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BOCHAR v. J. B. MARTIN MOTORS (06/26/53)

June 26, 1953

BOCHAR
v.
J. B. MARTIN MOTORS, INC., APPELLANT



Appeal, No. 7, May T., 1953, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, June T., 1949, No. 158, in case of Michael J. Bochar v. J. B. Martin Motors, Inc., and R. A. Diehl. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

F. Brewster Wickersham, with him Edward E. Knauss, 3rd and Metzger & Wickersham, for appellants.

Martin H. Lock, with him William C. Ailes, for appellee.

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

Author: Musmanno

[ 374 Pa. Page 241]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

The appellants in this case appeal from judgment on a verdict which they contend is excessive The jury's verdict was $15,464.20, which the lower court reduced to $12,000. We begin, therefore, with the accepted rule that -- "It is the duty of the lower court to control the amount of the verdict; it is in possession of all the facts

[ 374 Pa. Page 242]

    as well as the atmosphere of the case, which will enable it to do more even-handed justice between the parties than can an appellate court." (King v. Equitable Gas Co., 307 Pa. 287.) We can only disturb the lower court's adjudication of the verdict in the event it "shocks a sense of justice" to allow it to stand.

The plaintiff, Michael J. Bochar, was injured on July 7, 1947, on the Pennsylvania Turnpike when his car collided with a car belonging to the defendant company under circumstances which have caused defendants to acknowledge complete responsibility for the accident. The impact of the collision threw the plaintiff against the dashboard of his car with such violence that he sustained a multiple, comminuted fracture of the right knee cap with displacement of loose fragments of bone. Numerous abrasions and contusions were also inflicted about his face and legs. He was taken to the Everett Hospital in Everett, Pennsylvania, where he was operated upon, a portion of the right patella removed and his right leg from hip to foot placed in a plaster cast. The cast came off on August 14, 1947, and for the next three months the patient received physical therapy treatments which included massage, heat application and manipulation of the knee which had lost considerable flexion. He got about on crutches and cane and returned to work November 20, 1947.

Dr. W. W. Sipes, who performed the operation, declared the limitation of motion of the knee to be 25 to 30%; Dr. G. L. Laverty testified to a 20 to 25% limitation in active movement; and Dr. J. I. Kendrick testified that the plaintiff suffered a half inch atrophy in the right thigh and 3/4 inch atrophy in the mid thigh with a loss of 25 degrees flexion in the knee.

The plaintiff has been employed by the Bell Telephone Company for 16 years, ...


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