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Karriker v. Sigmon

Filed: October 2, 1979.

FANNIE KARRIKER, PLAINTIFF
v.
ROBERT ODELL SIGMON, DEFENDANT



Appeal by plaintiff from Seay, Judge. Judgment entered 11 August 1978 in Superior Court, Rowan County. Heard in the Court of Appeals 20 September 1979.

Erwin, Judge. Judges Vaughn and Hill concur.

Erwin

The record reveals that the attorney for defendant, in his argument to the jury, made the following statements over the objection of plaintiff:

"'The plaintiff was not hurt. The auto was in her name and she did not sue for damage to her car. This shows you there was little or no damage to the car. She would have sued for the damage if there had been any.'

He also argued:

'This is a case that should not be here. The defendant made an effort to dispose of the matter, but plaintiff would not be reasonable.'"

Plaintiff contends that the argument was improper and prejudicial to her. We agree and award the plaintiff a new trial.

We are aware of the general rule in this State that the comments of counsel during argument to the jury must be left, ordinarily, to the sound discretion of the judge who tries the case; and this Court will not review his discretion, unless it is apparent that the impropriety of counsel was gross and well calculated to prejudice the jury. Lamborn v. Hollingsworth, 195 N.C. 350, 142 S.E. 19 (1928).

Plaintiff relies on Crutcher v. Noel, 284 N.C. 568, 572, 201 S.E.2d 855, 857, reh. denied, 285 N.C. 597 (1974), wherein our Supreme Court stated:

"The general rule is that counsel may argue all the evidence to the jury, with such inferences as may be drawn

therefrom; but he may not 'travel outside of the record' and inject into his argument facts of his own knowledge or other facts not included in the evidence. Cuthrell v. Greene, 229 N.C. 475, 50 S.E.2d 525; State v. Little, 228 N.C. 417, 45 S.E.2d 542; and ...


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