Civil Procedure Keyed to Friedenthal
Dice v. Akron, Canton & Youngstown R. Co
Plaintiff Dice, a railroad employee, sued Defendant Akron, Canton & Youngstown R. Co. in Ohio state court under FELA for injuries sustained on the job. Defendant asserted that Plaintiff had signed a release. Plaintiff argued that Defendant told Plaintiff that the “release” was a receipt for back wages and Plaintiff never consented to release Defendant of liability. This issue as well as the issues of liability was presented to the jury. The jury returned a verdict for Plaintiff. The trial judge reversed the judgment notwithstanding the verdict on the grounds that Plaintiff could read and was of reasonable intelligence so that he could not argue that the release was not binding. The intermediate appellate court reversed, stating federal law applied and that the judge could not reverse the jury’s verdict because there was enough evidence of Defendant’s fraud. The Supreme Court of Ohio reversed the intermediate appellate court, stating that Ohio law applied and that under Ohio law, a person of reasonable intelligence that can read must be bound by the signed release notwithstanding Defendant’s false statements and that facts pertaining to fraud are decided by the judge and not the jury. Plaintiff appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.
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