Opinion Filed February 18, 1913.
1. APPEAL AND ERROR — Grounds for Granting — Presumptions. When the court in granting a new trial specifies fully and in detail the reason upon which the act is based, it will be presumed that the reason thus stated is the only one upon which the court acts.
2. NEW TRIAL — Granting on Court's Motion. The court set aside the verdict of a jury and granted a new trial, twenty days after the verdict had been returned, on its own motion; neither side having filed a motion therefor, and no claim of collusion, imposition, or fraud upon the court being claimed. Held, error.
(Syllabus by Brewer, C.)
Error from the District Court, Osage County; R. H. Hudson, Judge.
Action by George C. Chrisman against Frank M. Anderson. From the judgment, Anderson brings error. Reversed.
Grinstead, Mason Scott, for plaintiff in error.
Hargis Sams, for defendant in error.
The court in this case set aside the verdict of the jury, on its own motion, without a motion being filed by either side in any wise complaining of the verdict. This action by the court was taken twenty days after the verdict was returned. The appellant here was defendant below against whom the verdict was rendered. The reasons given by the court for disturbing a verdict of the jury which was apparently satisfactory to both parties is stated by the court as follows:
"For the reason that the court was of the opinion that the matter involved in this action should be tried out in case No. 636 on the trial docket of this court, which is a suit in equity for the dissolution of a partnership, accounting, and settlement of the partnership affairs in which action all the rights of the parties hereto can be determined; Frank M. Anderson and one John H. Harris being plaintiffs, and said George C. Chrisman, defendant," etc.
The reason of the court being stated fully and in detail, it must be presumed that there was no other reason for the action taken. This reason was not a sufficient one for disturbing the verdict of the jury. There is not a suggestion of fraud, collusion, or that the court had in any way been imposed upon, nor even that the verdict was an erroneous or improper one. It is therefore unnecessary to discuss the inherent powers of the court, in controlling its process and judgments during the term; if the power exercised in this case exists, and if Long v. County Commissioners, 5 Okla. 128, 47 P. 1063, takes too narrow a view of the law, which it is not necessary here to decide, yet still the court, under the facts of this case, erred in setting aside a verdict acquiesced in by the litigants. The cause should be reversed.
By the Court: It is so ordered.