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GOTTLOB ET UX. v. HILLEGAS. (06/15/61)

June 15, 1961

GOTTLOB ET UX., APPELLANTS,
v.
HILLEGAS.



Appeals, Nos. 121 and 122, Oct. T., 1961, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 5 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1958, No. 1888, in case of Milton Gottlob et at. v. Richard Hillegas. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Norman Shigon, for appellants.

James J. McEldrew, with him Elston C. Cole, for appellee.

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

Author: Wright

[ 195 Pa. Super. Page 455]

OPINION BY WRIGHT, J.

On December 1, 1957, a collision occurred between a motor vehicle in which Estelle Gottlob was a passenger, and a motor vehicle owned by John W. Hillegas and operated by his son, Richard Hillegas. Mrs. Gottlob and her husband, Milton, instituted suit in trespass in Court of Common Pleas No. 4 of Philadelphia County against John W. and Richard Hillegas. The trial took place before Judge REIMEL and Court of Common Pleas No. 5, and resulted in a verdict against Richard Hillegas*fn1 in the sum of $100.00 for each plaintiff. The court en banc dismissed plaintiffs' motion for a new trial, and judgment was entered on the verdict. These appeals followed.

The collision occurred on Baltimore Avenue near Fifty-Second Street in the City of Philadelphia. The vehicle in which Estelle Gottlob was a passenger was part of a funeral procession, and had stopped for a red light. It was struck from the rear by the Hillegas car. Appellee offered no testimony, as liability was in effect conceded. Mrs. Gottlob's theory was that a consequence of the collision was a serious heart condition. She offered medical bills in total amount of $5,518.59. The pivotal question was whether the injury of which Mrs. Gottlob complained resulted from the accident. That issue was submitted to the jury in a thorough and impartial charge concerning which no serious objection is made.

Appellants' principal contentions are that the verdicts were (a) inadequate, and (b) arbitrary and capricious.

[ 195 Pa. Super. Page 456]

In this connection we quote with approval the following excerpt from the opinion of President Judge ALESSANDRONI speaking for the court en banc:

"Upon first impression this is a classic illustration of a jury being misled by bias, prejudice, or one of a number of other reasons. If the medical expenses required by the injuries were in excess of $5,000.00, the verdicts would indeed be shocking and would demand the granting of a new trial to correct the miscarriage of justice. Indeed if such were the situation there can be little doubt but what the trial judge would have granted a new trial sua sponte. Compare Elza v. Chovan, 396 Pa 112.

"First impressions being what they are, the failure of the trial judge to act when the verdicts were received indicates that all is not as it appears. The record presented a serious issue for the jury's determination: were the injuries, which required the expenditure of more than $5,000.00 in medical expenses, a consequence of the accident. If this vital connection is not established by the record then the verdicts are justified. The finding of the jury as established by ...


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