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Galloway v. United States

Supreme Court of the United States

March 9, 1943, Argued ; May 24, 1943, Decided

No. 553

Opinion

 [*372]   [**1078]   [***1461]  MR. JUSTICE RUTLEDGE delivered the opinion of the Court.

Petitioner seeks benefits for total and permanent disability by reason of insanity he claims existed May 31, 1919. On that day his policy of yearly renewable term insurance lapsed for nonpayment of premium. 1

 [****3]   [*373]  The suit was filed June 15, 1938.  At the close of all the evidence, the District Court  [**1079]  granted the Government's motion for a directed verdict. Judgment was entered accordingly. The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. 130 F.2d 467. Both courts held the evidence legally insufficient to sustain a verdict for petitioner. He says this was erroneous and, in effect, deprived him of trial by jury, contrary to the Seventh Amendment.

The constitutional argument, as petitioner has made it, does not challenge generally the power of federal courts to withhold or withdraw from the jury cases in which the claimant puts forward insufficient evidence to  [***1462]  support a verdict. 2 The contention is merely that his case as made was substantial, the courts' decisions to the contrary were wrong, and therefore their effect has been to deprive him of a jury trial. Petitioner relies particularly upon Halliday v. United States, 315 U.S. 94, and Berry v. United States, 312 U.S. 450, citing also Gunning v. Cooley, 281 U.S. 90. These cases and others relied upon are distinguishable upon the facts,  [****4]  as will appear. Upon the record and the issues as the parties have made them, the only question is whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain a verdict for petitioner. On that basis, we think the judgments must be affirmed.

Certain facts are undisputed. Petitioner worked as a longshoreman in Philadelphia and elsewhere prior to enlistment  [*374]  in the Army November 1, 1917. 3 He became a cook in a machine gun battalion. His unit arrived in France in April, 1918. He served actively until September 24. From then to the following January he was in a hospital with influenza. He then returned to active duty. He came back to the United States, and received honorable discharge April 29, 1919. He enlisted in the Navy January 15, 1920, and was discharged for bad conduct in July. The following December he again enlisted in the Army and served until May 1922, when he deserted. Thereafter he was carried on the Army records as a deserter.

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319 U.S. 372 *; 63 S. Ct. 1077 **; 87 L. Ed. 1458 ***; 1943 U.S. LEXIS 1118 ****

GALLOWAY v. UNITED STATES

Prior History:  [****1]  CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.

 CERTIORARI, 317 U.S. 622, to review the affirmance of a judgment upon a verdict directed for the Government in a suit to recover benefits under a contract of war risk insurance.

Disposition:  130 F.2d 467, affirmed.

CORE TERMS

insanity, cases, Army, directed verdict, permanent disability, jury trial, common law, courts, disability, new trial, soldiers, deprive, demurrer to evidence, five year, appearance, depression, symptoms, weighing, disease, continuance, speculation, enlistment, suffering, juries, directed verdict motion, federal court, no evidence, civil case, alternating, deposition

Constitutional Law, Bill of Rights, Fundamental Rights, Trial by Jury in Civil Actions, Evidence, Testimony, Expert Witnesses, General Overview