Harper v. Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, 161 N.C. 451 (1913)

March 12, 1913 · Supreme Court of North Carolina
161 N.C. 451


(Filed 12 March, 1913.)

Torts — Destruction of Property — Interest—Jury’s Discretion.

Where a tort committed consists in the destruction of property, the jury may, in their discretion, award interest on the value of the property destroyed from the date of its destruction, in addition to the-value of the property.

Appeal by defendant from Garter, J., at August Term, 1912, of DUPLIN.

Civil action. These issues were submitted:

1. Did tbe defendant company wrongfully and negligently burn tbe property of tbe plaintiff, as alleged in tbe complaint? Answer: Yes.

2. What damages, if any, is plaintiff entitled to recover? Answer: $450, with interest from 5 April, 1909.

Tbe defendant appealed.

S. D. Williams for plaintiff.

Davis & Davis for defendant.

*452BROWN, J.

Tbe only error assigned is to tbe following charge: “You may, in your discretion, allow interest upon any damages awarded to tbe plaintiff from tbe date of tbe fire or from any intervening date, in your discretion. It is not recoverable as a matter of right, and rests in tbe sound discretion of tbe jury.”

Damages recovered for a tort do not as a matter of law bear interest until after judgment, but when tbe tort consists solely in tbe destruction of property, and not in personal injuries, ibis Court has held that tbe jury may in their discretion give interest on tbe value of tbe property destroyed from tbe date of its destruction, in addition to tbe actual value of tbe property. Rippey v. Miller, 46 N. C., 480; Guano Co. v. Magee, 86 N. C., 351; Williams v. Lumber Co., 118 N. C., 928; Lane v. Butler, 135 N. C., 419; Stephenson v. Koonce, 103 N. C., 266; Wilson v. Troy, 18 L. R. A., 449, and notes.

No error.