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SATOVICH v. LEE. (04/25/56)

April 25, 1956

SATOVICH, APPELLANT,
v.
LEE.



Appeal, No. 29, March T., 1956, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, Dec. T., 1952, No. 38, in case of Elmer Satovich, administrator of estate of Louis Satovich, dec'd v. Fred E. Lee, Jr. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Samuel J. Feigus, with him Robert Palkovitz, for appellant.

Herman M. Buck, with him Joseph W. Ray, Jr., David E. Cohen and Ray, Coldren & Buck, for appellee.

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

[ 385 Pa. Page 134]

OPINION PER CURIAM

The judgment of the court below is affirmed on the opinion of Judge W. RUSSELL CARR, as reported in 5 D. & C.2d 289.

ING OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO:

When this Court affirms a judgment on the Opinion of a lower Court, it of course adopts the lower Court's Opinion as its own and is thus responsible for its reasoning, conclusions, and phraseology as much as if it had come from the collective pens of the Majority of the Supreme Court. I accordingly dissent from the Majority Opinion in this case because it contradicts what it has been saying for over a century (with the monotony of affirming the multiplication table), that in reviewing a record, where a non-suit is involved, the testimony is to be read in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and that all reasonable inferences and conflicts in the testimony are to be resolved in his behalf. The Majority at least has the grace here not to quote

[ 385 Pa. Page 135]

    the rule which it has so signally ignored, for, in telling the story of the fatal accident of October 24, 1952, on Route No. 26169 in Fayette County, it has read the evidence in the light least favorable to the plaintiff and resolved all reasonable inferences against him.

The victim of the accident, Louis Satovich, upon whose death the instant lawsuit was predicated, was driving his car on his own side of the road at the modest speed of 25 miles per hour. At a point about 100 feet beyond a curve, which he negotiated without incident, he came into collision with another car. When the dust settled, Satovich was on the road to eternity. What happened? There were no qualified eye witnesses to the actual impact, but there were circumstances which spoke with the clarity, the definiteness, and the conclusiveness of a recording motion picture camera. Within a "split second" after the collision, a bus driver appeared on the scene. Another motorist arrived while the two opposing cars were still locked in their fatal embrace. These witnesses testified (1) that Satovich's car was on his own side of the road; (2) that the other car, which was owned and operated by the defendant, Fred E. Lee, extended a foot and a half over the center line of the highway and on Satovich's side of the road; (3) that the left front wheel of Lee's car rested on Satovich's side of the road; and (4) that the debris resulting from the collision - broken glass, spilled oil, water and alcohol, which had mixed with dirt and mud - was on Satovich's side of the road. If these undisputed facts were presented in any forum outside of a courtroom, the natural inference rising from them would be that the accident which killed Satovich occurred on Satovich's side of the road.

But the Majority argues that the accident happened on Lee's side of the road. Without any evidence whatsoever to support ...


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