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IDS Property and Casualty Insurance Co. v. Fellows

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

April 3, 2017

IDS PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
CHARLES H. FELLOWS, Defendant.

          COURT'S JURY INSTRUCTIONS

          Thomas S. Zilly, United States District Judge.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 1

         Duty of Jury

         Members of the jury, now that you have heard all the evidence, it is my duty to instruct you on the law that applies to this case. These instructions will be in three parts: first, the instructions on general rules that define and control the jury's duties; second, the instructions that state the rules of law you must apply, i.e., what the plaintiff must prove to make the case; and third, some rules for your deliberations.

         It is your duty to find the facts from all the evidence in the case. To those facts you must apply the law as I give it to you. You must follow the law as I give it to you whether you agree with it or not. And you must not be influenced by any personal likes or dislikes, opinions, prejudices or sympathy. That means that you must decide the case solely on the evidence before you and according to the law. You will recall that you took an oath promising to do so at the beginning of the case.

         In following my instructions, you must follow all of them and not single out some and ignore others; they are all equally important. And you must not read into these instructions or anything I might have said or done any suggestion as to what verdict you should return. That is a matter entirely for you to decide.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 2

         Burden of Proof

         When a party has the burden of proof on any claim by a preponderance of the evidence, it means you must be persuaded by the evidence that the claim is more probably true than not true. In determining whether any fact in issue has been proved by a preponderance of the evidence, you should base your decision on all of the evidence, regardless of which party presented it.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 3

         Evidence

         The evidence from which you are to decide what the facts are consists of (1) the sworn testimony of witnesses, both on direct and cross-examination, regardless of who called the witness; (2) the exhibits which have been received into evidence; and (3) any facts to which all the lawyers have agreed or stipulated.

         You have also heard testimony in the form of depositions. This testimony is also evidence from which you are to decide the facts. You should draw no inference from whether these individuals were or were not physically present in court themselves.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 4

         Stipulated Facts

         During trial, the parties stipulated to certain facts. You should consider those facts in addition to other facts which were proved to you at trial.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 5

         What is Not Evidence

         In reaching your verdict you may consider only the testimony and exhibits received into evidence. Certain things are not evidence and you may not consider them in deciding what the facts are. I will list them for you:

         1. Arguments and statements by lawyers are not evidence. The lawyers are not witnesses. What they say in their opening statements, closing arguments and at other times is intended to help you interpret the evidence, but it is not evidence. If the facts as you remember them differ from the way the lawyers have stated them, your memory of them controls.

         2. Objections by lawyers are not evidence. Attorneys have a duty to their clients to object when they believe a question is improper under the rules of evidence. You should not be influenced by the objection or by the court's ruling on it.

         3. Testimony that has been excluded or stricken, or that you have been instructed to disregard, is not evidence and must not be considered. In addition, if testimony or exhibits have been received only for a limited purpose, you must follow the limiting instructions I have given.

         4. Anything you may have seen or heard when the court was not in session is not evidence. You are to decide the case solely on the evidence received at the trial.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 6

         Direct and Circumstantial Evidence

         Evidence may be direct or circumstantial. Direct evidence is direct proof of a fact, such as testimony by a witness about what the witness personally saw or heard or did. Circumstantial evidence is proof of one or more facts from which you could find another fact. You should consider both kinds of evidence. The law makes no distinction between the weight to be given to either direct or circumstantial evidence. It is for you to decide how much weight to give to any evidence.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 7

         Credibility of Witnesses

         In deciding the facts in this case, you might have to decide which testimony to believe and which testimony not to believe. You may believe everything a witness says, or part of it, or none of it.

         In considering the testimony of any witness, you may take into account:

1. the opportunity and ability of the witness to see or hear or know the things about which the witness testified;
2. the witness's memory;
3. the witness's manner while testifying;
4. the witness's interest in the outcome of the case and any bias or prejudice;
5. whether other evidence contradicted the witness's testimony;
6. the reasonableness of the witness's testimony in light of all the evidence; and
7. any other factors that bear on believability.

         In considering the testimony of Michaela Osborne, you may take into account that she received favored treatment from IDS in connection with this case. In evaluating Osborne's testimony, you should consider whether and, if so, the extent to which, her testimony might have been influenced by this factor.

         These are some of the factors you may consider in deciding whether to believe testimony.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 7 (page 2)

         The weight of the evidence presented by each side does not necessarily depend on the number of witnesses who testify.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 8

         Opinion Evidence

         You have heard testimony from persons who, because of education or experience, are permitted to state opinions and the reasons for their opinions.

         Opinion testimony should be judged just like any other testimony. You may accept it or reject it, and give it as much weight as you think it deserves, considering the witness's education and experience, the reasons given for the opinion, and all the other evidence in the case.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 9

         Corporations

         Under the law, a corporation is a person, but it can only act through its employees, agents, directors, or officers. The law therefore holds a corporation responsible for the acts of its employees, agents, directors, and officers, if but only if those acts are authorized. An act is authorized if it is a part of the ordinary course of employment of the person doing it.

         The fact that a party is a corporation should not affect your decision. All persons are equal before the law, and a corporation, whether large or small, is entitled to the same fair ...


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