Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiff’s wife bringing suit to get total disability for her veteran husband. Plaintiffs lose in trial court after the court accepts Defendant’s motion for a directed verdict, which Plaintiff challenges.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
A directed verdict does not violate the Seventh Amendment.
It permits expert opinion to have the force of fact when based on facts which sustain it.View Full Point of Law
Plaintiff Galloway served in the military from 1917-1922 and claimed to have psychological problems from his time serving in France in 1918. Years later he applied for total disability but was denied. Plaintiff’s wife brought suit. At the close of evidence during trial, the district court granted Defendant United States’ motion for a directed verdict. The court of appeals affirmed and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Does a directed verdict violate the Seventh Amendment?
No, a directed verdict does not violate the Seventh Amendment. The holding below is affirmed.
Justice Justice Black with Justices Douglas and Murphy dissenting
A motion for a directed verdict should only be granted when there is no evidence of a genuine dispute of material fact. It is not the role of the court to make determinations based on credibility of witnesses as the court did here. That is for the jury to decide. There is substantial evidence that Plaintiff may actually suffer from a total and permanent mental disability and he should be allowed to present other evidence relating to his mental status at a new trial.