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TODD v. BERCINI (11/18/52)

November 18, 1952

TODD
v.
BERCINI, APPELLANT



Appeals, Nos. 169 and 170, March T., 1952, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1949, No. 1253, in case of Frances Todd et vir. v. George Bercini. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

James J. Burns, Jr., for appellant.

H. Fred Mercer, with him Mercer & Buckley, for appellees.

Before Drew, C.j., Stern, Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey and Musmanno, JJ.

Author: Musmanno

[ 371 Pa. Page 606]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

The only question before us in this case is whether the learned court below abused its discretion in awarding a new trial for inadequacy of verdict.

Frances Todd, the wife-plaintiff, was seriously injured when the car in which she was riding crashed, through the negligence of the driver-defendant, into a steel utility pole. The jury awarded $2,070.43, the exact amount of the medical bills. No sum was included for pain, suffering and inconvenience. Also, although the plaintiff was engaged in remunerative employment prior to the accident (she was a practical

[ 371 Pa. Page 607]

    nurse) the jury did not assign any amount for lost wages or impairment of earning power. And the husband-plaintiff was excluded from the verdict completely.

A review of the record reveals that Mrs. Todd (43 years of age) was hospitalized on three different occasions because of her injuries, that she underwent two surgical operations and is required to wear a special collar and large brace to support the weight of her head. A Dr. Rowe testified that Mrs. Todd suffered a permanent injury, that she would have a limitation of motion as well as a certain protusion in the neck, that she would suffer pain for the rest of her life and that she was at least 30 to 40% disabled. Further, that she would be unable to nurse adult patients on account of her inability to do any heavy lifting or bending. It was testified that prior to the accident Mrs. Todd did her own housework and had been steadily employed as a practical nurse at an average weekly wage of $50, but that since the accident she was incapacitated for work.

A trial is a systematized, organized procedure for determining the truth and awarding justice with precision, to the extent that precision can be ascertained through fallible human agencies. A trial is not to be a mere conscious approximation of reality. It is not the province of a jury to decide generally the issue presented to it for decision, in the spirit of boundless generosity or restrained benevolence. If Mrs. Todd was entitled to a verdict from the defendant because of the injuries he inflicted upon her as the result of his negligence, she was entitled to all that the law provides in such a case. And the items of pain, suffering ...


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