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Galloway v. United States

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Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Civil Procedure Keyed to Subrin

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 319 U.S. 372, 63 S. Ct. 1077, 87 L. Ed. 1458, 1943 U.S. 1118

Brief Fact Summary. The Petitioner, Galloway (Petitioner), claimed that his mental insanity was caused by his involvement in the military and sued the Government. The District Court granted the Government’s motion for a directed verdict and held for the Government, citing Petitioner’s lack of sufficient evidence to prove his claim. Petitioner appealed, stating that his Seventh Amendment of the United States Constitution (Constitution) right to a jury trial was denied because of the directed verdict.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Directed verdicts do not deprive litigants of their Seventh Amendment constitutional right to a jury trial.


Facts. Petitioner was a longshoreman before enlisting in the Army in 1917. From that point until 1922, Petitioner had an on and off history with the Army and Navy. In 1930 he began a series of medical examinations with the Veterans’ Bureau which labeled him as having psychosis. Petitioner claimed that he was now totally and permanently disabled by reason of insanity brought about by the strain of active service abroad. Petitioner alleged that his insanity had existed before May 31, 1919, the day on which his yearly renewable term insurance policy lapsed for nonpayment of the premium. To prove his case, Petitioner offered a series of six witnesses who knew him before and after service and would comment on his behavioral change. The Petitioner’s burden was to demonstrate by more than speculative inference that this condition began on or before May 31, 1919 and continuously existed or progressed until 1930. The Government motioned for a directed verdict and the District Court gra
nted it in favor of the Government stating Petitioner did not meet his burden with the evidence he presented. Petitioner claimed the directed verdict denied him his right to a jury trial. The Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s ruling.

Issue. Whether a directed verdict denied Petitioner the right to a jury trial.
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