M'DONALD V. UN lOX PAC. RY. CO.
Now, gentlemen, I need scarcely say to you that you will decide this case precisely as you, would if two of your neighbars were the parties, and in:l1o other light or sense; you will give to the plaintiff nothing because he is a natural person, a youth or a boy, just for that reason lout oCsynipathy for him; and you will add nothing to his verdict because the defendant is a -corporation. You will decide this case as though it' was a case between two natural persons. The law, gentlemen, is an' utter stranger to sympathy, and an utter stranger to prejudice; arul'the court or the jury that'lets either sympathy or prejudice creep into their mi'nds in the decision of a cause submitted to them commits a very grave mistake. You are the sole judges of the facts. Consider all the testimony, and in the light of aq the testimony on the subject of these injuries, and their extent, determine what is a fair,just compensation to the plaintiff for the injury ,he has sustained. That will be the amount of your verdict. Mr. Teller. I suggest the question to which I called your honor's attention as to what, at least, the character of the evidence would show about the impairment of his powers. - I ;think they ought to be instructed somewhat on that. The Court. I think not. 1 think the general instruction covers the ground. I say to you again, gentlemen, you are the judges of facts. You give such weight to the testimony of each witness as you think it entitled ,to. It is from that evidence you must determine for yourselves the character of these injuries, and the amount plaintiff is entitled to recover.
ON MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL.
CALDWELL, J. This case has been submitted on a motion for a new trial. The grounds assigned for the motion are misdirection of the jury as to the law, and excessive damages. The facts in this case which determine the legal liability of the defendant were not controverted at the trial, and are not controverted now. There is no ambiguity or conflict in the evidence relating to the question of the defendant's negligence. The controversy turns on the rules of law applicable to the uncontra- . dieted facts, and as to whether the jury. were warranted by the evidence in assessing the plaintiff's damages at the sum of $7,500. The law applicable to the facts of the case was correctly expressed in the charge to the jury. Bennett v. 'RfLilroad Co., 102 U. S. 577; Railroad Co. v. Stout, 17 Wall. 657, 2 Dill. 294. _ As to the damages, it was quite clear to my mind upon the evidence, and from an inspection of the plaintiff's head, hands, and arms on the witness stand at the trial, that the injuries he received were not slight or superficial, buttbat they were serious, anc;) had resulted in permanent to his urinary organs, and impairment of his sight, permanent permanent loss -of strength in his hands and arms, and, probably, a per manent affection of his whole nervou!lsystem. The court was askedt'c? instruct the jury that there was not sufficient evidence to warrant them in finding plaintiff's injuries were permanent. That instruction was raN
. FEDERAL REPORTEP"
.because I believed there was sufficient evidence to warrant such lirlding,'and that the fact was so. I did not,however, indicate to the jUry that such was my opinion, but left the question to their determinationhpon the evidence. , ' What damages shall be awarded a plaintiff entitled to recover in this of actions is a question of fact for the jury. As to some of the items of damages in such cases, much is necessarily left to the knowledge,judgment, and experience of the jury, and their sense of justice arid right. T,here is no fixed measuteQf damages for some of the items whiclllire to be taken into the account-in such cases; and men of equal intelligence and fairness often vary 'Widely in opinion as to what would be a'just compensation' ina given case. The assessment of the damages is oneoi' the functions of the jury which the court has no right to invade or interfere withjexcept where the court has reason to believe that the verdict is the result of passion or or of a misunderstanding ofthe instructions, or a disregard of them. It is not contended that allyt)f these things can· be justly charged upon the jury thattried this case, 'The most that is ohtinled is thatjhey erred in judgment, and the. court is asked, in effect, to convert itself into a jurY,and ascertain the damages it thinks ought to he assessed:in'the case, and reduce the verdictofthe jury: to that amount, or grant a new trial. , It"is myobservatioll and experience:that a jury of intelligent, fairminded