Appeals, Nos. 120, 121, 122, 123, 124 and 125, March T., 1956, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Crawford County, Sept. T., 1956, No. 182 and May T., 1953, No. 60, in case of Oliver J. Kiser and Elma K. Kiser v. Francis Schlosser; Francis B. Schlosser v. Oliver J. Kiser; Helen Schlosser v. Oliver J. Kiser and Francis L. Schlosser. Order affirmed.
F. Joseph Thomas, for appellants.
Stuart A. Culbertson, for appellee.
Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno, Arnold, Jones and Cohen, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN
The issue raised by these appeals has been before this Court on innumerable occasions: Did the trial court abuse its discretion in awarding new trials on the ground that the verdicts were against the weight of the evidence? One need only refer to 3 Vale, Pennsylvania Digest, Appeal & Error sec. 977(3) (Supp.) to appreciate the volume of litigation questioning such actions by the lower courts, and the repetitious recital by this Court, in each case, of the applicable rule of law: viz. The determination of whether a verdict is against the weight of the evidence, so that a new trial should be granted, rests primarily within the discretion of the trial court, and its action will not be disturbed unless there is a palpable abuse of that discretion as determined from a careful review of the entire record, or a clear error of law which controlled the outcome.
True it is that the assaying of the credibility of witnesses and the resolving of conflicts in their testimony are for the jury. But it is equally true that the trial judge may not hide behind the jury's verdict; he has a duty to grant a new trial when he is convinced that the judicial process has resulted in the working of an injustice upon any of the parties.
The present action, instituted in the Court of Common Pleas of Crawford County, arose out of a head-on collision between two automobiles traveling in opposite directions along highway route 322 on a snowy evening in November, 1951. Both cars were demolished, and the drivers and their respective wives were injured. The following suits in trespass were instituted as a result of this accident:
Suit No. 1: Mr. and Mrs. Kiser (plaintiffs) v. Mr. Schlosser (defendant);
Suit No. 2: Mr. Schlosser (plaintiff) v. Mr. Kiser (defendant);
Suit No. 3: Mrs. Schlosser (plaintiff) v. Mr. Kiser (defendant), who in turn joined Mr. Schlosser ...