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Lawskills.com Georgia Caselaw
BENSON v. AIKEN et al.
43302.
Trover. Brunswick City Court. Before Judge Little.
EBERHARDT, Judge.
1. A judgment reciting that a verdict has been returned in favor of the defendants and awarding costs against the plaintiff for use of the officers of the court in legal contemplation makes the verdict of the jury the judgment of the court and is a final judgment from which an appeal will lie.
2. Where a final judgment has been entered upon a verdict, there is no error in refusing to enter another.
After return of a verdict for the defendants in a trover action, the court on February 25, 1967, entered the following judgment: "The jury impaneled to try the within cause having found in favor of the defendants, it is hereby ordered, adjudged and decreed that the defendants do have and recover of and from the plaintiff and his attorney at law, Joseph B. Bergen, 1 for the use of the officers of this court, the sum of $99.40, being the costs of this proceeding."
Thereafter on March 21, 1967, plaintiff filed his notice of appeal "from the verdict of the jury trying the issues therein in favor of the defendants returned on February 25, 1967, and the judgment entered on said verdict on February 25, 1967," which he amended May 9, 1967, to include a full recital of the judgment itself, and which he voluntarily withdrew May 31, 1967.
On August 16, 1967, plaintiff filed his motion for an entry of judgment on the verdict, asserting that no appealable judgment had been entered thereon, and on September 6, 1967, the court entered its order reciting that the judgment entered February 25, 1967, was a final judgment on the verdict, affording to the defendants all the relief to which they were legally entitled and, in legal contemplation, making the verdict the judgment of the court, and declined to enter any further judgment in the matter.
From that order plaintiff filed his notice of appeal October 4, 1967, and his only enumeration of error is that "the trial court erred in failing to sustain plaintiff's motion to enter judgment on the verdict in favor of the defendants from which an appeal from such judgment call be made."
1. An appeal to this court lies only from some appealable judgment, ruling or order; it will not lie from a verdict. Interstate Fire Ins. Co. v. Chattam, 222 Ga. 436 (150 SE2d 618); Williams v. Keebler, 222 Ga. 437 (150 SE2d 674); Mundy v. Mundy, 114 Ga. App. 788 (152 SE2d 831). Consequently, the question now before us is whether the judgment of February 25, 1967, is sufficient as the basis for an appeal.
We conclude that it is. In our judgment the trial judge correctly concluded that the effect of the judgment was to make the verdict of the jury the judgment of the court, bringing an end to the litigation, and affording the defendants all of the relief to which they were lawfully entitled thereunder. Since there was no award of either money or property to the defendants by the verdict, but simply a denial of the plaintiff's claim against them, we perceive no addition necessary to the judgment to give it effect or to make it the judgment of the court on the verdict. No form for such a judgment is prescribed by statute, and strict formality is not essential to the validity of a judgment, but if the record is sufficient in substance mere want of technical terms will not render it either void or voidable. McWilliams v. Walthall, 65 Ga. 109. Every presumption is in favor of the validity of the judgment when rendered by a court having jurisdiction of the subject matter and of the parties, as was the case here. Mitchell v. Arnall, 203 Ga. 384 (47 SE2d 258). We must conclude that it was the purpose of the judgment of February 25 (as is recited in the order declining to enter a further judgment) to make the verdict of the jury the judgment of the court. It was thus a final judgment from which an appeal would lie.
2. Plaintiff misjudged the matter in withdrawing his notice of appeal from that judgment, seeking another and appealing from the order denying his motion for entry of another, rather than appealing from the first judgment. Having already entered a final judgment on the verdict, there was no error in declining to enter another.
Notes
1  See Code 24-3403.
Joseph B. Bergen, for appellant.
ARGUED JANUARY 8, 1968 -- DECIDED FEBRUARY 14, 1968.
Friday May 22 18:18 EDT


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