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MUTTER v. SLAYMAKER (06/26/61)

June 26, 1961

MUTTER
v.
SLAYMAKER, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 161, Jan. T., 1961, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, April T., 1959, No. 111, in case of Oscar Mutter v. Paul P. Slaymaker et al. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

John Field Oldt, with him Fox & Oldt, for appellants.

Edward J. Danser, with him Danser & Brose, for appellee.

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

Author: Eagen

[ 404 Pa. Page 370]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE EAGEN.

This suit in trespass was instituted to recover damages for personal injuries to the plaintiff due to the alleged negligence of the defendants. A jury trial resulted in a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $16,549.50. The lower court denied the defendant's

[ 404 Pa. Page 371]

    motion for judgment non obstante veredicto and entered judgment upon the verdict. Defendants appealed.

It is argued that no actionable negligence was proven and that the plaintiff was guilty of contributory negligence as a matter of law. Both contentions are without merit.

The jury-winner is entitled to the benefit of every fact and inference of fact which may reasonably be deduced from the evidence: Metro v. Long Trans. Co., 387 Pa. 354, 127 A.2d 716 (1956). Viewed in this light, the evidence discloses the following: The plaintiff was resident-manager in a pretzel factory. At the time involved, he was awaiting delivery of a shipment of corrugated cartons necessary for the plant's production that day. These cartons were delivered by the corporate-defendants, Thoro System Waterproofing, Inc., and Ell-Jay Express, Inc., in a tractor-trailer operated by the defendant, Paul P. Slaymaker. The trailer was approximately 35 feet in length and the tractor about 10 or 12 feet. Deliveries to the factory were made at a loading dock situated in an areaway between two portions of the factory building. This passageway is 50 feet in length and slants slightly from the street to the dock. The loading dock is 3 feet from the ground. The bed of the trailer involved was 42 inches from the ground.

Immediately prior to the accident, the plaintiff was standing on the loading dock and saw the tractor-trailer back into the areaway and stop at a point where the rear axle of the trailer was approximately 10 feet distant from the dock. He was manager of the plant for seventeen years and frequently helped on the dock in the unloading of supplies. The practice continuously followed by operators of tractor-trailers in making ...


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