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San Juan Light & Transit Co. v. Requena, 224 U.S. 89 (1912)

San Juan Light & Transit Co. v. Requena

No. 96

Argued December 13, 1911

Decided March 18, 1912

224 U.S. 89


Denial by the trial court of a motion to strike from the complaint allegations as to exemplary damages does not harm defendant if the court instructs the jury that only compensatory, and not exemplary, damages can be recovered.

Where the parties, with the assent of the court, unite in trying a case on the theory that a particular matter is within the issues, that theory cannot be rejected when the case is in the appellate court for review. The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is that, when a thing which causes injury, without fault of the person injured, is shown to be under the exclusive control of defendant, and would not cause the damage in ordinary course if the party in control used proper care, it affords reasonable evidence, in absence of an explanation, that the injury arose from defendant's want of care.

The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur was rightly applied against defendant electric light company in the case of a person injured while adjusting an electric light in his residence by an electric shock transmitted

Page 224 U. S. 90

from the outside wire of the defendant company entirely without fault on his part and in manner which could not have happened had such outside wire been in proper condition.

Although an instruction may be subject to criticism standing alone, it may be unobjectionable if read in the light of what preceded and what followed it.

4 P.R. 356 affirmed.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

Page 224 U. S. 94

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