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Appeal Harmless Error

This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Appeal Harmless Error and the related topic of personal injury.    For more information on appeal see the page on Wikipedia.

Appeal Harmless Error-Cases

2006 Riverside Hosp., Inc. v. Johnson, 272 Va. 518, 636 S.E.2d 416.

Appeal harmless error.A jury verdict based on an erroneous instruction need not be set aside if it is clear that the jury was not misled.

2004 Dandridge v. Marshall, 267 Va. 591, 594 S.E.2d 578.

Appeal harmless error.Error is presumed prejudicial unless the record clearly shows that the error could not have effected the result.

2004 Rose v. Jaques, 268 Va. 137, 597 S.E.2d 64.

Appeal harmless error.Defendant sought to offer plaintiff’s employment records. Trial court excluded them on grounds that there were questions as to reliability of the documents. Without deciding whether or not the documents were admissible, this was harmless error because there was testimony from other sources about plaintiff’s salary, her continuing education, and her graduation from college. These are all things that the defendant sought to offer through these records. As such, the error was harmless.

2002 Johnson v. Raviotta, 264 Va. 27, 563 S.E.2d 727.

Appeal harmless error.Where evidence and instruction have erroneously been submitted to the jury and the record does not reflect whether such evidence and instruction form the basis of the jury verdict we must presume that the jury relied on such evidence and instruction in making its decision.

1999 Rosen v. Greifenberger, 257 Va. 373, 513 S.E.2d 861.

Plaintiff underwent abortion procedure. During procedure, doctor determined that pregnancy was more advanced than had been previously disclosed and was not able to complete procedure. Patient was sent home with medication with expectation by physician that follow-up would be by one of his partners. That evening, the physician left town without telling patient. Patient had been a patient of this medical group for some time and was experienced with all of physicians in the group. As such, there was no basis for abandonment instruction. Giving of an erroneous instruction is not harmless. If issue is presented to jury, supreme court assumes that jury decided case based upon that issue and as such, verdict for plaintiff in this case must be reversed.

1995 Clohessy v. Weiler, 250 Va. 249, 462 S.E.2d 94.

Appeal Harmless Error.Automobile accident wherein auto struck pedestrian walking on right side of road at night. Motorist had stopped before accident to remove something from antennae and had turned lights off and failed to turn lights back on. Interior window became fogged and as a result defendant did not see plaintiff on side of road. This simply constituted ordinary negligence and not willful and wanton negligence. Since jury was improperly instructed on this issue, verdict must be reversed. The court was unable to determine on what issue jury returned verdict for plaintiff and since this issue was erroneously submitted to jury, court presumed the jury decided case upon that issue.

1968 Breeding v. Johnson, 208 Va. 652, 159 S.E.2d 836.

Appeal harmless error.Appellant must show error of substantial nature and reasonable probability that he was harmed by it. There is no presumption that error is harmless.

1959 Peck Iron Co. v. Seaboard, 200 Va. 698, 107 S.E.2d 421.

Erroneous ruling on instructions relating to measure or quantum of damages is harmless when there is verdict for defendant.

1957 Burks v. Webb, 199 Va. 296, 99 S.E.2d 629.

All instructions must be read in light of all evidence and if so read they are not misleading and technical errors will not be regarded as prejudicial.

1954 Burton v. Oldfield, 195 Va. 544, 79 S.E.2d 660.

Appeal harmless error.Plaintiff offered instruction on assumption of risk that was quite similar to that given by court. Under circumstances, plaintiff could not complain that instruction given by court was unduly favorable to defendant.

1952 Messick v. Barham, 194 Va. 382, 73 S.E.2d 530.

While some instructions may be erroneous, if by looking at evidence as whole no other verdict than one rendered could have been given, then verdict will not be set aside. Instruction which imposes on party obligation to not make move until such can be made in safety is erroneous because it makes that party insurer.

1947 Gary v. Artist, 186 Va. 616, 43 S.E.2d 833.

All error is presumed to be prejudicial and where conflicting instructions are given, court is without psychic power to say which influenced jury. Verdict against defendant is reversed.

1943 Kroger Grocery v. Dunn, 181 Va. 390, 25 S.E.2d 254.

Judgment ought not to be reversed for admission of evidence or for statement of counsel, which court afterwards directs jury to disregard unless there is manifest probability of prejudice.

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