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DODSON v. PHILADELPHIA TRANSPORTATION COMPANY (01/02/51)

January 2, 1951

DODSON
v.
PHILADELPHIA TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, APPELLANT



Appeal, No, 263, Jan. T., 1950, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 6 of Philadelphia County, Sept. T., 1948, No. 1754, in case of Elmer Edward Dodson v. Philadelphia Transportation Company. Judgment, as reduced, affirmed.

COUNSEL

James L. Stern, with him Jay B. Leopold, for appellant.

David Kanner, for appellee.

Before Drew, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Ladner and Chidsey, JJ.

Author: Chidsey

[ 366 Pa. Page 288]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE CHIDSEY

The plaintiff, Elmer Edward Dodson, instituted an action in trespass against Philadelphia Transportation Company to recover damages for personal injuries sustained as the result of a collision between the automobile driven by plaintiff and a street car of the defendant company. The latter has appealed from the refusal of its motions for judgment non obstante veredicto and for a new trial. The jury found a verdict for plaintiff in the sum of $20,000, reduced after remittitur filed to $11,500.

The accident occurred on Saturday, September 11, 1948, about 6 p.m. It was daylight and a clear day. Plaintiff was driving a 1937 four-door sedan, owned by Trueman S. Morton who was sitting beside him in the front seat, southwardly in the southbound street car tracks on Frankford Avenue between Benson and Blakiston Streets in the City of Philadelphia. Frankford Avenue runs north and south and is 46 feet from

[ 366 Pa. Page 289]

    curb to curb with two sets of street car tracks in the middle. Plaintiff was following a line of cars also proceeding on the southbound tracks due to the fact that a number of cars were parked on the west side of the avenue because of some activity at a church on the west side thereof midway between the two intersecting streets. These parked cars made it necessary for automobiles moving southwardly to drive partly at least on the southbound trolley rails. Benson Street is north of Blakiston Street and the distance between the curb lines of the two streets is about 362 feet.

Viewing the evidence in the light most advantageous to the plaintiff, giving him the benefit of every inference reasonably to be deduced therefrom and resolving all conflicts in his favor as we are obliged to do in view of the jury's verdict, the plaintiff was proceeding at a speed of about 15 miles per hour and from 8 to 10 feet back of the car immediately preceding him when, at a point about opposite the church, the car in front came to a "sudden dead stop". Plaintiff avoided hitting this car by jamming on his brakes, causing the front of his car to swerve into the four-foot dummy space between the two sets of tracks but short of the northbound rails. While trying to start his motor which had stalled, the automobile in front of him moved on and he saw a street car crossing Blakiston Street 200 feet or more away, coming northward on the northbound car track. Before he could get his motor started, the street car came on without stopping and sideswiped his automobile. Only 15 seconds elapsed between the time the plaintiff's motor stalled and the time of the collision. Plaintiff suffered severe injuries to his left arm which was broken in three places.

Defendant's version of the accident was that plaintiff in attempting to pass the automobile in front of him, drove his car into ...


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