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RHOADES ET UX. v. WOLF (12/16/65)

decided: December 16, 1965.

RHOADES ET UX., APPELLANTS,
v.
WOLF



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, April T., 1962, No. 320, in case of Glenn Rhoades et ux. v. Norman Wolf et ux.

COUNSEL

Henry E. Shaw, with him Scales and Shaw, for appellants.

Daniel J. Snyder, with him Avra N. Pershing, Jr., for appellees.

Ervin, P. J., Wright, Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, and Hoffman, JJ. (Flood, J., absent). Opinion by Wright, J.

Author: Wright

[ 207 Pa. Super. Page 105]

This appeal involves an intersection collision between a motor vehicle owned by Mary Rhoades and operated by her husband, Glenn Rhoades, and a motor vehicle owned by Norman Wolf and his wife, Henrietta, and operated by the husband. Glenn and Mary, plaintiffs, instituted a trespass action against Norman and Henrietta, defendants, to recover for Glenn's personal injuries and Mary's property damage. An answer was filed with counterclaim for property damage, together with new matter severing the claims of Glenn and Mary*fn1 and a complaint against Glenn as additional defendant. At the conclusion of plaintiffs' testimony, a compulsory non-suit was entered as to Henrietta. After a three day trial the jury returned verdicts as follows: for Glenn against Norman in amount of $10,000.00; for Mary against Norman in amount of $300.00; and for Glenn and Mary in the counterclaim.

[ 207 Pa. Super. Page 106]

A motion by Glenn and Mary for a new trial was dismissed by the court en banc, and judgment was entered on the verdict. Glenn and Mary then appealed to the Supreme Court, and the appeal was remitted to this court.

The collision occurred in North Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County, on the afternoon of March 31, 1962. Glenn Rhoades was traveling west on the Wendel-Herminie Road. Two of his children, aged 12 and 14, were passengers in the car. Norman Wolf and his wife were proceeding north on the Barnes Lake Road, traffic on which at the intersection in question was controlled by a stop sign. The view of the intersection was considerably restricted for both drivers because of a large house, hedges, bank and trees. It was appellants' theory that the accident was caused by Wolf's admitted failure to bring his car to a complete stop at the stop sign. It was Wolf's theory that he was committed to the intersection when he first saw the Rhoades vehicle, and that he was "almost through" when his car was struck on the right rear fender.

The five contentions advanced by appellants, as stated in the brief*fn2 relate to purported errors by the trial judge in charging the jury on the issue of liability.

[ 207 Pa. Super. Page 107]

It is well settled that, in determining the correctness and adequacy of a court's charge to a jury, the charge must be read and considered as a whole and not just isolated excerpts therefrom: DeMichiei v. Holfelder, 410 Pa. 483, 189 A.2d 882. As pointed out by Chief Justice Bell in the case cited, the grant or refusal of a new trial by the court below will not be reversed by the appellate court in the absence of a clear abuse of discretion or an error of law which controlled the outcome of the case.

The charge in the instant case covers forty pages of the printed record not including answers by the trial judge to the points submitted, seven by the plaintiffs and eleven by the defendants. We are convinced from our review of the charge as a whole that it fairly submitted the controlling issues for the jury's determination. The substantial ...


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