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PARKER v. YELLOW CAB COMPANY (01/06/58)

January 6, 1958

PARKER
v.
YELLOW CAB COMPANY, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 292, Jan. T., 1957, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 6 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1956, No. 2346, in case of Lois A. Parker v. Yellow Cab Company and Peter Chiarlone. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

James J. Leyden, with him Tom P. Monteverde, Josephine H. Klein, and Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, for appellant.

Bernard J. Smolens, with him John J. McDevitt, 3rd, for appellant.

Michael C. Rainone, with him Richard E. Ruane, for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Chidsey, Musmanno, Jones and Cohen, JJ.

Author: Musmanno

[ 391 Pa. Page 567]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

On December 7, 1954, Lois A. Parker, the plaintiff in this case, was a passenger in a taxicab travelling northeastwardly on Victory Road in Philadelphia. The point at which Victory Road enters Lansdowne Avenue at a 45 degree angle is marked by a "Stop" sign. On the day indicated the taxicab stopped at or near this sign when an automobile being driven by Peter Chiarlone struck it in the rear. Witnesses differ as to whether the cab stopped once or twice before the rear-end collision. The plaintiff's version is that the cab stopped once, but with such suddenness that she was hurled forward and, while in the throes of this violence, the cab was struck from behind and she was

[ 391 Pa. Page 568]

    now thrown back, suffering still further serious physical injuries.

Miss Parker brought suit against the cab company and Peter Chiarlone. At the ensuing trial, the jury returned a verdict in her favor against both defendants in the sum of $20,000. The Yellow Cab Company asks for judgment n.o.v. or a new trial. The defendant Chiarlone seeks a new trial.

Counsel for the cab company argues that when their driver, Ralph A. Gatto, stopped just before the collision he "clearly was not negligent; on the contrary, he was simply doing what the law required." One may obey the law in one phase and violate it in another. A "Stop" sign proclaims the need for a halt, but it does not demand that the halt be precipitant. A motorist does not observe the law of the road when he bears down on a Through Highway with immoderate speed and then suddenly freezed his car to a standstill. A sudden cessation of movement could possibly achieve, under certain circumstances, a greater hazard than moving forward under control.

Victory Road merges into Lansdowne Avenue at such an angle that one driving in the direction the cab was travelling would not be able to see traffic moving from his left on Lansdowne unless he faced completely to the left. It would thus be incumbent upon a driver making such an approach to Lansdowne to decelerate before reaching the "Stop" sign so as to be able to safely stop if a car should be moving from left to right on Lansdowne. Gatto did not do this. Considering the inherent hazards in such a situation, the jury could well have found that ...


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