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PHIPPS v. PHIPPS (01/12/50)

January 12, 1950

PHIPPS
v.
PHIPPS



COUNSEL

Milton J. Kolansky, Scranton, David Berger, Thomas D. McBride, McBride, Lipschitz, Woolston, Berger & Bohlen, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Will Leach, Leach & Lenahan, Scranton, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Dithrich, Ross, Arnold and Fine, JJ.

Author: Dithrich

[ 165 Pa. Super. Page 623]

DITHRICH, Judge.

Although respondent testified 'I know I made a mistake when I married him,' she and libellant appear to have lived a fairly normal married life until one Fred of 'Freddie' Martin was engaged by libellant as a chauffeur-butler. From the time he entered the Phipps' household until they separated approximately two years later, libellant detected a gradually increasing indifference and coolness in his wife's attitude toward him, and while he suspected that her coolness and indifference toward him were in direct ratio to her ardor and warmth for Martin, his suspicions were not confirmed until the Spring of 1948 when the gradually increasing breach between the couple was broken wide open by a flagrant act of misconduct on her part.

On account of the inordinate amount of time she would spend on 'shopping' tours with Martin, consuming half a day when half an hour would suffice, and other evidence that she much preferred his society to that of her husband -- even to the extent of remaining downstairs drinking with him under the pretext that she was having a drink with her father, when her husband who had just that day returned home from the hospital after an operation repeatedly called for her and told her that he needed her on the second floor -- he had discharged him and engaged another chauffeur. But his wife, instead of using the new chauffeur on a trip to Wayne, Pa., to visit her son by a former marriage who was attending Valley Forge Military Academy, engaged Martin to make the trip, paying him out of her

[ 165 Pa. Super. Page 624]

    house money. They took with them Jean Kehrli, a young girl friend of her son. Mrs. Phipss had engaged rooms for herself, Miss Kehrli, and Martin in the home of a Mrs. Leary, and after Miss Kehrli had attended a dance with the son she returned to the rooms with Mrs. Phipps and the chauffeur. After Mrs. Phipps and the young girl had undressed and were ready for bed, Martin came into the bedroom. They had a drink together and Miss Kehrli said Martin was still in the bedroom talking with Mrs. Phipps when she fell asleep.

They left Wayne at about 10 o'clock the following (Sunday) night for Scranton. Bradford Sweet, Mrs. Phipps' son, was with them. According to Martin and Mrs. Phipps, they lost their way (although the former was an experienced chauffeur and had made the trip between Wayne and Scranton several times) and landed in Stroudsburg, Pa., between 1:30 and 2 a.m. Sweet and Martin, according to Martin (the boy did not testify), engaged two rooms with connecting bath -- Martin registering as Mr. and Mrs. George Sweet, 517 Main Street, Scranton, Pa. The night manager at the Penn-Stroud Hotel identified the registration card and said that since there were four persons in the party he added the words 'and family.' Martin said he used the name of Mrs. Phipps' first husband at the suggestion of her son. Jean Kehrli testified that at Mrs. Phipps' direction she and Brad Sweet occupied the room with the twin beds while Mrs. Phipps and Martin slept in the room with the double bed. Her testimony was contradicted by respondent and Martin, both of whom testified that the woman and the girl occupied one room, while the man and the boy occupied the other. The Kehrli girl further testified that, within two or three weeks of the trial of this proceeding, Mrs. Phipps had asked her if she would please tell any one who asked her 'that she occupied that room with me that night.'

[ 165 Pa. Super. Page 625]

We feel as did Judge Eagen, who said: 'The testimony of the witness, Jean Kehrli, I believe to be truthful. Her account of the details of the trip to Wayne, Pennsylvania, and the stopover in a hotel in Stroudsburg upon their return leads to but one conclusion, and that is that the respondent and Martin were carrying on a sordid, immoral relationship.

'The facts brought to light by the testimony of this witness * * * makes everything else in respect to their frequent associations add up and paints a clear picture of what was happening. Between the 28th day of August and the end of September last year, they were together thirty-four times, in many instances in respondent's apartment until a very late hour. One would need be quite naive to ...


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