Lincoln v. Power,
151 U.S. 436 (1894)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Lincoln v. Power, 151 U.S. 436 (1894)

Lincoln v. Power

No. 505

Submitted November 28, 1893

Decided January 29, 1894

151 U.S. 436


This Court cannot take notice of an assignment of error that the damages found by the jury were excessive and given under the influence of passion and prejudice.

An error in that respect is to be redressed by a motion for a new trial.

The evidence in this case was conflicting and would not have warranted the court in directing a verdict for the defendant.

It is not reversible error to permit a plaintiff, suing a municipality to recover for injuries received by reason of defects in its streets, to prove a bill or statement of the claim which had been served on the city council before commencement of the action.

The plaintiff in such an action may put in evidence sections of the municipal code.

The question whether the plaintiff was walking upon one part of the sidewalk, rather than another was properly left to the jury.

In such an action, it would be error to instruct the jury that

"where a dangerous hole is left in a sidewalk in a public street of a city over which there is a large amount of travel, the author will be liable for an injury resulting from the act, although other causes subsequently arising may contribute to the injury."

An assignment of error cannot be sustained because the judge expresses himself as impressed in favor of the one party or the other if the law is

Page 151 U. S. 437

correctly laid down and if the jury are left free to consider the evidence for themselves.

Judges of federal courts are not controlled in their manner of charging juries by state regulations, such part of their judicial action not being within the meaning of section 914 of the Revised Statutes.

This was an action brought at January Term, 1891, in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Nebraska, by Margaret J. Power, a citizen of the State of Iowa, against the City of Lincoln, a municipal corporation of the State of Nebraska, for personal injuries which the plaintiff incurred while passing along a street of said city, and which she alleged had been occasioned by the carelessness and negligence of the municipal authorities in permitting a hole or broken grating to remain in a sidewalk after having been notified of its existence.

The cause was tried before the district judge, sitting as circuit judge, and a jury, and resulted in a verdict and judgment in favor of the plaintiff for the sum of fifty-seven hundred dollars. The defendant, alleging error in the action of the court below in admitting certain matters in evidence offered in behalf of the plaintiff and in rejecting others offered in behalf of the defendant, and in certain instructions to the jury, brought a writ of error to this Court..

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