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U.S. Supreme Court

Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v. Woodson, 134 U.S. 614 (1890)

Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company v. Woodson

No. 1182

Submitted March 24, 1890

Decided April 7, 1890

134 U.S. 614


The statute of Tennessee which provides that "not more than two new trials shall be granted to any party in any action at law, or upon the trial by a jury of an issue of fact in equity," Code of 1884, 735, § 3835, having been construed by the courts of that state to refer to a state of case where, in the opinion of the court, the verdict should leave been otherwise than as rendered, because of the insufficiency of the evidence to sustain it -- and not to a case where there is no evidence at all to sustain it -- is not in conflict with the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, while the Fifth Amendment has no application to it.

It is settled law in this Court that when the evidence given at the trial, with all the inferences that the jury could justifiably draw from it, is insufficient to support a verdict for the plaintiff, so that such a verdict, if returned,

Page 134 U. S. 615

must be set aside, the court is not bound to submit the case to the jury, but may direct a verdict for the defendant, while, on the other hand, the case should be left to the jury unless the conclusion follows as matter of law that no recovery can be had upon any view which can be properly taken of the facts which the evidence tends to establish.

Motions to dismiss or affirm. The case is stated in the opinion.

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