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Rule 295. Defective Verdict


If the verdict is informal or defective, the court may direct it to be reformed at the bar. If it is not responsive to the issue submitted, or contains conflicting findings, the court shall call the jury's attention thereto in writing and send them back for further deliberation.

Source: Art. 2207.

Change: Addition of words, "in writing."

Oct. 29, 1940, eff. Sept. 1, 1941.


July 15, 1987, eff. Jan. 1, 1988


(No. 86c) Question: In Consolidated Underwriters v. Ruff, 164 S.W.2d 550 (Tex. Civ. App.-Beaumont 1942), the Court of Civil Appeals held that the action of the trial court in orally calling attention to a conflict in the jury's findings instead of reducing that instruction to writing, in accordance with Rule 295, committed reversible error upon the ground, as expressed in its opinion, that "In giving additional charges to the jury this rule must be complied with, since it has the force and effect of a statute.... Where the statute regulating the giving of the charges to the jury is violated, error must be presumed." The Supreme Court refused application for writ of error in the case for want of merit, thus declining, under Rule 483, to approve the opinion. Does the violation of such a requirement as is found in Rule 295 present a case of presumed harm?

Answer: In our opinion the answer should be in the negative. As to presumed harm, see the above questions and answers and No. 35 in 5 Tex. B.J. 170. As to the pertinent distinction between rules and statutes see No.6, 5 Tex. B.J. 168 and Texas Employers' Ins. Ass'n v. Lightfoot, 139 Tex. 304, 162 S.W.2d 929 (1942). Although the Subcommittee, considers that the result should be the same if a statute had been involved, that question is not presented here because in this instance the requirement of writing is found entirely in a rule of court.

6 Tex. B.J. 77 (1943) reprinted in 8 Tex. B.J. 33 (1945).