Civil Procedure – Trial Practice – Consecutive Motions for Directed Verdict

Plaintiff brought an action to recover arrearages in rent. At the conclusion of the evidence, plaintiff and then defendant made motions for a directed verdict. The trial court held that where both parties make a motion to direct a verdict, it is the duty of the court to decide the case on its merits and accordingly found in favor of the plaintiff. Defendant immediately moved to amend his motion to attach a reservation which would have the issues submitted to a jury, but the amendment was disallowed. The appellate court reversed the judgment, finding prejudice to defendant since the trial court ruled without having passed on either motion and without allowing defendant reasonable opportunity to request submission of the facts to the jury. On appeal, held, affirmed, with cause remanded to the trial court, one judge dissenting. Where at the close of all the evidence presented each party moves for a directed verdict, the parties do not clothe the court with the functions of a jury, but merely request rulings on separate questions of law unless there is an express waiver of jury trial by both parties. Carter-Jones Lumber Co. v. Eblen, 167 Ohio St. 189, 147 N.E. (2d) 486 (1958).