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STORMER v. ALBERTS CONSTRUCTION COMPANY. (11/15/60)

November 15, 1960

STORMER, APPELLANT,
v.
ALBERTS CONSTRUCTION COMPANY.



Appeal, No. 108, March T., 1959, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, April T., 1955, No. 398, in case of Rose Stormer v. Alberts Construction Company et al. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Robert X. Mcdonis, with him M. Victoria Geddis, and James L. Bowman, for appellant.

Sanford M. Chilcote, with him Dickie, McCamey, Chilcote & Robinson, for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Bok and Eagen, JJ.

Author: Bell

[ 401 Pa. Page 462]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL

Plaintiff, who was a passenger in the automobile of Leon Pettegrew, sued Alberts Construction Company which in turn joined as additional defendants Pettegrew, the driver of the car in which plaintiff was riding, and Fred Cannon, the owner of the automobile which Pettegrew ran into. The jury returned (1) a verdict in favor of the plaintiff against defendant Pettegrew in the amount of $15,000, and (2) a verdict in favor of the defendants Alberts Construction Company

[ 401 Pa. Page 463]

    and Cannon. Plaintiff's motion for a new trial as to Cannon and the Construction Company was refused by the lower Court. Plaintiff appealed from the judgment entered on the verdict in favor of defendant Alberts Construction Company and the judgment in favor of Cannon.

The sole question involved is a very narrow one. Did the lower Court properly exclude evidence as to the occurrence of other accidents previous to the accident in this litigation? These accidents occurred (a) at different parts of the highway which was under construction and (b) within four or five days of this accident.

In order to answer the question involved, it will be necessary to recite the facts at some length. The accident occurred on the night of November 3, 1954. Pettegrew, the driver of the automobile in which plaintiff was riding in the front seat, was traveling north in the easterly lane of a three lane paved highway on Pennsylvania Highway Route No. 885 in West Mifflin Borough, Allegheny County. For some time prior to November 3d, Alberts Construction Company was engaged in laying a sanitary sewer in the east berm of Route 885. The excavated material was placed on the easterly half of the roadway. Flares and lights were placed in front of this excavated material to warn automobilists as they approached from the direction in which plaintiff was approaching. The westerly half of the roadway remained open for traffic and at night proper lights were placed along the westerly edge of the excavated material, as well as on top of it, for the purpose of marking its location for automobile traffic using the highway.

Plaintiff's automobile was, we repeat, traveling north and approached from the south side of the excavation; wooden signs were ...


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