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SMITH v. UNITED NEWS COMPANY. (01/07/64)

January 7, 1964

SMITH, APPELLANT,
v.
UNITED NEWS COMPANY.



Appeal, No. 191, Jan. T., 1963, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 7 of Philadelphia County, June T., 1956, No. 9121, in case of Ronald Smith and Helene Parisi v. United News Company and Roland Smith. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Michael Shekmar, for appellant.

William J. McKinley, Jr., with him Swartz, Campbell & Henry, for appellee.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, O'brien and Roberts, JJ.

Author: Roberts

[ 413 Pa. Page 244]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ROBERTS

Ronald Smith and his passenger, Helen Parisi, filed suit in trespass against United News Company as a consequence of a collision at the intersection of Castor and Aramingo Avenues in Philadelphia on July 3, 1956. Upon severance, Smith was joined as an additional defendant by United News Company in the action of Miss Parisi. The matter was tried in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, and a jury returned a verdict of $5,000 for Ronald Smith and $3,000 for Helen Parisi against United News Company and a verdict for Ronald Smith as additional defendant. United News Company filed motions for judgment n.o.v. and for a new trial in the Smith action, but did not question the verdict in favor of Miss Parisi. The motion for judgment n.o.v. was granted, and this appeal followed.

It is well settled that we must view the entire record and all reasonable inferences therein contained in the light most favorable to the verdict winner, here appellant. The night of July 3, 1956, was clear. At approximately midnight, as Ronald Smith was driving his car eastward on Castor Avenue, he came up behind a tractor-trailer near the intersection of Castor and Frankford Avenues and maintained a distance of four car lengths behind the trailer. At a point between Frankford and Aramingo, both of which intersect Castor, the driver of the trailer signaled for a right turn and moved his vehicle to the far right of the roadway.

[ 413 Pa. Page 245]

Smith then signaled that he intended to pass the trailer.

Appellant was approximately 150 feet west of the intersection with Aramingo Avenue when he commenced to pass the trailer. As he passed, he observed the traffic lights at the intersection with Aramingo to be green in his favor, and he further observed traffic stopped and backed up on Aramingo for the red light which then controlled the traffic moving north and south on that street. Smith was approximately 35 feet west of Aramingo when he completed his pass of the trailer.

The northbound traffic on Aramingo, to appellant's right, consisted of three lanes of cars which had stopped for the red light. The southbound traffic to his left consisted of a dark colored vehicle stopped for the light in the lane closest to appellant. Smith testified that as he approached the intersection and observed the dark car in the closest southbound lane, he had a view of 35 feet north on Aramingo. Although this was an angle view because of a building located on the corner, the building did not obstruct his view of Aramingo Avenue to the north. Appellant's automobile was approximately 25 feet west of the intersection when he made this observation. Appellant stated that he saw nothing to his left other than the car stopped in the lane closest to him.

As appellant neared the curb line of Aramingo Avenue, his line of vision improved so that he could see a further distance to his left, but not much more than 45 feet because of the darkness. Appellant was asked: "Q. Will you tell us in what manner you continued to observe the traffic control?" He replied: "A. I was driving in the eastbound lane of Castor Avenue, and I could see that traffic was stopped, and I could also ...


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