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IMHOFF ET VIR v. PITTSBURGH. (12/12/63)

December 12, 1963

IMHOFF ET VIR, APPELLANTS,
v.
PITTSBURGH.



Appeals, Nos. 156 and 157, April T., 1963, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, April T., 1957, No. 1263, in case of Margaret Mary Imhoff et vir v. City of Pittsburgh. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

William S. Schweers, with him McArdle, Harrington & McLaughlin, for appellants.

Robert Engel, Assistant City Solicitor, with him Dvaid W. Craig, City Solicitor, for appellee.

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

Author: Wright

[ 202 Pa. Super. Page 233]

OPINION BY WRIGHT, J.

Margaret Mary Imhoff and her husband, Paul Imhoff, filed a complaint in trespass against the City of Pittsburgh to recover damages for personal injuries sustained by the wife-plaintiff on the afternoon of January 3, 1957, when she slipped and fell while walking along Pliney Way. The case was tried before Honorable RUGGERO J. ALDISERT and a jury. The defendant called no witnesses, but presented a point for binding instructions, which point was refused. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the wife-plaintiff in amount of $1,200.00, and a verdict in favor of the husband-plaintiff in amount of $500.00. The court en banc subsequently entered judgments in favor of the defendant non obstante veredicto. The plaintiffs have appealed.

Appellants resided at No. 712 Pliney Way, which is a narrow unimproved street without sidewalks. It

[ 202 Pa. Super. Page 234]

    is referred to in the opinion below as "a back street or alley". The wife-appellant was returning from a brief visit to the home of her mother-in-law, who also resided on Pliney Way about a block distant. The complaint alleges that the wife-plaintiff "was caused to fall by reason of ridges of ice covering ruts in the said cartway, said condition having existed for a long period of time after the defendant knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known of their existence". Since the sole question on this appeal is whether appellants established negligence on the part of the city, we will set forth the material portion of the testimony of appellants' three witnesses on that pivotal issue.

Margaret Mary Imhoff testified as follows: "Q. And what happened to you? A.I was walking along Pliney Way, and I slipped and fell. Q. Do you know what caused you to slip and fall? A. There had been an accumulation of ice, and it had formed into ridges and ruts, and there was nowhere to walk and I slipped in one of these. Q. Do you know approximately how long this condition had exited on Pliney Way? A. The ice and ridges had been there for at least three weeks, possibly longer. Q. Could you describe for us this accumulation - - this condition? A. Well, as it had snowed and melted, the snow would melt in certain places and accumulate in others, and then as it would snow again this ice would just keep on accumulating and formed into ridges. Q. Could you tell us anything about the size of the ridges" A. The ridges were at least five inches deep with, I would say, a cap of at least three inches of ice".

Joseph Yasinsky testified as follows: "Q. Now, are you familiar with the condition of Pliney Way as it existed at the time of January 3, 1957? A. Yes, I remember the condition. It was icy and furrowed with ...


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