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07/10/92 JOYCE BEAUFORD v. FATHER FLANAGAN'S BOYS'

July 10, 1992

JOYCE BEAUFORD, APPELLANT,
v.
FATHER FLANAGAN'S BOYS' HOME, A NEBRASKA NONPROFIT CORPORATION, APPELLEE



Appeal from the District Court for Douglas County: Lawrence J. Corrigan, Judge.

Hastings, C.j., Boslaugh, White, Caporale, Shanahan, and Fahrnbruch, JJ. Grant, J., not participating.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Juries: Evidence: Verdicts: Appeal and Error. A civil jury verdict will not be disturbed on appeal unless clearly wrong. A verdict is not to be set aside where the evidence is in conflict or where reasonable minds may reach different Conclusions or inferences, as it is within the jury's province to decide issues of fact. It is for the jury, as trier of the facts, to resolve conflicts in the evidence and to determine the weight and credibility to be given to the testimony of the witnesses.

2. Verdicts: Appeal and Error. A jury's verdict will not be reversed on appeal as inadequate unless it is so clearly against the weight and reasonableness of the evidence and so disproportionate to the injury proved as to demonstrate that it was the result of passion, prejudice, mistake, or some other means not apparent in the record, or that the jury disregarded the evidence or rules of law.

3. Jury Instructions: Proof: Appeal and Error. In order to establish that a trial court's refusal to give a requested instruction was reversible error, a plaintiff must show that she was prejudiced by the court's refusal to give the tendered instruction, that the tendered instruction is a correct statement of the law, and that the tendered instruction is warranted by the evidence.

4. Jury Instructions: Appeal and Error. Regarding a claim of prejudice from an instruction given or a trial court's refusal to give a tendered instruction, the instructions given must be read conjunctively rather than in isolation.

5. Jury Instructions: Appeal and Error. If the instructions given, when taken as a whole, correctly state the law, are not misleading, and adequately cover the issues submissible to a jury, there is no prejudicial error concerning the instructions necessitating a reversal.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Boslaugh

The plaintiff, Joyce Beauford, brought this action seeking payment of certain medical bills under the health plan of the defendant, Father Flanagan's Boys' Home (Boys Town). The plaintiff has appealed from the judgment in her favor in the amount of $3,616.13. The plaintiff's assignments of error are that the trial court erred by failing to give an instruction on future damages and that the jury's verdict is not supported by the evidence.

The record shows that the plaintiff was employed by the defendant as a teacher from 1974 until March 28, 1981, when she left Boys Town because of an illness. The plaintiff did not return to work after that date.

On April 21, 1981, the plaintiff was notified that she would be terminated as a teacher on June 5, 1981, the end of the 1980-81 school term. The plaintiff did not return to work at any time prior to the end of the school term on June 5.

Prior to her termination, the plaintiff had elected to receive her salary on a 12-month basis for the 1980-81 school year. From March 28 until June 5, 1981, the plaintiff was paid her regular salary, but it was entitled "salary continuance" because she was on sick leave. From June 5, 1981, until August 30, 1981, the plaintiff was paid the balance of her regular salary for the 1980-81 contract. In addition to her salary, all of the plaintiff's medical bills were paid through August 31, 1981.

The defendant's employee handbook states that "Salary continuance benefits will cease whenever an employee refuses to cooperate with the Home in securing necessary information to validate a claim or a continuing illness." In its medical plan, the defendant also "reserves the right to have a physician it designates examine the individual whose loss is the basis of a claim when and so often as it may reasonably require."

The defendant terminated the plaintiff's salary continuance and health and dental plan because she would not submit to an examination by ...


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