jury's prerogative to weigh the testimony and determine from the credible evidence whether decedent did or did not approach the switch, or in other words, whether or not the evidence supported the conclusion that the routine and usual practice was followed on the day the accident occurred.
The jury found in answer to specific interrogatory that the total amount of damage suffered by the plaintiff administratrix which was the proximate result of the accident, without any consideration being given to the negligence of the defendant or the contributory negligence on the part of the decedent employee, was $ 77,100.
At the time of his death, decedent had a life expectancy, according to the United States Mortality Tables of 24.27 years. In the year prior to his death he earned $ 4,600 as a conductor. Since the date of his death the daily rate of pay for conductors has increased by $ 1.40. The jury could well believe that such increases might continue in the future.
In addition, decedent was a man of frugal habits, limiting expenditures for his own use to a bare minimum. A jury could reasonably infer that actual monthly monetary loss to his widow was approximately $ 300.
In view of the advanced age of decedent's parents, it is most conceivable that the jury considered the decedent's life expectancy and his potential remunerative productivity, in considerable excess of the mean average demonstrated by the United States Mortality Tables.
The court should not set aside a verdict on the ground that it is excessive unless it is so high as to shock the conscience. In the absence of any showing that the jury was biased or acted capriciously or unreasonably, the court will not interfere with the verdict. Foresman v. Pepin, D.C., 71 F.Supp. 772, affirmed, 3 Cir., 161 F.2d 872.
I am satisfied that the award was commensurate with the amount of damages evinced in the record.
Defendant contends that the court abused its discretion relative to the interrogatories submitted to the jury. It has long been held that the rule authorizing the submission to the jury of written interrogatories is permissive and not mandatory and whether such interrogatories will be submitted is within the sound discretion of the Court. Mourikas v. Vardianos, 4 Cir., 169 F.2d 53; Moyer v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., D.C., 39 F.Supp. 725, affirmed, 3 Cir., 126 F.2d 141.
Certainly no abuse of discretion exists in the Court's refusal to compel the jury to set forth in detail its theory of how this accident occurred.
It is my considered judgment that the verdict rendered was not against the evidence, weight of the evidence or the law, and I must assume that the jury allowed the instructions of the court. Boice v. Bradley, D.C., 92 F.Supp. 751.
Accordingly, the motion to set aside the verdict for the plaintiff and to enter judgment for the defendant, and the motion for a new trial are denied.
An appropriate order is entered.
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