Has tbe trial judge tbe power to make material amendments to a verdict, as rendered by tbe jury and accepted, and thereupon enter judgment upon such verdict so amended?
A verdict is a substantial right. A trial judge in tbe due and orderly administration of justice has tbe power to set a verdict aside in bis discretion or as a matter of law, and it is bis duty to do so when a palpable miscarriage of justice would result. The ultimate objective of tbe law is to guarantee justice to all tbe parties. A trial is tbe process ordained and sanctioned for realizing that objective. A jury in proper cases may correct its verdict with tbe approval of tbe court in tbe event tbe verdict does not correctly express tbe actual agreement of tbe jury. McCabe Lumber Co. v. Beaufort County Lumber Co., 187 N. C., 417, 121 S. E., 755; McIntosh North Carolina Practice and Procedure, p. 665, sec. 603. See, also, Cole v. Laws, 104 N. C., 651, 10 S. E., 172; Willoughby v. Threadgill, 72 N. C., 438.
In tbe case at bar, in answer to tbe first and third issues, tbe jury found that nine of tbe defendants bad conspired to suppress bidding at the sale, and that by reason of such illegal conspiracy bad enabled Joe Sutton and Guy Sutton to acquire title to tbe lands of their father at a grossly inadequate price. Tbe trial judge amended tbe verdict upon these issues by eliminating four of tbe alleged conspirators, or as stated in tbe record, “set aside tbe verdict of tbe jury as to them.” “'While a change merely as to form is not fatal, tbe court cannot amend or change a verdict in any matter of substance without tbe consent of tbe jury, and cannot do so with their consent after tbe verdict has been finally accepted and recorded.” S. v. Snipes, 185 N. C., 743, 117 S. E., 500. It was also held in Rankin v. Oates, 183 N. C., 517, 112 S. E., 32, that tbe “court was without authority to reverse tbe jury’s finding on tbe second issue, answer it himself, and then render judgment on tbe verdict as amended.” Also, in Sitterson v. Sitterson, 191 N. C., 319, 131 S. E., 641, it was held that “tbe court bad tbe power to set aside tbe verdict, but none to reverse tbe answers of the jury.” See, also, Bartholomew v. Parrish, 186 N. C., 81, 118 S. E., 899; C. S., 591. Of course, if tbe plaintiff is not entitled to recover upon any aspect of tbe case, tbe trial judge has tbe power to dismiss tbe action despite tbe verdict of tbe jury. Sitterson v. Sitterson, supra. Moreover, in cases in which a plaintiff is entitled to recover as a matter of law, irrespective of tbe answer of tbe jury to certain issues, a judgment will not be upset even though tbe trial judge struck out an answer of tbe jury to a certain issue and substituted an answer of bis own. This principle was applied in Sprinkle v. Wellborn, 140 N. C., 163, 52 S. E., 666. Justice Walker, tbe author of tbe opinion, remarked: “It was error in doing so, but not reversible error. Tbe court bad tbe power to set aside tbe verdict, as *428to that issue, that is pro icmto, but none to reverse the answer of the jury. This was an invasion of their province, but the defendant cannot complain of it, as it worked no material injury in law to him.”
Consequently, it might be asserted by the plaintiff in the present action that as Joe and Guy Sutton now hold the title to their father’s land, and such deed has been set aside, that they have no right to complain because other conspirators were erroneously eliminated from the verdict. A verdict must be construed in the light of the pleadings and charge of the court. When the verdict in the case at bar is so construed it is not clear that the jury would have found Joe Sutton and Guy Sutton guilty of conspiracy when the title to the property was outstanding in Woolard, trustee for the bank, and such trustee duly sold the property as required by law in the open market and with no agreement or understanding, express or implied, that the Suttons should become the purchasers.
Therefore, viewing the case in the light of the pleadings, evidence, and charge of the trial judge, it is the opinion of this Court that the amendment of the verdict was erroneously entered, and for such error a new trial is awarded. In awarding a new trial this Court does not decide any other exception appearing in the record to the end that the case may be retried wholly upon its merits, free from intimation upon all assignments of error contained in the record.