mEln, familiar with the practical affai.rs of the panel. thattried,this case, Ithhlk\ may fairly be said to come up to this standard,-are better judges of such a question of fact than the ju4ge on the bench. But, whetp,E}r or not, it is their exclusive province to deterr,nine the and for a judge to substitute the damages he wdUldassess,llCtillg himself as a jury ,inthe pla,ce of the damages tb,e Jury assessed', for no oth tl(reason than that :lJ,e thinks lie is -a better judge of the fl1ct'than the jury, is an invasionofthe province of thejury,and a violation of the constitutional right ofa suitor to have his caueetriedBy a jury, and the qt1estions of fact in it determined by their verdict; In this case the damages are not in my judgment excessive, in the sense-. that the jury could· not upon the evidence f!tirly find that surn. Rhoots nothing that. if the Muse had been tried before me, I would have farind a sornewhat less sum. It is said that the former verdict in this case for $2,500--amuch less sum than the present verdict-was set aside by Judge HALT.ETT r because he considered it excessive. This argument suggests these observations: Arm. It is conceded that on the former trial the statute requiring the defendant to fence its slack-pile was not .brought to the attention of the court, and hence it was a doubtful question whether the defendant had beeh guilty of any negligence, and thiel doubtless influenced the jury in making up their verdict, and theeoul't in setting' it aside. .Second. There is' nothing to show that the evidence was the same on both trials. From thefaet that the court set aside'the first verdict on the ground that the damages' were excessive, it is fair to presume that the plaintiff stterigtheni:Jdihiscaseon this head atthesecond trialbyadditiopal proof
KEATOR fl. ST. JOHN
as to the !levere nature of his inj'uries, and their permanent character. And, thirdly, if the proof was the same at the two trials, it only ShOIVE the widely different conclusions that men of equal intelligence and equal opportunities will draw from the same state of facts. I should feel very much like deferring to my learned· Brother HALLETI' on a question of law, but when we go outside of the law, and put ourselves in the place of a jury. to: pasS upon the facts, in this kind of a case, I think a good, intelligent Jury knows better how to do that than either or both of us. And if this case, on the evidence I heard at the last trial, had been sulr mitted to: J HALLETT and myself, sitting as a jury, and he had thought:12,5QO an excessive verdict, there would have been a hung jury.
(CU'cuit.Oourt, D. Minnesota. July 2, 1soo.)
On the plea of ru adjudicata in an action by a principal againllt btl agll1lt for the purchase ot land, to recover 'IS,OOO alleged to have been received by the'agenS of the tnoneyllpaid by. plaintiffs to hiJ vendor, it appeared that in a former by the principallAlt8inllt the agent for fraudulent representaUonll as to tbe value 'Of the lana,. a judgment was recoveJ'ed againsttlie ageut, but It did not appear thal any issue Was raised as to the IlS,QOO by the agent, or that at tbat thne plaintilflhad any lmoW1edi8 of it. Held, that the former suit was not a tQ ·secon4. ,.
ADJoJ>ICATJ.-mBNTITT O. POIJlIT AT ISSUB.
Fla.ndrau,. Squirel Outcheon and Searles for plaintiffs. Olnpp McCartney and O. D. O'Brimi for defenda.nt.
Justice. This is an action brought by Keator against St. John on the ground that, while St. John was his agent forthe purpose of Pllrchasing pine lands, he (St. John) received some $18 t OOO from the other side, which he converted to his own use, and which was paid in fact by the present plaintiff in the case. If that was so, it undoubtedly wasagoQd found!ttion for an action. and as the caSe is presented on this .motioQ that much is .conceded. But St.. John presents to the court as a ·defense a former trial and a judgment in the state court, which is alleged to for the saine subject;.:matter between the same parties, in which a judg. ment was rendered against him for $5,000, which stands unreversed. and which,he claims, is a bar to the suit now before us. If that 80, iftbat,were for the same cause of action, and between the same par. ties, it would be a bar. The defendant states that at the introduction of the record q(the former suit he asked the court to tell the jury, DOttbat it was a bar, but that they must find a verdict for the defendant ground. ,. is no assignment of that as an error, because the qQuTt was to say to thejury: "These are the same parties, and facta , . ' .', .-,. ... >'state court are the same facts proved in thiscO\ltt. .the ,'" ., . .' . ,