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SHULA v. WARREN. (04/20/59)

April 20, 1959

SHULA, APPELLANT,
v.
WARREN.



Appeal, No. 64, March T., 1959, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, May T., 1954, No. 113, in case of William Shula v. Joseph Warren et al. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Christ. C. Walthour, Jr., with him Kunkle & Trescher, for appellant.

A. C. Scales, with him Henry E. Shaw, Floyd R. Warren, and Scales and Shaw, for appellees.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Mcbride, JJ.

Author: Jones

[ 395 Pa. Page 430]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. JONES

This is an appeal from the action of the court below in entering judgment n.o.v. against the appellant, William Shula, after a jury had returned a verdict in his favor in the amount of $20,579.72.

On the evening of August 26, 1952, appellant Shula, accompanied by his wife and two children, attended stock car races which were being held at the Rose Speedway in Penn Township, Westmoreland County. The Rose Speedway is an oval dirt track approximately a quarter of a mile in circumference.An area situated in the infield or center of the track, and designated as the "pit", was provided by appellees for the parking of vehicles which were entered in the races. This area was also used by the contestants for refueling and repairing their vehicles during the course of the races. The "pit" was unprotected from the track, except for barricades of automobile tires embedded in the ground placed on the curves at both ends of the area. Admission to the "pit" area was limited to the owners, drivers and mechanics of the vehicles, and to certain officials of the track engaged in conducting the races. A "pit" pass issued by an official of the track was required to gain admission to the "pit" area, and an employee of the track was stationed at the entrance to prevent the entry of unauthorized personnel.

After having paid the required admission fee, Shula, together with his wife and children, entered the grandstand which had been provided by the appellees to enable the spectators to view the races.After remaining in the grandstand for approximately ten or twenty minutes, Shula advised his wife that he was going to attempt to gain admission to the "pit" area. The appellant testified that he was told by the employee stationed at the entrance to the "pit" area that he could

[ 395 Pa. Page 431]

    not be admitted without a pass. This employee, whom he was unable to identify, obtained a pass from someone leaving the area, gave it to Shula, and permitted him to enter the "pit". Appellant admitted that he knew that only certain authorized individuals were permitted in the "pit" area, that a specific official was generally in charge of issuing the passes and that anyone to whom a pass was issued was required to register with the track. Appellant also admitted that he did not comply with any of these requirements and that he was not within the class of individuals authorized to be in that area. He further stated that, from his experience as an announcer and from viewing similar races on previous occasions, these precautions were taken and a grandstand was provided for spectators because of the dangers involved in being on or near the track while the races were being conducted.

After gaining admission to the "pit", appellant proceeded to the announcer's stand, which was located on an elevated platform in the center of the "pit", sat on the platform steps and watched approximately four or five races from this position. At some undisclosed point, appellant left the steps and proceeded to the edge of the "pit" near one of the curves, where, according to his witnesses, he was struck by a vehicle coming off the track. These witnesses testified that appellant was standing on the edge of the "pit" in a location where vehicles having mechanical difficulties pull off the track, although the driver of this particular vehicle apparently was not attempting to, and did not, enter the "pit" in a manner in which a vehicle leaving the track for mechanical repairs would ordinarily do.

The driver of the vehicle which struck Shula testified that his radiator was leaking and that his visibility was poor ...


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