Laber v. Cooper - 74 U.S. 565 (1868)
U.S. Supreme Court
Laber v. Cooper, 74 U.S. 7 Wall. 565 565 (1868)
Laber v. Cooper
74 U.S. (7 Wall.) 565
1. The fact that no replication is put in to two of three special pleas raising distinct defenses is not a matter for reversal, the case having been tried below as if the pleadings had been perfect and in form.
2. Nor that such pleas have concluded to the court instead of to the country, the matter not having been brought in any way to the attention of the court below.
3. Nor, under similar omission, that the language of the verdict in such a case is that we find the "issue," &c., instead of the "issues."
4. The fact that testimony was objected to and received does not oblige this
Court to consider it, the record not showing that the objection was overruled and exception taken.
5. It is not error to refuse to give instructions asked for, even if correct in point of law, provided those given cover the entire case and submit it properly to the jury.
6. The overruling of a motion for a new trial cannot be made the subject of review by this Court.
Cooper sued Laber in the court below. His declaration contained two counts upon a promissory note made by Laber to a certain railroad company or its order and endorsed, as was alleged, to the plaintiff. It contained also the common counts.
The defendant pleaded the general issue and three special pleas.
The first averred that there was no consideration for the note and that it was obtained from the defendant by fraudulent misrepresentations, and that these facts were known to the plaintiff when he took it.
The second denied the endorsement of the note as averred in the first count.
The third was to the same effect as to the endorsement averred in the second count.
All the special pleas, though thus denying only what the plaintiff alleged and not containing either new matter or a special traverse, concluded with a verification, and not to the country.
To the first of them the plaintiff replied denying his alleged knowledge of fraudulent misrepresentations. To the second and third no replications were filed. With the pleadings in this state, the case went to trial and was tried as if the pleadings had been in form and perfect.
Among the testimony given by the defendant relating to both the allegation of fraudulent misrepresentation and to the matter of endorsement was that of one Durand. The admission of part of this (not necessary to be stated, in view of the decision of this Court that it was not properly
brought before it), was objected to by the defendant, but it was nevertheless admitted, and this was all that the bill of exceptions disclosed about the matter. No exception to it appeared on the bill.
A request for certain specific instructions, as the record showed, was made by the defendants. The court refused to give them, but charged the jury clearly upon the whole case, fully presenting in the charge its views upon both the subjects presented by the special pleas, and which were in fact the only grounds of the controversy. It is not necessary for the reporter to state the case at large on which the charge was given, nor the instructions asked, nor the charge itself, this Court considering [Footnote 1] that the report would shed no new light on any legal principle.
The language of the verdict was thus:
"We, the jury, find the issue for the plaintiff, and assess his damages to the sum of $7,192."
A motion for a new trial was made and overruled and judgment entered upon the verdict.
The defendant excepted to the refusal to charge as prayed, to different passages in the charge as given, and to the overruling of his motion for a new trial.
The record contained a hundred and seventy-five pages, of which more than four-sevenths was taken up by the bill of exceptions.