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HOGG v. MUIR. (01/03/56)

January 3, 1956

HOGG, APPELLANT,
v.
MUIR.



Appeal, No. 218, Jan. T., 1955, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 2 of Philadelphia County, June T., 1953, No. 9508, in case of James G. Hogg v. Robert F. Muir. Judgment reversed.

COUNSEL

Irwin N. Rosenzweig, with him Kaiser & Karabel, for appellant.

Thomas E. Comber, Jr., with him Perry S. Bechtle, and Pepper, Bodine, Frick, Scheetz & Hamilton, for appellee.

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

Author: Musmanno

[ 383 Pa. Page 413]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

On February 9, 1953, James G. Hogg was driving his automobile southwardly on Stenton Avenue, a

[ 383 Pa. Page 414]

"Through" highway, in Springfield Township, Montgomery County. As he approached Northwestern Avenue, which bisected Stention, he looked to the left (toward the East) and saw no traffic approaching from that direction. He then looked to the right, but this view of Northwestern Avenue on the western side was obstructed by a bank of dirt some 6 or 7 feet high. He reduced his speed from 25 to 15 miles per hour and entered the intersection, when there appeared to his right a car some 35 or 43 feet away, bearing down on him at such speed that collision seemed inevitable. He applied his brakes and had reached a point about two-thirds of the distance across Northwestern when the other car (driven by Robert F. Muir, the defendant in this lawsuit) struck him and continued on to smash through a fence and finally stop in a field a hundred yards away.

In the resulting lawsuit, the trial judge in the Court below entered a compulsory non-suit on the ground that Hogg was guilty of contributory negligence as a matter of law. The record does not support such a conclusion.

While there is a duty on the part of a motorist to look to the left and right before committing himself to a street crossing, the law does not demand the accomplishment of the impossible. When a motorist is travelling on a Through street and his view in either lateral direction is obstructed by a physical obstacle, he has the right to proceed, with appropriate caution, on the assumption that automobilists approaching from the blind side will observe traffic laws and rules of the road. The approach into Stenton Avenue was guarded by a Stop sign which the defendant ignored, but there was no way for the plaintiff to know that the defendant would do this.

In his opinion refusing to take off the non-suit, the trial judge performed an ...


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