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MURPHY v. PITTSBURGH RAILWAYS COMPANY (05/02/66)

decided: May 2, 1966.

MURPHY
v.
PITTSBURGH RAILWAYS COMPANY, APPELLANT



Appeals from order and judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, April T., 1960, No. 909, in case of Jean F. Murphy v. Pittsburgh Railways Company, Phillip J. Mallin, Harriet R. Mallin et al.

COUNSEL

John Ward Hindman, with him Prichard, Lawler & Geltz, for defendant, Pittsburgh Railways Company, appellant.

James F. Manley, with him Burns & Manley, for additional defendants, appellants.

Frank J. Kernan, with him P. J. McArdle, for appellee.

Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Musmanno. Mr. Justice Roberts concurs in the result. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Cohen.

Author: Musmanno

[ 421 Pa. Page 253]

Mrs. Jean F. Murphy, 74 years of age, was walking up Central Way in Mt. Lebanon, a sidewalkless alley about 18 feet wide, when a Pittsburgh Railways bus turning into Central Way from Central Square bore down on her, and, in order to escape being struck, she fled to the left of the alley and fell into a window well of a building owned by Phillip J. Mallin and others, whose names do not need to be enumerated here. She sustained injuries in her fall and she filed suit against

[ 421 Pa. Page 254]

    the Pittsburgh Railways Company, which brought in the owners of the building as additional defendants.

The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the sum of $20,000 against the traction company and the proprietors of the building, all of whom appealed. We will consider first the appeal of the Pittsburgh Railways Company which argues that Mrs. Murphy's mishap was due to her own negligence and not because of any fault on its part. It contends that Mrs. Murphy, because of her advanced age and a defective vision, misinterpreted the action of the bus driver since the bus could not have entered the alley in the way described by the plaintiff. She testified that the bus turned the corner fast "and it was bouncing, just bounced around."

The plaintiff refuted the charge that her vision was inadequate and testified that her left eye had full vigor and that she had no trouble reading, judging distances, shopping etc. It would appear that, even if her eyesight was not of the best she could see better in the alley than the bus driver, since he testified that when he would enter into the alley he would not look to see if there were any people there!

An expert witness for the defendant traction company testified that it was impossible for the bus to have entered into the alley in the manner described by Mrs. Murphy because it was necessary, in turning from Central Square into Central Way, to make a sharp right-hand turn and that, in doing so, the speed of a bus would necessarily be not more than three miles an hour; also that, after entering Central Way, the bus would take a straight course down the alley way and that, doing this, it would have had to collide with a telegraph pole before coming to where Mrs. Murphy was. This, however, is all hypothesis predicated on the assumption that the bus driver would turn ...


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