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YACABONIS v. GILVICKAS (01/11/54)

January 11, 1954

YACABONIS
v.
GILVICKAS, APPELLANT



Appeal, No. 318, Jan. T., 1953, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County, March T., 1951, No. 998, in case of Victor Yacabonis, Anna Gabis, Patsy Yock by Joseph Yock, her natural guardian, and Joseph Yock v. Joseph Gilvickas. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

John L. McDonald, with him M.F. McDonald, for appellant.

William S. McLean, with him Thomas C. Moore, John R. Verbalis and Shortz, James & McLean, for appellees.

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

Author: Arnold

[ 376 Pa. Page 248]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ARNOLD

This was an action of trespass to recover damages for personal injuries resulting from an automobile accident. The plaintiff, Yacabonis, was the driver of a Buick sedan and Anna Gabis, the owner, and Patsy Yock were passengers in the car. Joseph Yock is the natural guardian of Patsy Yock. The plaintiff's car was travelling southerly on Route 309, an 18 foot concrete highway. This was intersected by the Rita-Albert county highway, an 18 foot blacktop road. The car driven by Yacabonis was on a through highway,

[ 376 Pa. Page 249]

    with a speed limit of 50 miles per hour. Gilvickas, the defendant, was travelling in an easterly direction on the Rita-Albert county highway. There was a stop sign facing him as he approached Route 309. The evidence of the plaintiff was that the defendant's car did not stop. The driver of the plaintiff's car testified that he was travelling about 35 miles an hour and that the Gilvickas car approached from the side road at about 40 miles per hour. One Stanley Weaver, the only disinterested eye witness, had parked his car off the highway and faced Gilvickas as he approached. He testified the defendant did not stop. Gilvickas did not testify. However, a state policeman interviewed him following the collision and he said he was travelling about 45 miles per hour. The wife of the defendant testified that he did stop.

Subsequent to the bringing of suit and before trial, Joseph Gilvickas was declared mentally incompetent and a guardian appointed under the Incompetents' Estates Act of 1951, 50 PS ยง 1631 et seq. During the course of the trial the defendant's attorney, on at least six different occasions in the presence of the jury, sought to get on the record the fact that a guardian had been appointed for Gilvickas, and that witnesses for the plaintiff were incompetent because of that fact.

Yacabonis received no verdict and the other plaintiffs received verdicts which were clearly inadequate. Plaintiff moved for a new trial on this ground as well as the fact that the verdict was inconsistent and was against the weight of the evidence. The court granted a new trial as to all plaintiffs and the defendant appealed.

As to the inadequacy of the verdicts there can be no question. Patsy Yock was rendered unconscious, sustained a cut on the ...


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