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BEATTY v. HOFF. (05/24/55)

May 24, 1955

BEATTY, APPELLANT,
v.
HOFF.



Appeals, Nos. 75 and 76, March T., 1955, from judgments of Court of Common Pleas of Butler County, June T., 1952, Nos. 76 and 77, in cases of James F. Beatty v. Carl R. Hoff and Car & General Insurance Company, Limited; and of Robert H. Watson v. same. Judgments affirmed.

COUNSEL

Saul J. Bernstein, with him William A. Watson, for appellants.

Lee C. McCandless, for appellees.

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

Author: Chidsey

[ 382 Pa. Page 174]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE CHIDSEY

At 11 P.M. on May 26, 1949, Carl R. Hoff was operating a 1940 Buick sedan belonging to his father, Charles W. Hoff, and became involved in a three-car collision on Highway Route 68 in Butler County, Pennsylvania. The father was not in the car at the time of the accident. The other two cars were operated by James F. Beatty and Robert H. Watson, respectively. In separate actions of trespass brought by Beatty and Watson against Carl R. Hoff, Beatty recovered a verdict in the amount of $5,584.81 and Watson

[ 382 Pa. Page 175]

    a verdict of $1,499. Judgments were entered upon these verdicts.

Charles W. Hoff, the father, had a policy of insurance issued by the appellee, Car & General Insurance Company, Limited, covering the Buick automobile which his son was driving which contained a so-called omnibus clause, which provided: "With respect to the insurance for bodily injury liability and for property damage liability the unqualified word 'insured' includes the named insured and also includes any person while using the automobile and any person or organization legally responsible for the use thereof, provided the actual use of the automobile is by the named insured or with his permission...". (Emphasis supplied).

Beatty and Watson issued attachment executions on their respective judgments, naming the appellee insurance company as garnishee. In answer to interrogatories the garnishee denied liability, alleging that Carl R. Hoff was not driving with the permission of Charles W. Hoff, the insured, at the time of the accident and therefore was not covered by the policy. The two cases were consolidated and tried before the same jury which rendered verdicts in favor of Beatty and Watson in the respective amounts of their judgments. The garnishee filed a motion for judgment non obstante veredicto in each case which, after argument, was granted, and Beatty and Watson appeal from the judgments respectively entered in favor of the garnishee. The cases were jointly argued before this Court by the same counsel and they will be together considered and disposed of in this opinion.

The sole question for determination is whether the finding of the jury, upon which its verdict was necessarily predicated, that Carl R. Hoff had either express or implied ...


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