Saturday, November 28, 2015

Denman v. Spain case brief summary

Denman v. Spain case brief
1961 Supreme Court of Mississippi 

Posture: Lower court submitted a jnov for defendant even though plaintiff won jury trial. Went up to Supreme Ct of the state who affirmed. 
Facts: Denman, a minor, sued the executrix of the estate of Ross for personal injury damages while Ross was driving a car. Issue was submitted to a jury on evidence for plaintiff with no evidence offered for defendant and plaintiff won jury trial. However, a jnov was entered for defendant and plaintiff appeals
March 23, 1958, was a rainy and foggy day. Around 6, Denman and her grandma were in a car driving south when Ross was driving north and collided with the family. Denman, 7, was knocked out and had no recollection of what happened at the time of the collision, sues Ross’s estate. Father, who went to the scene, described it as a grisly scene but no proof was offered for skid marks or other evidence of contact between the vehicles. No evidence of how or why the collision occurred. Some witnesses testified that the driver was driving too quickly and there was some negligence. However, some of the evidence was inadmissible because it was not testimony about the accident. Plaintiff thought this circumstantial evidence was enough to show that the defendant was negligently driving his car. 

Reasoning: However, it is a mystery as to how or why the collision occurred because there is no evidence of it, no eyewitness testimony and no other evidence. Plaintiff was supposed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that operator of the other car was guilty of negligence and that the negligence proximately caused the collision. However, because plaintiff did not do that, there is no verdict. Verdicts cannot be based on possibility. 
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