The court erred in overruling the plaintiff's motion for a new trial based on the court's refusal to qualify the jury as to the defendant's liability insurance carrier.
The instant case was set for trial at the April term of Pickens Superior Court. Such term opened at 10 a.m., April 7, 1952. The case was called for trial at 1 p.m. on the same day. Both sides having announced ready, the court proceeded to qualify the jury as to relationship to the parties. Immediately after such qualification counsel for the plaintiff stated to the court that the defendant carried liability insurance with the Georgia Casualty Company and that the defendant's counsel had been notified to produce the defendant's insurance policy, and moved the court to qualify the jury as to such company. This statement and motion were made in the presence and within the hearing of the defendant's counsel and the facts were not controverted by such counsel. In reply to the motion the court stated that he had already qualified all jurors then in attendance in the court at 10 a.m. that morning, at the opening of the term, as to their relationship to any stockholder in or to their having any stock or other interest in or to their employment by any liability insurance company, such as the United States Fidelity Company, National Surety Company, Glens Falls Indemnity Company, or other like company, and that none of the jurors in attendance on the court, these being the same jurors serving at the call of the case, disqualified himself. The court overruled the motion to so qualify the jury and the case proceeded to trial and terminated in a verdict for the defendant. The plaintiff's motion for a new trial based on the refusal to qualify the jury as to the Georgia Casualty Company at the call of the case was denied, and the plaintiff excepts.
The court's qualification of the jury at the opening of the term did not have the effect of qualifying the jury as to the Georgia Casualty Company in the instant case. The qualification did not mention the Georgia Casualty Company. It mentioned by name several liability insurance companies and referred to "other like" companies. The plaintiff had the right to have the jury qualified as to the Georgia Casualty Company specifically and we feel that a mere reference to "other like" companies did not sufficiently meet the requirement under that right, over the objection of the plaintiff. In view of this, the court erred in refusing to qualify the jury as to the Georgia Casualty Company upon the motion of the plaintiff at the call of the case for trial. Rogers v. McKinley, 52 Ga. App. 161, 164 (182 S. E. 805); Atlanta Coach Co. v. Cobb, 178 Ga. 544 (1) (174 S. E. 131); Tatum v. Croswell, 178 Ga. 679 (174 S. E. 140). We presume that the evidence did not demand a verdict for the defendant so as to render the court's error harmless (see Coleman v. Newsome, 49 Ga. App. 522 (2), 176 S. E. 103), as the trial judge signed the bill of exceptions containing the statement that no brief of the evidence was necessary to a consideration of the error complained of (Code, Ann. Supp., 70-301.1) as being true and as specifying all of the required record material to a clear understanding of the error complained of.
There may be other reasons why the court's refusal to qualify the jury as moved was error but we confine our ruling here to the point considered above.
The court erred in denying the motion for a new trial.
Judgment reversed. Sutton, C. J., and Worrill, J., concur.