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Skousen v. Nidy

Supreme Court of Arizona

November 29, 1961

D. P. SKOUSEN, Appellant,
v.
Mariam NIDY, Appellee.

In Banc.

Rehearing Denied Jan. 3, 1962.

[90 Ariz. 216] Randall & Chatwin, Phoenix, for appellant

Brown & Brash, Phoenix, for appellee.

BERNSTEIN, Vice Chief Justice.

This was an action to recover damages for personal injuries received by Mariam

Page 249

Nidy (hereinafter called 'plaintiff') as a result of alleged indecent assaults inflicted upon her by D. P. Skousen (hereinafter called 'defendant'). A trial before a jury resulted in a verdict giving the plaintiff judgment for compensatory and punitive damages. The motions for judgment non obstante veredicto and new trial were denied and this appeal followed.

The facts in the light most favorable to sustaining the judgment are: The plaintiff, a woman about sixty-five years of age, was employed by the defendant in September 1955 in the capacity of caretaker of defendant's Kourt Karem Trailer Park in [90 Ariz. 217] Phoenix. During the course of such employment the defendant at various times made, with force and violence, indecent assaults upon the plaintiff. Such assaults consisted of the defendant placing his hand upon the private parts of the plaintiff and attempting to seduce her. The plaintiff resisted all such assaults. The defendant admitted that on one occasion he physically pushed the plaintiff. This conduct continued until shortly before the plaintiff was discharged from her employment on March 22, 1957.

The defendant has set out eight assignments of error for our consideration. No argument or authority is presented for assignment of error 7 or in support of various subassignments under assignments of error 4, 5, 6 and 8 and therefore they are considered abandoned. Middleton Restaurant Enterprises v. Tovrea Land and Cattle Co., 89 Ariz. 316, 361 P.2d 930 (1961). The remaining assignments of error raise essentially five issues.

The defendant contends that the court erred in permitting the plaintiff to ask the defendant about an act of misconduct which led to the latter's disbarment as an attorney. The defendant argues that while it is permissible to inquire as to the witness' disbarment, it is not permissible to prove the various acts of misconduct which led to the disbarment, and that if such proof is admitted it constitutes prejudicial error.

The specific question propounded to the defendant during cross-examination to which the defendant objects was:

'Q. Have you, or have you not, ever told, written or propounded a falsehood while under oath, either in open court or by an affidavit?

'Mr. Chatwin: I object to this question.

'The Court: He may answer.

'The Witness: Yes.

'Mr. Brown: I have no further ...


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