Sopp v. Smith

59 Cal.2d 12 (1963)


P sued D for personal injuries from an auto accident. D got the jury verdict. P filed six affidavits in support of their motion for a new trial. Three of the affidavits were by jurors who had heard the case. One juror had gone alone in his own automobile to the scene of the accident, where he 'viewed courses and distances; . . . stepped off the course allegedly taken . . . ; that he studied the graveled area; that he drove his own auto over the routes . . . ; that he did this to check visibility; road conditions, and distances; that thereafter further evidence was taken. Another juror took his family for a drive the following day, to the scene of the accident; that 'he viewed the distances and courses testified to by various witnesses; that at varying speeds he drove his own auto . . . and timed portions of it with a stopwatch . . . along the course reportedly taken by the colliding vehicle of defendant; that the view was taken to get an idea of vision by the drivers and probable general position of autos at the time of the accident and to verify the accuracy of assertions made by counsel during the trial regarding distances and time required for the same. The trial court denied P's motion for a new trial 'on the sole ground that the affidavits of jurors are inadmissible.