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ROMANOVICH v. HILFERTY (09/12/68)

decided: September 12, 1968.

ROMANOVICH
v.
HILFERTY, APPELLANT



Appeal from order and judgment of County Court of Philadelphia, March T., 1965, No. 2686-A, in case of Thomas Romanovich, a minor, by his parent and natural guardian, John Romanovich, et al. v. John Hilferty et al.

COUNSEL

Thomas J. McCormack, for appellant.

Paul A. Lockrey, for appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Hannum, JJ. Opinion by Wright, P. J.

Author: Wright

[ 212 Pa. Super. Page 571]

In this trespass action we are concerned with an appeal by John Romanovich from an order and judgment of the County Court of Philadelphia setting aside a money verdict in his favor and entering judgment only in favor of his minor son, Thomas Romanovich. We will endeavor to summarize the somewhat complicated background of the proceeding.

On August 18, 1964, John Romanovich was the owner and operator of a Chevelle station wagon in which his minor son, Thomas Romanovich, was a passenger. The Romanovich vehicle was involved in an intersectional collision with a Ford sedan owned and operated by John Hilferty, in which Mary Peterson was a passenger. Two trespass actions in the County

[ 212 Pa. Super. Page 572]

Court of Philadelphia ensued. Both Hilferty and his passenger instituted suit against John Romanovich at No. 4661-A December Term 1964. John Romanovich instituted suit on behalf of himself and his minor son against Hilferty at No. 2686-A March Term 1965. In each action the respective operator of the other vehicle was joined as an additional defendant. On motion of counsel for Hilferty, the two cases were consolidated for trial and were assigned to arbitration before the same panel.

On January 19, 1967, the arbitrators filed two separate reports and awards. In the case of Hilferty and his passenger, wherein John Romanovich was defendant and Hilferty additional defendant, there was an award in favor of Mary Peterson in the sum of $675.00 against both defendants, and for Romanovich as against Hilferty. No appeal was taken, and an order was subsequently filed marking this award satisfied. In the case of Thomas and John Romanovich, wherein Hilferty was defendant and John Romanovich additional defendant, there was an award in favor of Thomas Romanovich in the sum of $1,255.00 against both defendants, and for Hilferty as against John Romanovich.

On February 8, 1967, counsel for Hilferty filed an appeal in the action at No. 2686-A March Term 1965, wherein he was original defendant and John Romanovich was additional defendant. The pertinent language used in taking this appeal was as follows (italics supplied): "Kindly enter my appeal on behalf of John Hilferty only, in regard to the award in the matter of Thomas Romanovich, a minor plaintiff v. John Hilferty, defendant and John Romanovich, additional defendant in the above-captioned case". John Romanovich did not appeal. At the commencement of the trial on April 13, 1967, the trial judge refused a request

[ 212 Pa. Super. Page 573]

    by Hilferty's counsel to limit the issue to the liability of Hilferty to Thomas Romanovich, ruling "that this is a matter de novo". On April 18, 1967, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Thomas Romanovich in the sum of $800.00 against Hilferty alone, for John Romanovich as additional defendant, and in favor of John Romanovich in his own right in the sum of $1,000.00 against Hilferty. Counsel for Hilferty filed motions to arrest judgment on the verdict in favor of John Romanovich in his own right and the verdict in favor of John Romanovich as additional defendant on the ground that no appeal had been taken from those arbitration awards. In an opinion written by the trial judge the court en banc set ...


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