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BRUNO v. BROWN (05/11/64)

May 11, 1964

BRUNO
v.
BROWN, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 69, Jan. T., 1964, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Nov. T., 1960, No. 385, and No. 63-6441, in case of Frank Bruno v. Larry Wilson Brown. Judgment reversed.

COUNSEL

Harry N. Moran, Jr., with him James N. Peck, for appellant.

Elkins Wetherill, with him Edward R. Taylor, for appellee.

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

Author: Eagen

[ 414 Pa. Page 362]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE EAGEN

On August 22, 1960, an automobile, owned and operated by the defendant, crashed with great force into the rear of a stopped automobile in which the plaintiff was sitting. The latter allegedly suffered serious bodily injuries and sued for damages. The first trial of the issue resulted in a jury disagreement. In the second trial, the plaintiff won an award of $20,000. From

[ 414 Pa. Page 363]

    the judgment entered on the verdict, the defendant appeals alleging that trial errors require a new trial.

The principal assignments of error concern rulings of the trial judge limiting plaintiff's cross-examination, and excluding the testimony of certain witnesses called by the defense.

The plaintiff was admittedly involved in three automobile accidents other than the one here concerned. The dates of these occurrences were March 6, 1953, December 15, 1960, and November 1962. The plaintiff sued and recovered damages for injuries allegedly received in the 1953 accident. It is this suit and accident that figures prominently in connection with the assignments of error urged on this appeal.

On December 27, 1961, pretrial discovery depositions were taken in the present action. Therein, plaintiff denied having been involved in an accident in 1953. During the first trial of this case, he persisted in this denial until confronted with the complaint in trespass filed on his behalf in the action based on that occurrence. He then changed his testimony and tried to explain his failure to tell of this accident in the first instance.

At the second trial of the present action wherein he recovered the verdict now complained of, he admittedly told the truth of his involvement in all other accidents. On cross-examination, defense counsel sought to impeach his general credibility by showing his false testimony in the pretrial depositions and at the first trial. An objection ...


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