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MILLER v. PITTSBURGH RAILWAYS COMPANY (09/11/58)

September 11, 1958

MILLER
v.
PITTSBURGH RAILWAYS COMPANY, APPELLANT.



Appeals, Nos. 209 and 210, April T., 1957, from judgments of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, July T., 1954-C, No. 1383, in case of Bessie Miller et vir v. Pittsburgh Railways Company. Judgments affirmed.

COUNSEL

Con F. McGregor, for appellant.

Regis C. Nairn, with him James P. McArdle, for appellees.

Before Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ. (rhodes, P.j., absent).

Author: Woodside

[ 187 Pa. Super. Page 335]

OPINION BY WOODSIDE, J.

This is an appeal by the defendant, Pittsburgh Railways Company, from a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs entered upon jury verdicts in favor of the husband-plaintiff in the amount of $2,500 and in favor of the wife-plaintiff in the amount of $5,000 for injuries sustained by the wife-plaintiff while she was a passenger on one of defendant's street cars. The appellant asks us to enter judgment n.o.v.

The testimony considered in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs, as we must in this appeal, establishes that on December 16, 1953, the plaintiff, Bessie Miller, and a friend of hers, Mrs. Dorothy Cook, were

[ 187 Pa. Super. Page 336]

    the only passengers on a street railway car owned and operated by the defendant between Pitcairn and Trafford, in Allegheny County. The two women were seated near the center of the street car as it crossed the bridge between Pitcairn and Trafford. At the end of the bridge the car made a sudden stop on a curve leading from the bridge to the regular car stop. Passengers sometimes depart at this point rather than at the regular car stop. When the car stopped both women arose and proceeded towards the front of the car, which started moving again and shortly thereafter came to a sudden violent stop. Mrs. Cook was thrown off of her feet into a horizontal position on one of the long side seats of the street car and, when she arose, she saw the plaintiff, Bessie Miller, "wrapped around a steel pole near the front of the car". Mrs. Miller had been thrown against one of the steel upright poles with sufficient force to cause injuries to her shoulder and chest. Neither the plaintiff nor Mrs. Cook were holding onto anything for support at the time they were thrown by the violent lurching of the street car.

The defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to establish negligence on the part of the defendant and that the failure of the plaintiff to hold onto any of the upright supports and straps available convicts her of contributory negligence as a matter of law.

The law in regard to the negligence of a street railways company for sudden jerks or lurches of street cars has been well established in Pennsylvania by a long line of decisions. Testimony indicating that a moving trolley car jerked suddenly or violently is not sufficient, of itself, to establish negligence in its operation. "There must be a showing of additional facts and ...


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