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Diniero v. United States Lines Co. Case Brief

Summary of Diniero v. United States Lines Co.

Facts: P was a sailor aboard a ship operated by D.  P filed suit against D claiming he had suffered permanent injury to his back as a result of his shipboard duties.  The judge submitted the case to the jury in the form of 8 written interrogatories.  During deliberations, the jury sent the judge several notes asking for clarification on the first question.  The judge attempted to clarify but the jury was still unable to reach a verdict.  Four hours later, the jury sent the judge a note saying they did not think agreement was possible.  The judge withdrew the interrogatories and asked if they could reach a general verdict.  After another four hours, the jury reached a verdict in favor or P.  D appealed claiming that since the interrogatories were already submitted; the withdrawal of the them was not authorized and was an abuse of discretion of the Judge’s part.

Issue: Is the withdrawal of written interrogatories that have already been submitted to the jury an abuse of discretion by the trial judge?

Rule: The withdrawal of written interrogatories that have already been submitted to the jury is not an abuse of discretion by the trial judge.

Application: Withdrawing all of the questions was an attempt to eliminate confusion, not an attempt to bias the jury therefore it was done properly.

Conclusion: Judgment affirmed.



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