Parks v. Turner
53 U.S. 39 (1851)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Parks v. Turner, 53 U.S. 12 How. 39 39 (1851)

Parks v. Turner

53 U.S. (12 How.) 39

Syllabus

In Louisiana, the supreme court of the state reviews the questions of fact as well as of law which are brought up from the courts below, and when it reverses a judgment upon either ground, it gives the judgment which the inferior court ought to have given.

But when a case is brought before this Court by a writ of error, it can only review questions of law, and therefore, where the validity of a verdict of a jury is brought into question, the practice which prevails in the state courts of Louisiana is inapplicable in the courts of the United States.

Hence, where the jury found a verdict in general terms for the plaintiff in a suit upon a promissory note without finding the amount due, which the laws and practice of Louisiana require them to do, and the court then gave judgment for the amount of the note, this would have been adjudged to be a cause of reversal of the judgment by the supreme court of the state, but cannot be so held by this Court.

The sufficiency of the verdict must be judged by the rules of the common law and the statutes of the United States, and not by the laws and practice of Louisiana. The Act of 1824, 4 Stat. 62, does not include such a case.

By the common law, although a judgment in such a case might not have been strictly proper, yet under a power of amending the verdict, the judgment can stand because, the plea having been that no consideration was given for the note and the verdict being for the plaintiff, it necessarily found that the whole amount was due.

The 32d section of the Judiciary Act provides for this case by enjoining upon this Court to disregard niceties of form, and so it was decided in 41 U. S. 16 Pet. 321.

The Constitution of Louisiana requires the state judges to give reasons for their decisions, but this is not operative upon the judges of the circuit court of the United States. On the contrary, their reasons form no part of the record when the case is brought up to this Court.

The plaintiffs, Turner & Renshaw, sued the defendant Parks in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District at New Orleans to recover $5,969.22, due by promissory note executed by Parks to the plaintiffs. After exceptions overruled,

Page 53 U. S. 40

the case was submitted to a jury, who returned the following verdict:

"We, the jury, find for the plaintiff."

"New Orleans, May 14, 1849."

"H. R. WOOD, Foreman"

which, on motion, was set aside, and the case submitted to another jury, which returned the following verdict:

"We, the jury, find for the plaintiff."

"GEO. M. PINCKARD, Foreman"

"New Orleans, 15 May, 1849."

On which verdict the following judgment was entered:

"In conformity with the prayer of the petition and the verdict of the jury, it is ordered, adjudged, and decreed that the plaintiffs, Turner & Renshaw, recover from the defendant, George W. Parks, the sum of five thousand nine hundred and sixty-nine dollars and twenty-two cents, with interest thereon at the rate of six percent per annum from the first day of January, A.D., 1848, until final payment, and costs of every nature."

"Judgment signed 19 May, 1848."

"[Signed] THEO. H. McCALEB, U.S. Judge"

Parks sued out a writ of error and brought the case up to this Court.

Page 53 U. S. 42

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