In Goodwin v. Gibbons (1767) 4 Burr. 2108, 98 Eng.Rep. 100, Lord Mansfield recognized that another new trial may be allowed after a new trial had been once granted previously, but ruled that in the case before him, there was no sufficient reason for granting a second new trial. Justice Hewitt, who concurred in the result observed that,
'* * * if two or three juries have determined upon the same point and the same circumstances, it may be a matter of discretion, not to grant a new trial, but to leave the matter at rest.'
In Clerk v. Udall (1702) 2 Salk. 649, 91 Eng.Rep. 552, a new trial was granted on the ground that the damages awarded by the jury were excessive. The second jury, however, gave the same damages. A third new trial was denied, 'because there ought to be an end of things.'
In Chambers v. Robinson (1726) 2 Strange 691, 93 Eng.Rep. 787, a verdict for was returned in an action for malicious prosecution. A new trial was granted on the ground that the damages were excessive. At the second trial the same damages were again awarded. The Court denied a motion for another new trial.
In Swinnerton v. Marquis of Stafford (1810) 3 Taunt. 233, 128 Eng.Rep. 92, two successive juries had found a verdict for the same party. The Court declined to grant a third new trial. In its opinion, the Court made the following observation:
'Even if, on nicely scrutinizing all the evidence, we had a doubt whether the verdict was right, it could be never right for us to make no weight of two verdicts of a jury, in order to take the chance of a third.'
Passing to a consideration of Federal cases, we find that Mr. Chief Justice Fuller in Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co. v. Woodson, 134 U.S. 614, 623, 10 S. Ct. 628, 631, 33 L. Ed. 1032, observed that.
'Courts rarely grant a new trial after two verdicts upon the facts in favor of the same party.'
While this remark was obitor, nevertheless, it has been quoted on occasion as representing the general tendency of the Federal courts on this point.
In Milliken v. Ross, C.C.E.D.La., 9 F. 855, the Court had set aside a verdict of a jury, but at the second trial, the second jury concurred with the first upon substantially the same testimony. The Court expressed the view that in such event the Court should defer to the second verdict, and declined to grant another new trial. In support of this conclusion it cited the decision in Swinnerton v. Marquis of Stafford, supra.
In Joyce v. Charleston Ice Mfg. Co., C.C.D.S.C., 50 F. 371, the Court also expressed the opinion that after two concurring verdicts, the Court should not ordinarily grant another new trial if the questions to be tried depended wholly on matters of fact. A motion for a third trial was denied.
This question came before the old Supreme Court of the District of Columbia in the case of In re Will of Hoover, 8 Mackey 495, 510. The case involved a will contest. The jury had rendered a verdict setting aside the will and a new trial was granted. The second jury reached the same result. The Court declined to grant another new trial and its action was approved on appeal.
In the case at bar, the fact that two juries made substantially the same award on practically the same evidence leads the Court in the exercise of its discretion not to disturb the second verdict. The defendant has had an opportunity to present the matter to two juries. Both juries agreed. Substantial justice has been done. Interest reipublicae ut sit finis litium.
It is also urged that the jury acted contrary to law in that allegedly it failed to follow the court's instructions excluding one item of damages. Since, however, the jury rendered a general verdict for a lump sum, and such matters as pain and suffering, as well as the effect of the permanent partial disability, formed important aspects of the plaintiff's claim, it is impossible to determine whether the jury disregarded the instructions of the Court in respect to another item that the court had excluded.
The motion for a new trial is denied.