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Lawskills.com Georgia Caselaw
LAKEN v. GENERAL SEAT & BACK MANUFACTURING CORPORATION.
37992.
Action on note. Fulton Civil Court. Before Judge Henson. August 19, 1959.
GARDNER, Presiding Judge.
1. Where the contentions of the parties are clearly stated in the pleadings and are frequently referred to by counsel during the trial, an omission to charge all the contentions is not cause for reversal.
2. Where, as here, a trial judge clearly and fairly presents the law regarding the applicable issues involved in a case, this court will not consider it reversible error to fail to charge the detailed contentions of the parties.
This is a suit on a promissory note brought by General Seat & Back Manufacturing Company against Dave Laken. The defendant filed an answer to the petition, and later filed two amendments to the answer. The case proceeded to trial by jury, resulting in a verdict and judgment in the amount for which suit was brought, $1,791.67. The defendant moved for a new trial on the general grounds, and later amended by adding two special grounds. The trial court denied the motion, and the defendant excepts.
1. We have not set out the evidence in detail because it appears that the defendant has abandoned the general grounds and only contends that the court failed to fully instruct the jury as to his contentions, as contained in his answer. This is largely covered in the contentions under special ground 1. The basis of the contention of the defendant's answer in this respect is that the business was not a going business, and that the jury should have been more fully instructed concerning this phase of the defense. The law as to this contention has been stated by the appellate courts in a number of decisions. If a judge charges the law which is applicable to the issues, an omission to state and explain all the contentions of the parties at bar is not cause for reversal by an appellate court. See Central of Georgia Ry. Co. v. McKinney, 118 Ga. 535 (45 S. E. 430), where the Supreme Court stated: "It certainly cannot be held that in every case the mere failure of the judge to state the contentions of the parties in his own language is such an error as requires the granting of a new trial. If a case should arise where the omission plainly operated to the prejudice of the losing party, a new trial might be required, but the present record presents no such case." Here, as in the case immediately herein above cited, we cannot see that the judge's charge as a whole operated to the prejudice of the losing party so as to require a new trial. Counsel for the defendant did not make a timely written request for a fuller charge regarding this assignment of error. A charge of the court must be construed as a whole. See Grady County v. Banker, 81 Ga. App. 701 (2) (59 S. E. 2d 732). And where a charge is substantially correct, more specific or detailed instruction must be requested in writing, at the time of the trial. See Clardy v. State, 87 Ga. App. 633, 638 (75 S. E. 2d 208); Family Fund Life Ins. Co. v. Rogers, 90 Ga. App. 278 (3) (82 S. E. 2d 870); Trammell v. State, 90 Ga. App. 357, 359 (82 S. E. 2d 888). The contention of the parties as stated in the pleadings, and frequently referred to by counsel, precludes reversal even if the court had omitted to charge the contentions of the defendant on each and every point. See Jones v. McElroy, 134 Ga. 857 (3) (68 S. E. 729, 137 Am. St. Rep. 276). However, we might add that the record concerning the defendant's contentions in special ground 1 shows that the evidence fully covers the allegations of the plaintiff. In such a situation any error or omission to charge is immaterial. See Higgins v. Trentham, 186 Ga. 264 (197 S. E. 862). Special ground 1 is not meritorious.
The court did not err in any of the rulings.
Judgment affirmed. Townsend and Carlisle, JJ., concur.
Sidney Haskins, contra.
Smith, Field, Doremus & Ringel, Sam F. Lowe, Jr., for plaintiff in error.
DECIDED NOVEMBER 24, 1959 -- REHEARING DENIED DECEMBER 16, 1959.
Saturday May 23 00:46 EDT


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