Appeals from orders of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Jan. T., 1964, No. 3273, in cases of Dorothy Petrack v. George Mlakar and Robert Hanolt; and Dorothy Hanolt v. Same.
Gary F. Sharlock, with him Mercer & Buckley, for appellant.
Thomas F. Weis, with him Weis & Weis, for appellant.
T. Robert Brennan, with him Irwin B. Wedner, and Brennan and Brennan, for appellees.
Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice O'Brien. Mr. Justice Roberts dissents and would reverse grant of new trial.
Dorothy Hanolt and Dorothy Petrack suffered personal injuries when an automobile being operated by Dorothy Hanolt's husband, Robert Hanolt, in which both women were passengers, was struck from the rear on Perrysville Avenue, in the City of Pittsburgh, at approximately 4:00 A.M. on Saturday, December 15, 1962. Mr. and Mrs. Hanolt brought an action of trespass for recovery of their damages against the operator of the other vehicle involved, George Mlakar, as did Dorothy Petrack, seeking the recovery of her damages. In the Petrack case, Robert Hanolt was joined as an additional defendant, and in the Hanolt case, the causes of action were severed, and Robert Hanolt joined as additional defendant in the action of his wife against Mlakar. At trial, Mlakar and a passenger, who was present in his vehicle at the time of the accident, testified that Robert Hanolt brought his vehicle to a sudden stop without warning, and that although he, Mlakar, swerved to his left in an attempt to avoid a collision, he nevertheless collided with the rear of the Hanolt automobile. The Mlakar testimony further indicated that Hanolt was operating his vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor, and the testimony as to his conduct immediately subsequent to the accident lends some measure of support to that conclusion. The testimony of the plaintiffs in the actions indicates that Robert Hanolt had, in fact, consumed some alcoholic beverage prior to the accident.
The jury returned three verdict slips which read as follows:
"And now, to wit, April 1, 1965, we, the Jurors empanelled in the above entitled case, find the ...