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BRAGDON v. PITTSBURGH RAILWAYS COMPANY (11/17/53)

November 17, 1953

BRAGDON, ADMR.,
v.
PITTSBURGH RAILWAYS COMPANY, APPELLANT



Appeals, Nos. 220, 221 and 222, March T., 1953, from judgments of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, April T., 1948, Nos. 1733 and 2370, in cases of Harry N. Bragdon, Jr., Admr., Estate of Robert M. Bragdon, deceased, etc. v. Pittsburgh Railways Company, and Vera McAlister Skelton v. Same. Judgment of $15,000 affirmed; judgment of $10,000 affirmed as modified; judgment of $4,000 affirmed.

COUNSEL

Con F. McGregor, with him Bechman, Dunn & McGregor, for appellant.

Ralph S. Davis, Jr., with him Evans, Ivory & Evans, for appellees.

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

Author: Musmanno

[ 375 Pa. Page 308]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

On the night of August 14, 1947, a Carrick street car of the defendant company, speeding down Brownsville Road, leaped its rails, ploughed across the track

[ 375 Pa. Page 309]

    and struck an automobile coming in the opposite direction, killing its driver, Robert M. Bragdon, and seriously injuring the guest passenger, Vera McAlister Skelton. The administrator of the estate of the deceased Bragdon brought both death and survival actions against the defendant company; and the guest passenger sued the company in trespass for her injuries. The lawsuits were consolidated for trial; the jury returned verdicts for the plaintiffs; the defendant company moved for judgments n.o.v. and for a new trial, the motions were denied and these appeals followed.

The defendant contends that the deceased driver was the author of his own misfortune in that he recklessly drove his automobile into and against the moving street car. It does not deny that the street car left the rails but asserts that the derailment resulted from the impact of the automobile against the street car.

The primary question which the jury had to decide was: Did the automobile strike the car and derail it or did the street car jump the track and run down the automobile?

It is, of course, axiomatic, in the review of these cases, that the testimony must be read in the light most advantageous to the party whose version of the disputed issue has been approved by the jury. Accepting that version, then, our task is to determine if the record sustains the verdict.

Harry L. Heckman, a passenger on the street car, testified that the car, speeding downgrade on Brownsville Road, travelled with such velocity that it swayed and rocked and hit a curve with a momentum that threw him from his seat across the aisle; that the motorman never touched the brake ...


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