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Instructions Based on Evidence: Cases Summarized

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 Instructions Based on Evidence and the related topic of personal injury. For more information on jury instructions see the pages on Wikipedia.

Instructions Based On Evidence-Cases

2007 Sullivan v. Robertson Drug Co., 273 Va. 84, 639 S.E.2d 250.

Physician in this case settled malpractice case and then sued pharmacist for contribution. Pharmacist failed to present any evidence indicating that the settlement was not reasonable and, as such, the pharmacist was not entitled to a jury instruction on the issue of reasonableness. The trial court erred in submitting that issue to the jury for decision.

2006 Thornton v. Glazer, 271 Va. 566, 628 S.E.2d 327.

Plaintiff offered a standard adverse witness instruction that was justified by the evidence. It was error on the part of the trial court to refuse it.

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

Defendant claimed error for failure to grant instruction on contributory negligence. When appellate court is reviewing failure to give jury instruction, the evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to the proponent of the instruction. In this case as in any case, there must be more than a scintilla of evidence to support the instruction. In this case, the plaintiff was traveling in the right lane. The tractor trailer driven by the defendant was in the left lane and then moved to the center lane and then moved into the right lane, according to the evidence, depriving the plaintiff of any opportunity to avoid the tractor trailer. There was no basis for a contributory negligence instruction.

2004 Schlimmer v. Poverty Hunt Club, 268 Va. 74, 597 S.E.2d 43.

Plaintiff shot by another hunter while both were hunting. Shooter was charged with violation of Va. Code § 18.2-56.1(a) making it unlawful for any person to handle recklessly any firearm so as to endanger life, limb, or property of any person. Shooter pleaded guilty to that charge. At trial, plaintiff asked for jury instruction on negligence per se. If offered instruction finds any support in credible evidence, its refusal is reversible error. That applied in this case where plaintiff met elements of negligence per se by presenting evidence that shooter violated a statute enacted for public safety, that plaintiff belonged to class of persons for whose benefit the statute was enacted, the harm suffered was of a type against which the statute was designed to protect and the statutory violation is a cause of the injury. The elements of whether the statute was enacted for public safety and whether the plaintiff was a member of the class of persons for whose benefit the statute was enacted and suffered an injury of the type against which the statute protects are issues decided by the court. The issue of whether the statutory violation was a cause of the injury is a factual issue. Likewise, if the violation of the statute is in dispute, that issue is also for the jury. In this case, it was reversible error not to grant instruction.

1989 Russell v. Branch Motor Express, 237 Va. 20, 375 S.E.2d 722.

Giving instruction saying that motorist is entitled to assume that other motorists will drive in lawful manner is error when evidence is conflicting as to what course of action this driver was actually taking. Instruction in this case only takes account of portion of evidence.

1988 Van Buren v. Simmons, 235 Va. 46, 365 S.E.2d 746.

Instructions should not be given if there is no evidence tending to prove facts upon which they are based.

1983 Pullen v. Nickens, 226 Va. 342, 310 S.E.2d 452.

Court in this case found that Va. Code § 46.1-248 [now § 46.2-891] exempted employee of highway department from finding of negligence per se, and instead common law standard of reasonable care applied. Court, in instructing jury, set forth abstract principles of negligence without relating them to any specific act of negligence on part of that defendant. Supreme Court said instruction should be based upon evidence in case rather than upon general principles of negligence.

1982 Exxon Corp. v. Fulgham, 224 Va. 235, 294 S.E.2d 894.

Instruction may not be given unless supported by evidence at trial.

1972 Meade v. Belcher, 212 Va. 796, 188 S.E.2d 211.

Instructions based on evidence.Parties are entitled to have jury instructed on their theory of case.

1970 Crawford & Perdue v. Quarterman, 210 Va. 598, 172 S.E.2d 739.

Before party is entitled to instruction there must be more than scintilla of evidence.

1965 Tomlin v. Worley, 206 Va. 344, 143 S.E.2d 866.

More than scintilla of evidence is required in order to serve as factual foundation for instruction.

1965 Burnette v. McDonald, 206 Va. 186, 142 S.E.2d 495.

Instructions based on evidence presented in case and if, when so read, they are not misleading, no prejudicial error is committed.

1962 Smith v. Pottsten Co., 203 Va. 711, 127 S.E.2d 79.

Instructions based on evidence and not be based on partial view of evidence.

1960 Cooper v. Pickett, 202 Va. 65, 116 S.E.2d 52.

Instructions should not contain argument. Defendant offered instruction that he was not insurer of safety of plaintiff. No such contention was made by plaintiff and there was no reason to think that jury would assume defendant was insurer.

1960 Parker v. Leavitt, 201 Va. 919, 114 S.E.2d 732.

Instructions based on evidence and facts.

1960 Baker v. Richardson, 201 Va. 834, 114 S.E.2d 599.

Instructions based on evidence. Finding instruction should fully cover all facts and circumstances of case.

1958 Williams Paving Co. v. Kreidl, 200 Va. 196, 104 S.E.2d 758.

Instruction based on partial and misleading view of evidence should not be given.

1957 Bogstad v. Hope, 199 Va. 453, 100 S.E.2d 745.

Instruction that sets forth abstract statement of law, in this case relating to contributory negligence, is properly refused.

1955 Newell v. Riggins, 197 Va. 490, 90 S.E.2d 150.

Reversible error to instruct on issues of contributory negligence, concurring negligence and unavoidable accident, there being no evidence on which such instructions could be based.

1953 Kidd & Taylor v. Little, 194 Va. 692, 74 S.E.2d 787.

Instructions based on evidence.Defendant is entitled to have instructions based on testimony of his own witnesses or his adversary’s witnesses or testimony of his adversary even though such testimony be at variance with his own.

1952 Selfe v. Hale, 193 Va. 543, 69 S.E.2d 434.

Instructions based on evidence.Each party is entitled to have instruction based on his theory of case if there is evidence to support it.

1949 Williams v. Blue Bird Cab Co., 189 Va. 402, 52 S.E.2d 868.

Instructions based on evidence; may present factual theories of parties, but in doing so, they must be supported by evidence. One instruction which is technically insufficient but in which no positive misstatement of law is made may be aided and rendered sufficient by correct, full and explicit explanation and direction to jury by another instruction.

1948 Hamilton v. Glemming, 187 Va. 309, 46 S.E.2d 438.

Instructions based on evidence and should be clear, complete and without conflict.

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

Instructions based on evidence and should not be given when there is no evidence tending to prove facts upon which it is based.

1943 VEPCO v. Courtney, 182 Va. 175, 27 S.E.2d 917.

Instructions bases on evidence and jury cannot be allowed to speculate how accident may have happened.

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