Burke v. Schaffner

114 Ohio App. 3d 655, 683 N.E.2d 861 (1996)



When considering a motion for a directed verdict, the evidence adduced at trial and the facts established by admissions in the pleadings and in the record must be construed most strongly in favor of the party against whom the motion is made, and, where there is substantial evidence to support his side of the case, upon which reasonable minds may reach different conclusions, the motion must be denied. Neither the weight of the evidence nor the credibility of the witnesses is for the court's determination.


Appellant brought an action against the driver and the passenger to recover from injuries sustained when he was pinned by the driver's truck. Appellant settled his claim with the driver and tried his case against the passenger. Appellant did not call the passenger as a witness, and the passenger offered no evidence. Appellant's motions for a directed verdict and to reopen his case to call the passenger as a witness were denied, and the trial court entered judgment in favor of the passenger. On review, the court affirmed.


Did the trial court err in its denial of appellant's motion for a directed verdict?




A directed verdict was not warranted because reasonable minds could have differed as to whether the passenger negligently caused the injuries by stepping on the truck's accelerator; (2) the doctrine of alternative liability did not apply to shift to the passenger the burden of proving that she did not cause the harm because appellant claimed that only the passenger acted tortiously, to the exclusion of the driver; (3) because the burden did not shift from appellant, the passenger was not required to present any evidence that she did not cause the harm; and (4) appellant was required to present all of his evidence during his case in chief.

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