Brief Fact Summary. The Appellant, J.F. White Contracting Company (Appellant), attempted to appeal a lower court decision by citing an error in instructions given to the jury.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. In order for an appeal to be considered, the error in the lower court must have affected the substantial rights of the parties or the verdict.
Issue. Whether a trial court’s action in submitting a questionable issue to the jury was error enough to affect the verdict of the substantial rights of the parties.
Held. No. While the court’s action in submitting the “out-of -roundness” issue to the jury was error, the court was not persuaded that there was even a remote possibility that this error affected the verdict or the substantial rights of the parties.
Discussion. As to the Appellant’s contract provision argument, the court could not consider the issue on appeal because the Appellant did not plead it as an affirmative defense nor raised it in the District Court.
Though the court admitted that the lower court’s submittance of the roundness issue to the jury was error, it asserted that the Appellant never complained that the error affected the substantial rights of the parties. Neither side brought it up nor considered it. The court’s instructions on damages had been proper and the Court of Appeals held that there was no reason to suspect that the jury did not properly follow the instructions.