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LOBALZO v. VAROLI. (11/13/62)

November 13, 1962

LOBALZO, APPELLANT,
v.
VAROLI.



Appeal, No. 205, March T., 1962, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1956, No. 3119, in case of Joseph Lobalzo v. August Varoli and Raymond F. Varoli. Judgment reversed.

COUNSEL

Charles F. Dean, with him Paul C. Ruffennach, for appellant.

Robert E. Wayman, with him Dickie, McCamey, Chilcote & Robinson, for appellees.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Eagen, O'brien and Keim, JJ.

Author: Musmanno

[ 409 Pa. Page 16]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

Joseph Lobalzo, an employee of the United Parcel Service, was injured when a truck which he was operating for his employer, collided with a truck owned by the defendants August Varoli and Raymond F. Varoli. The plaintiff brought suit against the Varolis, charging their driver-employee with negligence. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants, stating that the drivers of both vehicles were negligent.

At the trial the defendants brought to the jury's attention the fact that Lobalzo, as an employee of the United Parcel Service, had received workmen's compensation during the time he was disabled as a result of the truck collision. The defendants also informed the jury that the plaintiff had collected unemployment compensation. The plaintiff complains, inter alia, that he is entitled to a new trial because the interjection by the defendants into the trial of workmen's and unemployment

[ 409 Pa. Page 17]

    compensation prejudiced his case in the eyes of the jury in that they were led to believe that he was endeavoring to obtain double or triple payment for one injury.

A person who is injured through the fault of another is entitled to receive suitable damages from the wrongdoer regardless of payments received by the victim from sources other than the wrongdoer's pocketbook. For instance, a tortfeasor would not be heard to argue that the person he had injured received payments on an accident insurance policy and that, therefore, he (the tortfeasor) should not be required to pay the injured person anything. In the case of Moidel v. Peoples Natural Gas Co., 397 Pa. 212, the plaintiffs brought suit against a gas company for the destruction of their building as the result of a gas explosion. At the trial the defendant introduced evidence that the plaintiffs had received a certain sum of money as an insurance settlement for the loss of the building. Even though the plaintiffs had not objected to the introduction of this evidence, this Court held that the reference to the insurance settlement had so prejudiced their case that when the jury returned a verdict for the defendant, the plaintiffs were entitled to a new trial. Justice JONES, speaking for this Court, said: "Clearly, the fact that an injured party has received compensation from a source other than the wrongdoer is without relevancy in a suit brought by the injured party against the wrongdoer to recover damages."

The fact that an employed workman, injured through the fault of a third person, is required to pay back, from any verdict received from the third person, the amount of workmen's compensation paid to him, is not a matter for ...


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