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Wilson v. Rich

Supreme Court of Mississippi, Division B
Apr 25, 1932
163 Miss. 403 (Miss. 1932)


No. 29976.

April 25, 1932.


Five hundred dollars to woman for injuries, where objective symptoms showed no serious and permanent injury but her subjective symptoms did, held not inadequate.

APPEAL from circuit court of Harrison county. HON.W.A. WHITE, Judge.

Mize, Mize Thompson, of Gulfport, and Gex Gex, of Bay St. Louis, for appellant.

The verdict is shocking to conscience.

Appellant is a woman who had earned, undisputedly, five thousand dollars a year before the injury, who, after the injury was totally incapacitated for work, at least to the day of the trial, nearly a year after the accident, and her condition was probably permanent as the testimony showed.

This court has not hesitated in similar cases to set aside the verdict and to grant a new trial on the question of damages only.

McLaughlin v. R.W. Fagin Peel Co., 125 Miss. 116; Coccora v. Light Traction Co., 126 Miss. 713; Hicks v. Corso Cefalu, 131 Miss. 659; Azen v. Sperier et al., 117 So. 117.

It is a well known fact that the medical profession in its practice is built to a large extent on subjective symptoms and if this were not true there would be many deaths daily because the doctors did not take into consideration their subjective symptoms.

W.L. Guice, of Biloxi, and John L. Heiss, of Gulfport, for appellee.

If there is any dispute as to an injury, this is to be judged solely by the jury, and if there is a dispute as to the extent of the injury, this is likewise in the province of the jury, and the court will not invade this province unless the record plainly shows facts, undisputed, upon which the jury could have placed only one construction and under which the jury have rendered a verdict that is so small or so large as to shock one's conscience, thereby causing to spring into existence a presumption that this verdict was the result of passion or prejudice.

The very permanence of our jury system depends upon not invading its province without due cause, and, we can conceive of no more flagrant invasion of the province of the jury than to take away from it its right to judge the credibility of the witnesses testifying before it, not alone by the testimony of the witnesses but by the actions and appearances of the witnesses as they testify.

Unless the jury was bound by every word that fell from appellant's mouth, without a right to judge as to the truth or untruth of these words from her appearance and from her other testimony, then the jury had a perfect right in this case to see that the woman was not injured at all, or to see that her injuries were very slight or to put any value as it saw fit upon her injuries.

Appellant sued appellee for damages for a personal injury alleged to have been caused by appellee's negligence in running his automobile into the automobile driven by appellant. There was a verdict and judgment for appellant in the sum of five hundred dollars, from which judgment appellant prosecutes this appeal upon the ground alone that the judgment is so grossly inadequate as that the court ought to set it aside and grant her a new trial.

The jury heard the nonexpert as well as the expert testimony, with reference to the extent of appellant's injuries. Appellant testified in her own behalf, going into detail as to the extent of her injuries and suffering. Her physician testified. An analysis of his testimony as a whole means simply this: That according to appellant's objective symptoms she was not seriously and permanently injured; but according to her subjective symptoms she was seriously and probably permanently injured. He testified that an objective examination of appellant showed that (to use his own language) "she looks healthy — she looks all right." He testified further, however, that a subjective examination of appellant, by which he meant taking what she said herself about her symptoms to be true, showed that she was seriously and probably permanently injured. The jury had appellant before them. They saw her physical appearance; they saw her manner of testifying; and they saw her as she approached and left the witness stand.

We do not believe there is an issue of fact which the ordinary jury is more capable of passing upon than an issue of this character, and especially where the plaintiff has testified fully as to the character and extent of the injuries, as was done in this case. Viewing the entire evidence in this case as to the character and extent of appellant's injuries, we cannot say with satisfaction that the verdict of the jury is so small as to evince passion or prejudice on their part.


Summaries of

Wilson v. Rich

Supreme Court of Mississippi, Division B
Apr 25, 1932
163 Miss. 403 (Miss. 1932)
Case details for

Wilson v. Rich

Case Details

Full title:WILSON v. RICH

Court:Supreme Court of Mississippi, Division B

Date published: Apr 25, 1932


163 Miss. 403 (Miss. 1932)
141 So. 287

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