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MCKIM v. PHILADELPHIA TRANSPORTATION COMPANY (03/20/50)

March 20, 1950

MCKIM, APPELLANT,
v.
PHILADELPHIA TRANSPORTATION COMPANY



Appeals, Nos. 163, 164 and 165, from judgments of Courts of Common Pleas Nos. 7, 3 and 2 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1948, Nos. 3295, 3441 and 3440, respectively, in cases of Elizabeth Harriet McKim v. Philadelphia Transportation Company, Esther Georgina Bignell v. Same and Elizabeth Roberts Walker et vir v. Same. Judgments affirmed.

COUNSEL

William J. Woolston, for appellants.

S. Regen Ginsburg, with him Jay B. Leopold, for appellee.

Before Maxey, C.j., Drew, Linn, Stern, Stearne and Jones, JJ.

Author: Linn

[ 364 Pa. Page 238]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE LINN

These appeals were presented together and will be disposed of in one opinion. Between 9 and 10 o'clock on an October evening the three women plaintiffs in a car driven westward on Somerset Street by appellant, Miss Bignell, collided in the intersection of Eleventh and Somerset Streets, with defendant's street car northbound on Eleventh Street. The three occupants of the automobile were injured and brought these suits, Mrs. Walker's husband also becoming a plaintiff. The cases were tried together and the jury rendered verdicts for the defendant. The plaintiffs' motions for new trials were refused. They now present a single question for

[ 364 Pa. Page 239]

    our consideration: that the learned trial judge erred in not sustaining their objections to certain questions asked of them during cross-examination. No other point is presented.

The questions to which plaintiffs objected are quoted pursuant to Rule 22 in appellants' brief as follows: "Q. Are you an ordained minister? Q. You were ordained when and where? Q. Did you attend any seminar? Q. As an ordained minister did you officiate in any church? Q. In other words, in your occupation you visit homes, don't you, and endeavor to interest people in the beliefs and teachings of the Jehovah's Witnesses. That is what you mean when you say you are a Minister?" Each question was followed by objection which the trial judge overruled.

Appellants contend that the questions were prohibited by section 3 of the Act of April 23, 1909, P.L. 140, sec. 3, 28 PS 313. The title to the Act is: "An Act Providing that opinions on religious matters shall not affect the competency or credibility of witnesses, and that the affirmation may be taken or administered instead of the oath." The statute*fn* dealt with both privilege and relevance but was not intended to exclude cross-examination in the circumstances presented in this record. Section 1 contains definitions. Section 2 provides, "Hereafter the capacity of any person to testify in any judicial proceeding shall be in no wise affected by his opinions on matters of religion." Section 3 provides: "No witness shall be questioned, in any judicial proceeding, concerning his religious belief; nor shall any evidence be heard upon the subject, for the purpose of affecting either his competency or credibility." Section 4 provides for affirmation instead of the oath.

In the 9th paragraph of the complaint filed by Mr. and Mrs. Walker they averred: ...


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