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TURLEY v. ROTHMAN (04/16/56)

April 16, 1956

TURLEY
v.
ROTHMAN, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 7, March T., 1956, from judgments of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, July T., 1952, No. 573, in case of Charles M. Turley et ux. v. William H. Rothman, trading as Peoples Cab Company, and Charles M. Turley. Judgments affirmed.

COUNSEL

Harland I. Casteel, with him Charles Holmes Wolfe, Jr., and Campbell, Houck & Thomas, for appellant.

A. H. Rosenberg, with him Rosenberg & Rosenberg, for appellees.

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

Author: Musmanno

[ 385 Pa. Page 29]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

Charles M. Turley and Phyllis Turley, his wife, brought a trepass action against William H. Rothman, Trading as Peoples Cab Company, as the result of an accident on December 26, 1950, when an automobile being driven by Turley collided with a taxicab owned by the defendant. Later the plaintiffs' claims were severed and Charles Turley was brought upon the record as an additional defendant as to Mrs. Turley's claim. At the same time the taxicab company asserted a claim against Charles Turley for damages to the taxicab. The jury returned a verdict of $15,000 in favor of the wife-plaintiff, $2,776 for the husband plaintiff, and a verdict in favor of the additional defendant as to the taxicab company's counterclaim.

On the day of the accident Charles Turley, driving westwardly on Bigelow Boulevard in Pittsburgh, stopped for a red light where Bigelow Boulevard intersects with Tunnel Street. As the light changed to green, he signaled his intention to make a left turn. After he began this movement he observed that a taxicab which was on the west side of the intersecting street on Bigelow Boulevard was moving very slowly and "had almost come to a stop." Turley completed the turn and had already projected the front end of his car into Tunnel Street when the taxicab accelerated its forward movement and struck the right side of the plaintiff's car. Turley described the damage done to his car as follows: "The right door was pushed in, exposing the running board and part of the mat where you place your feet. Also the window was broken, and there was a hole pushed in the door, starting at about halfway back from the right door and gathering into a ball in the rear panel. A hole about that big [indicating a foot in diameter] ... All of this metal was

[ 385 Pa. Page 30]

    pushed back into the right rear panel, and, if I remember correctly, the roof of the car was bulged like this."

The wife-plaintiff testified that, as a result of the impact "it threw me against the door handle, and it jarred my back and threw me to the floor, threw my baby against the dashboard. I bumped my head on the board." She was given emergency treatment at the Mercy Hospital and on the following day came under the care and treatment of Dr. N. T. Segal. In August, 1951, Dr. Segal "fluoroscoped" Mrs. Turley's back and referred her an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. M. S. DeRoy who performed an operation on her which he described as follows: "It is an operation through the spine exposing the spinal cord and the roots as they come off, like the branches of a tree, and taking the portion of the disc which is between the vertebrae and which has slipped out of place, removing that portion of the disc, which is cartilage which is about the size and shape of a silver dollar between each vertebra."

In March, 1954, this operation was repeated on a higher disc (between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae.) In June, 1954, Mrs. Turley was sent to the hospital for the third time, this time for "manipulation at which time the various strengths of the back are brought through a range of motion in an effort to overcome any twisting or locking that may have occurred."

Dr. DeRoy testified that it was his opinion, based on the history of the accident and the symptoms of the patient, that her condition was the result of the accident of December 26, 1950; also that she has suffered a permanent physical impairment with a disability of 25%. Although prior to the ...


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