. 444, l.c. 452-453, 300 S.W. 1102, l.c. 1105; Hall & Robinson v. Wabash R.R. Co., 80 Mo. App., 463, l.c. 470. (3) The trial court erred in not granting the defendant a new trial for the reason that the nineman verdict of the jury (as well as the judgment entered...

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1 practice notes
  • Luechtefeld v. Marglous, No. 26433.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • January 4, 1944
    ...in evidence. Tyler v. Hall, 106 Mo. 313, 17 S.W. 319, 27 Am.St.Rep. 337; Van Houten v. Kansas City Public Service Co., 233 Mo.App. 423, 122 S.W.2d 868. The instruction did not withdraw any of the evidence from the jury, nor did it attempt to charge as to the credibility of any portion of it......
1 cases
  • Luechtefeld v. Marglous, No. 26433.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • January 4, 1944
    ...in evidence. Tyler v. Hall, 106 Mo. 313, 17 S.W. 319, 27 Am.St.Rep. 337; Van Houten v. Kansas City Public Service Co., 233 Mo.App. 423, 122 S.W.2d 868. The instruction did not withdraw any of the evidence from the jury, nor did it attempt to charge as to the credibility of any portion of it......

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