Friday, February 8, 2013

Alexander v. Kramer Bros. Freight Lines, Inc. case brief

Alexander v. Kramer Bros. Freight Lines, Inc.
273 F.2d 373

SYNOPSIS: Appellant freight line sought review of a judgment from the United States District Court in favor of appellees, driver and owner, in appellees' negligence suit arising from a truck collision. Appellant sought review on grounds that a jury charge and evidentiary ruling were made in error.

FACTS:
-Appellees, driver and owner, sued appellant freight line for negligence arising from a truck collision. -Appellant sought review of an adverse judgment on grounds that the jury charge on the burden of proof of contributory negligence was erroneous.

ANALYSIS:
-The court noted that Fed. R. Civ. P. 51 required parties to make objection to jury charges on the record before the jury retired for the verdict.
-Appellant claimed it was excused from complying with Rule 51 because it took exception during a colloquy near the close of appellees' case to the lower court's statement that the burden of proof rested with appellant. In fact, New York law placed this burden on appellees. 
-The court found that appellant's statement in colloquy and its failure to formally and timely object were insufficient to comply with Rule 51 requirements. 
-The lower court did not err in failing to charge the jury as appellant requested when the requested charges were too dogmatic and not completely accurate. 
-After appellant's driver's credibility was attacked on cross-examination, a rehabilitative witness was properly excluded because the driver had a motive to fabricate his version of the facts. 
-The judgment was affirmed.

RULES:
Fed. R. Civ. P. 51 provides, in pertinent part, that no party may assign as error the giving or the failure to give an instruction unless he objects thereto before the jury retires to consider its verdict, stating distinctly the matter to which he objects and the grounds of his objection. Opportunity shall be given to make the objection out of the hearing of the jury.

OUTCOME: The judgment in favor of appellees, driver and owner, in their negligence suit against appellant freight line was affirmed. Appellant could not complain of an improper jury charge as to the burden of proof of contributory negligence because it failed to timely and formally object before the jury retired to deliberate. A rehabilitative witness was properly excluded after appellant's driver was impeached during cross-examination.
---
Interested in learning how to get the top grades in your law school classes? Want to learn how to study smarter than your competition? Interested in transferring to a high ranked school?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Landmark Personal Injury Lawsuits and Their Lasting Impact

According to a Forbes article, personal injury lawsuits are civil actions brought by an injured person against the party responsible for the...