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Law School Case Brief

Knickerbocker & Nev. Silver Mining Co. v. Hall - 3 Nev. 194 (1867)


A special verdict must expressly present all the material facts, so that nothing shall remain to the court but to draw from them the conclusions of law. Nevada Civil Practice Act, § 174. And such facts should be found, that the court may be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the conclusion which it draws from, and the judgment which it renders upon them, is correct and proper as between the parties. 


A mining company filed an action to recover money against a debtor under a contract agreed to by the parties where the debtor wrongfully and unlawfully converted the mining company's personal property. The mining company alleged the debtor wrongfully converted personal property of the mining company for the debtor's own personal use and benefit. The debtor agreed to pay the mining company, but failed to do so, thus, the mining company brought an action to recover the value of the property. The trial court granted judgment in favor of the mining company, but the debtor argued that the jury's verdict was defective.


Was a jury verdict awarding a mining company damages in its suit for conversion defective?




The court found that the express promise to pay a certain sum of money as damages for a tort previously committed created a contract upon which the mining company could sustain an action, but that the law would not presume a promise to pay from the tort itself. The court held that the jury's verdict was defective in that the jury made a special verdict finding only the value of the property. The court reversed the trial court's decision and found that although the jury assessed a sum, the trial court erred in concluding that the sum was the value of the property at the time of the conversion.

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