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August 20, 1956


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Taylor, Justice.

August 20, 1956.

This appeal arises out of an action brought in the Court of Common Pleas for Darlington County, wherein plaintiff alleges that prior to the injury in question he was well and normal in every respect but that on or about the 6th day of February, 1951, while employed as a meat cutter by the defendant company, at its store in Hartsville, South Carolina, he was injured while carrying a quarter of beef into the refrigerator box or cooler, by striking his left leg against a meat stand that had been left protruding into the walking area of the cooler by a fellow worker, his injury being the result of the negligence, gross negligence, carelessness, willfulness, and wantonness of the defendants and the servants, agents, and employees of the corporate defendant, and that W.B. Driggers was the manager in charge of appellant's place of business.

The defendant Driggers, by way of answer admitted his connection with the corporate defendant as manager and that on said date plaintiff was employed as a meat cutter but denies the remaining allegations of the complaint, pleads the fellow servant doctrine, and alleges that if any injuries were sustained by respondent at or about the time or place mentioned, which he expressly denies, that said injury was caused solely by respondent's own negligence, gross negligence, carelessness, willfullness, and wantonness.

The case was tried at the July, 1955, Term of said Court and resulted in a verdict for respondent in the amount of $12,500.00 actual damages.

Upon conclusion of all the testimony, the trial Judge granted the motion for a directed verdict as to the defendant Driggers and withdrew from the jury's consideration certain specifications of negligence and the question of punitive damages. A motion for judgment non obstante veredicto or a new trial in the alternative upon grounds set forth in the record were refused, and appellant now comes to this Court upon exceptions which present the following questions as set forth in its brief:

"1. Was the Mortuary Table admissible in evidence in view of the uncontradicted testimony regarding respondent's health?

"2. Were the records of the Veterans Administration reporting prior medical examinations of respondent and the oral testimony of Vivian Morse, the custodian, as to their contents admissible as evidence of respondent's physical condition in a subsequent action by him for injuries alleged to have been received in employment?

"3. Did the Trial Judge err in (a) charging the jury regarding the basis of respondent's recovery and (b) refusing to charge the requested limitation thereon?"

The first question must be resolved against appellant's contention. The plain, explicit language of Section 26-12, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1952, provides:

Upon trial, appellant took the position that respondent's condition was not the result of an injury received at the time and place and under the circumstances alleged, and respondent offered into evidence the records of the Veterans' Administration in rebuttal, it being contended that such evidence was admissible under Section 26-101 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1952, which reads as follows:

"When certified copies or certified photostatic copies of documents admissible.

"When the original of any instrument, document or other paper is required or authorized by law to be recorded or is kept on file in any public office of the United States or any agency thereof, the State of South Carolina or any agency thereof or any political subdivision of this State and the original of any such paper is required to be kept on file in any such office, is in the possession of any adverse party or has been lost or destroyed, a certified copy of the record of such paper, if it has been recorded, or copy of such paper certified by the lawful custodian thereof, if it is kept on file in any such office, must be received in evidence in any court of competent jurisdiction in lieu of the original of such paper. A certified photostatic copy of any such paper may be used in lieu of a certified copy thereof, and such certified photostatic copy shall in all respects be treated as a certified copy under the provisions of this section."

Chapter 6, Section 3-632, 1952 Code of Laws of South Carolina, requires the Commissioner of Agriculture annually to cause to be analyzed at least one sample taken of every concentrated commercial feeding stuff that is found, sold, or offered for sale in the State, and Section 3-637 provides:

"In all prosecutions in the courts of this State arising under the provisions of articles 1 to 6 of this chapter, and the rules and regulations made in accordance therewith, the certificate of the analyst or other officer making the analysis or examination when duly sworn to and subscribed by such analyst or ...

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