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ESCHER v. PITTSBURGH RAILWAYS COMPANY. (12/14/60)

December 14, 1960

ESCHER, APPELLANT,
v.
PITTSBURGH RAILWAYS COMPANY.



Appeal, No. 148, April T., 1960, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1956, No. 2367, in case of Joseph R. Escher v. Pittsburgh Railways Company. Judgment reversed.

COUNSEL

Daniel M. Berger, with him Berger & Berger, for appellant.

Leo Daniels, with him Prichard, Lawler & Geltz, for appellee.

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

Author: Wright

[ 194 Pa. Super. Page 68]

OPINION BY WRIGHT, J.

Joseph R. Escher filed a complaint in trespass against Pittsburgh Railways Company seeking to recover damages for personal injuries resulting from an intersection collision between a laundry truck, which he was operating, and a trolley car of the defendant corporation. Defendant's motion for a compulsory non-suit was denied, and a point for binding instructions was refused. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff. The defendant filed motions for a new trial, and for judgment n.o.v. The court en banc refused the motion for a new trial, but granted the motion for judgment n.o.v. Plaintiff has appealed. The factual situation appears in the following excerpt from the opinion below:

"On March 8, 1955, about 8:30 A.M., plaintiff drove the Sweet Clean Laundry truck out of the rear of the Sweet Clean plant on to Deary Street and proceeded south toward Lincoln Avenue. Lincoln Avenue runs east and west. Deary Street runs north and south. As Deary Street intersects Lincoln Avenue, it forms an acute angle with the northwest corner. Plaintiff drove the truck a short distance up Deary Street, intending to make a right turn on to Lincoln Avenue. He stopped five to six feet from the northern curb line of Lincoln Avenue because the traffic light regulating his movement south was red. The streets with which we are here concerned are regulated by four traffic lights. There is one light at the northwest corner of Deary Street and Lincoln Avenue; another east of

[ 194 Pa. Super. Page 69]

Deary Street and approximately north of Chaucer Street. There is a third light on the south side of Lincoln Avenue opposite Deary Street and a fourth one at the southeast corner of Chaucer Street.

"Mr. Wooster, traffic engineer of the City of Pittsburgh, testified that the two traffic lights on the north side of Lincoln Avenue are synchronized. The are both green, red or amber at the same time and these lights regulate the movement of traffic west on Lincoln Avenue. The two traffic lights on the south side of Lincoln Avenue are synchronized and they regulate the movement of traffic east on Lincoln Avenue ...

"This accident happened on the eighth of March, 1955, about 8:30 in the morning. The plaintiff, Mr. Escher, testified that he was driving the laundry truck in a southerly direction down Deary Street toward its intersection with Lincoln Avenue, intending to make a right turn and go west on Lincoln Avenue. He testified that as he came to the intersection of Deary Street and Lincoln Avenue the traffic light on the south side of Lincoln Avenue was red. He stopped six feet from the curb. He then heard the man behind him, Mr. Solo, sound his horn. He looked up and the traffic light governing the turn from Deary Street on to Lincoln Avenue was green. He looked to his left. He said he could see approximately 350 feet to his left. He observed the street car 200 feet away. He was unable to say whether the street car was moving when he first observed it. Without looking again to the left, he proceeded to make the right turn on to Lincoln ...


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