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GIBSON v. BRUNER. (07/17/61)

July 17, 1961

GIBSON, APPELLANT,
v.
BRUNER.



Appeal, No. 65, March T., 1961, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Butler County, Dec. T., 1949, No. A.D. 90, in case of Loretta A. Gibson, administratrix of estate of Lester A. Gibson, deceased, et al. v. Bernard E. Bruner et al. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Carmen V. Marinaro, for appellant.

Richard B. Kirkpatrick, with him Luther C. Braham, Darrell L. Gregg, Norman D. Jaffe, and Galbreath, Braham, Gregg, Kirkpatrick & Jaffe, and Marshall, Marshall & McNamee, for appellees.

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

Author: Jones

[ 406 Pa. Page 316]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. JONES

At approximately 8:10 p.m. on October 30, 1948, Lester A. Gibson and Loretta A. Gibson, his wife, were travelling south in an automobile on Route 68 toward Butler, Pa. Proceeding north on the same highway toward Chicora, Pa. was a pick-up truck operated by Edward Bruner, aged 26 years. At a point on Route 68 approximately seven miles north of Butler the two motor vehicles met in a head-on collision in the south-bound

[ 406 Pa. Page 317]

    lane of traffic. As a result of injuries sustained in the collision, Mr. Gibson died on December 18, 1948 and Mrs. Gibson received serious and permanent injuries.

At the time of the accident Edward Bruner was visibly intoxicated. There is little, if any, doubt that he was responsible for this tragic occurrence.

In the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County, Mrs. Gibson, as administratrix of her deceased husband's estate, instituted a survival and wrongful death action and, in her own right, an action for her injuries. The defendants were Edward Bruner, driver of the truck; Hilliard Lumber Company (Company), the owner of the truck; Bernard Bruner, Edward Bruner's father and an employee of the Company into whose possession and control the Company had delivered the truck.

All actions came to trial before the Honorable CLYDE SHUMAKER and a jury. At the close of plaintiff's case, the court granted a compulsory non-suit as to the Company. At the close of the trial the jury awarded three verdicts against both Edward Bruner and Bernard Bruner; a verdict in favor of Mrs. Gibson, in her own right, of $13,500, verdicts in favor of Mrs. Gibson, as administratrix, of $2500 in the survival action and $5000 in the wrongful death action. After motions for removal of the non-suit, new trial and judgment n.o.v. by the respective parties, the court below refused to take off the compulsory non-suit and entered judgment for the Company, entered judgment n.o.v. in favor of Bernard Bruner and judgment on the verdict against Edward Bruner.

Mrs. Gibson then filed one appeal (No. 65 March Term 1961) to this Court from the judgments entered. During oral argument, Mrs. Gibson's counsel was reminded that the single appeal was incapable of bringing ...


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