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DI MEZZES v. YELLOW CAB COMPANY (09/16/60)

September 16, 1960

DI MEZZES
v.
YELLOW CAB COMPANY, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 131, Oct. T., 1960, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 1 of Philadelphia County, June T., 1956, No. 2384, in case of Rita Di Mezzes v. Albert Raditz and Yellow Cab Company. Judgment reversed.

COUNSEL

Charles C. Hileman, III, with him Josephine H. Klein, and William A. Schnader, and Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, for appellant.

John J. Runzer, with him Thomas E. Comber, Jr., Perry S. Bechtle, and Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, Watkins, and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Wright

[ 193 Pa. Super. Page 104]

OPINION BY WRIGHT, J.

Rita Di Mezzes filed a complaint in trespass against Albert Raditz and the Yellow Cab Company of Philadelphia, hereinafter referred to as the Company, seeking to recover damages for personal injuries caused by a motor vehicle collision. At the trial the Company

[ 193 Pa. Super. Page 105]

    moved for a compulsory non-suit and also presented a point for binding instructions. The jury returned a verdict against both defendants. The Company's motion for judgment n.o.v. was denied and judgment was entered upon the verdict. This appeal by the Company followed.

Miss Di Mezzes testified that, about 4:30 p.m. on February 25, 1956, she was a passenger in a taxicab owned by the Company and operated by Max Freeman. The cab was proceeding in a southerly direction in the 1400 block of South Taylor Street in the City of Philadelphia. Taylor Street is a narrow one-way two-lane street running from north to south. Parking is permitted in the right, or west lane, leaving only the east lane for moving traffic. The record does not disclose the width of the street, but the photographs introduced in evidence clearly show that there was just sufficient space for one vehicle in the traffic lane. At the time of the accident, cars were parked along the west side of the street. When the cab reached the middle of the block the left front door of one of the parked cars opened and was immediately struck by the right front of the cab. As a result of the collision the right front headlight, right front bumper, and right front fender of the cab were damaged. Miss Di Mezzes stated that she was sitting on the right-hand side of the rear seat of the cab, with a large cardboard box resting on her lap, "and all of a sudden something hit us and I fell to the floor of the cab". Her version of the accident was that, when the front of the cab was two or three feet from the left front door of the parked car, the door was "flung open" and struck the front part of the cab.

Raditz testified that he had parked along the right-hand or west side of South Taylor Street. After parking, and before attempting to get out, he looked down

[ 193 Pa. Super. Page 106]

    toward the seat beside him at a paper which contained an address he was seeking. He put the paper in his pocket, "glanced up, looked in the rear view mirror, then reached for the handle of the door". As he did this, he looked out the left window into the side view mirror and, seeing nothing, opened the door about ten inches when it was suddenly torn from his grasp. He admitted that he did not observe the taxicab before the collision. "I assume he was in a blind spot from my left rear window and my back window". He also stated that there was no perceptible interval of time between his opening of the door and the happening of the accident. He ...


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