Court which created a prejudicial atmosphere resulting in the denial of a fair and impartial trial.
In this connection, the defendant adverts to remarks wherein the Court, on occasion, admonished counsel for their conduct in the courtroom. The Court, on one occasion in ruling on a question of evidence, criticized the manner of argument and conduct of trial counsel.
It is noteworthy that a review of the record amply demonstrates that in virtually every instance the Court, in commenting on the conduct of counsel, directed its remarks to both counsel for the plaintiff and the defendant. In the sixteen years that this member of the Court has been privileged to administer jury trials, a more protracted and heated proceeding has never been experienced where counsel demonstrated such deep-rooted personal feeling and acrimony toward each other without regard to the slightest semblance of decorum or good manners. At one instance, one of the attorneys in the presence of the Court and jury ripped a paper out of the hand of opposing counsel. As evidence of the animosity and personal feeling which pervaded the entire trial, at time of argument of the instant motion, and after counsel had left the courtroom, my personnel had occasion to see opposing counsel most vociferously arguing in the hallway immediately adjacent to the courtroom in loud and unmannerly tones.
The trial judge in a Federal Court is not a mere presiding officer. It is his function to conduct the trial in an orderly way with a view to eliciting the truth and to attain justice between the parties. It is his duty to see that the issues are not obscured, that the trial is conducted in a proper manner, that the testimony is not misunderstood by the jury, to check counsel in any effort to obtain an undue advantage or to distort the evidence, and to curtail an unnecessarily long and tedious examination or cross-examination of witnesses. Russell v. Monongahela Railway Co., 262 F.2d 349 (3rd Circuit).
It is further noteworthy that counsel for the defendant did not make formal objection to any of the matters during the course of the trial which it presently raises as being prejudicial nor did defendant counsel state any objection to the charge of the Court to the jury.
Though a trial judge is an administrator primarily charged with the just conduct of the trial, he may not ordinarily be put in error merely because an aberration from trial rules has occurred. It is the duty of counsel, by objection, to call such threatened or actual departure to the judge's attention and invoke his corrective action and, if overruled, to make it appear that prejudice has resulted.
I am further cognizant of the rule that a trial judge may never abdicate his function or surrender to counsel the conduct of the trial and that he must exercise his function to guide and control it. Glassine Paper Co. v. Shannon, 238 F.2d 765 (2nd Circuit).
I am satisfied that no comment in this record, when taken in the proper perspective and balance of the entire record, could be deemed to be improperly influencing the jury. Goldstein v. United States, 63 F.2d 609 (8th Circuit); Throckmorton v. St. Louis-An Francisco Railway Co., 179 F.2d 165 (8th Circuit).
Upon a review of the entire record, I am satisfied that the record does not show that the Court, in any way, permitted prejudicial error to creep into and prevent justice in the case and that an award in the amount of $ 55,000.00 is amply supported under all the credible evidence.
An appropriate order is entered.