On appeal from the Supreme Court, whose opinion is reported in 134 N.J.L. 362.
For the plaintiff-appellant, Leo Rosenblum.
For the defendant-respondent, George D. McLaughlin (Philip M. Lustbader, of counsel).
The opinion of the court was delivered by
OLIPHANT, CHANCELLOR. This is an action in negligence seeking damages for personal injuries sustained by the appellant while on the premises of the respondent when a steam boiler owned and operated by the respondent exploded. A jury in the Hudson Pleas returned a verdict in favor of the appellant and against the respondent for $8,500 and costs, and a final judgment was entered thereon.
Prior to the rendition of this verdict the jury had previously come in and returned the following verdict:
"The Foreman: Your Honor, we the jury find that the plaintiff, Frank Salvato, has cause for action in the amount of $5,000 plus medical, legal and court costs."
The court then instructed it as follows:
"Well, the court at this time might say to you, members of the jury, that your verdict must be in one sum and not carry with it any particular condition. You must determine that sum, including any hospital bills, medicines, other charges and expenses incurred by the plaintiff. So that you may return and consider of your verdict. But your verdict must be in a lump sum in which is included the medical expenses, hospital bills, doctors' bills and any other bills which have been submitted to you under the evidence."
The jury retired again and returned the aforesaid verdict for $8,500. Counsel for the respondent was not present when the verdicts were returned and the jury discharged. It was not until the next day that counsel asked for and was granted an exception by the trial court to the supplementary charge.
Application was made for a rule to show cause assigning the following reasons: (1) the verdict was the result of bias, prejudice, passion, mistake and grossly excessive; (2) the verdict was contrary to the charge of the court and included
an improper or illegal element of damage; (3) the verdict was excessive. A rule to ...