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MORANO v. NORMAN (04/16/56)

April 16, 1956

MORANO
v.
NORMAN, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 2, March T., 1956, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Feb. T., 1954, No. 208, in case of James Morano v. John F. Norman and Betty Norman. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Frank B. Quinn, with him Quinn, Leemhuis, Plate & Dwyer, for appellant.

John G. Gent, with him Edward E. Petrillo, Brooks, Curtze & Gent and Petrillo, Petrillo & Cavanaugh, for appellee.

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

Author: Musmanno

[ 385 Pa. Page 24]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

The injuries sustained by the plaintiff in this case, James Morano, grimly portray how a highway becomes a shambles when motorists drive their steel and iron vehicles against the non-resistant flesh, bone and cartilage of human beings. As the result of an accident, of which he was the victim, Morano has lost complete articulation of speech and at the trial could reply to questions only with head-shakings, gesticulations and guttural sounds.

The accident was the common intersectional collision where two vehicles, approaching from different directions, fought for possession of the same spot on the unyielding highway. It was the morning of March 24, 1953, in Erie County, when the plaintiff, driving a truck tractor westwardly on Route 6, arrived at the point where it crosses Route 19 at the same time that John F. Norman was driving his automobile southwardly on Route 19 where it crosses Route 6. Thses converging paths violently coalesced and, with injuries resulting, a lawsuit ensued. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff and the defendant seeks judgment n.o.v.

In considering possible reversal of a jury verdict, we are required to read the record in the light most favorable to the verdict winner. Doing this, we find

[ 385 Pa. Page 25]

    that the plaintiff did observe the rules of the highway and cannot, as argued by the defendant, be successfully charged with legal contributory negligence. When Morano arrived at the intersection of Routes 19 and 6 he stopped in obedience to a Stop Sign, waited from one to three minutes, looked in both directions and then began his journey across Route 19. The following testimony taken from the record will show how the collision occurred, and reveal at the same time the nature of the plaintiff's tragic inability to speak: "Q. Then what did you do? Then you started to go? A. (Affirmative sound.) Q. And did you look again? A. (Affirmative sound.) Q. Did you see anything coming then? A. (Affirmative sound.) Q. You saw a car coming? How far was this car from the place where you were as you were crossing? Near or far? MR. QUINN: Now we will have to object to that. BY THE COURT: Well, why don't you get those nice looking fingers of yours to working again? Ask him fifty feet, or sixty feet or seventy-five feet. In other words, ask him if he will indicate with his fingers, or is you know what the answer is going to be approximately, why put it what way? MR. PETRILLO: Let's start with hundreds then. Q. Now when I put one finger, it means one hundred feet. Do you understand? A. (Affirmative sound.) Q. Now I start with eight hundred. Eight hundred feet away did you see the car? A. (Affirmative sound.) Q. It was about eight hundred feet away? A. (Affirmative sound.) Q. When you started to cross? A. (Affirmative sound.) Q. And did this car strike your tractor at any time? Did the car hit you? A. (Affirmative sound.) Q. Did the car that you saw strike you? A. (Affirmative sound.) Q. Did the car that struck you slow down at any time? A. (Negative sound.) Q. How far across were you across the intersection when this car

[ 385 Pa. Page 26]

    struck you? Were you in the middle or over on the other side practically? A. (Witness gestures.) Q. On the other side? Practically on the other side? A. (Affirmative sound.) MR. QUINN: He didn't say practically on the other side. He said on the other side. MR. PETRILLO: Well, he cannot supply all the words. I have to help him a little. MR. QUINN: I know, but he didn't say practically. MR. PETRILLO: Well, I will take out 'practically.' Q. Were you in the center or on the other side of the intersection? A. (Unintelligible sound.) Q. More on the other side? On the west side? A. (Affirmative sound.) Q. Was ...


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