Watson v. Sylva Tanning Co., 190 N.C. 840 (1925)

Dec. 23, 1925 · Supreme Court of North Carolina
190 N.C. 840


(Filed 23 December, 1925.)

Instructions — Evidence—Contentions—Statutes—New Trials.

Under tbe provisions of our statute, C. S., 564, it is reversible error for tbe trial judge to fail to instruct tbe jury upon tbe law arising from tbe evidence in tbe case necessary to a correct finding of tbeir verdict, and a mere summary of tbe contentions of tbe parties is insufficient.

Appeal by defendant from Finley, J., at May Term, 1925, of tbe Superior Court of Jaceson.

Tbe plaintiff brought suit for tbe recovery of damages for personal injury alleged to have been caused by tbe defendant’s negligence. Verdict and judgment for tbe plaintiff and appeal by tbe defendant upon errors assigned.

Walter K. Moore and Sutton & Stillwell for plaintiff.

Alley & Alley for defendant.

Adams, J.

Tbe defendant complains that tbe trial judge in bis instructions to tbe jury failed to “state in a plain and correct manner tbe evidence given in tbe case and to declare and explain tbe law arising *841thereon.” C. S., 564. In several cases recently decided we have stressed the necessity of observing this requirement and have reiterated the suggestion that a statement of the contentions accompanied with a bare enunciation of a legal principle is not sufficient: it is imperative that the law be declared, explained, and applied to the evidence. Upon at least two of the issues the instructions consist almost entirely of .a summary of the contentions of the parties; an error resulting, of course, from the momentary oversight of the cautious and thoughtful judge before whom the case was tried. Nichols v. Fibre Co., ante, 1; Richardson v. Cotton Mills, 189 N. C., 653; S. v. O’Neal, 187 N. C., 22; S. v. Thomas, 184 N. C., 757 ; S. v. Merrick, 171 N. C., 788, 795.

For the error complained of there must be a

New trial.