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GRASHA v. INGERSOLL-RAND COMPANY (07/02/70)

decided: July 2, 1970.

GRASHA, APPELLANT,
v.
INGERSOLL-RAND COMPANY



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1963, No. 1368, in case of Anthony A. Grasha v. Ingersoll-Rand Company et al.

COUNSEL

James E. McLaughlin, with him McArdle, McLaughlin, Paletta & McVay, for plaintiff, appellant.

Donald W. Bebenek, with him Richard J. Mills, and Meyer, Darragh, Buckler, Bebenek & Eck, for defendant, appellee.

Ira R. Hill, with him Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, for additional defendant, appellee.

Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones. Mr. Chief Justice Bell took no part in the consideration or decision of this case. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts.

Author: Jones

[ 439 Pa. Page 218]

On August 13, 1961, Anthony Grasha was injured. At the time of the accident, Grasha and two fellow employees were attaching a thirteen foot drill bit to an air drill when, suddenly and unexpectedly, the air drill started, causing Grasha's injury. The three men were employed by United States Steel Corporation (Steel) and the drill which they were using had allegedly been manufactured by Ingersoll-Rand Company (Ingersoll).

The sudden and unexpected starting of the drill occurred either because the drill had been defectively manufactured -- in which event Ingersoll would be responsible -- or because one of Grasha's fellow employees had negligently pulled the trigger -- in which event Steel would be responsible.

On July 29, 1963 -- within the two year period of the statute of limitations (Act of June 24, 1895, P. L. 236, § 2, 12 P.S. § 34) -- Grasha instituted a trespass action against Ingersoll in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County and, on September 17, 1963, Ingersoll filed its answer. On January 7, 1964 -- four months beyond the two year period of the statute of limitations -- Ingersoll joined Steel, Grasha's employer, as an additional defendant. Steel then raised the defenses

[ 439 Pa. Page 219]

    both of the statute of limitations and the Workmen's Compensation Act.*fn1

After a trial by jury, the jury returned a verdict in Grasha's favor and against Steel in the amount of $130,000 and a verdict against Grasha and in favor of Ingersoll. Steel moved for and was granted a judgment n.o.v. Grasha moved for a new trial which was denied. Judgment on the verdict against Grasha was entered and Grasha, seeking a new trial, now appeals.

Grasha first contends that the trial court erred in charging the jury that either Steel or Ingersoll might be found liable but that, under the record facts, Steel and Ingersoll could not be found jointly liable. It is obvious that Steel, by virtue of the impact of the statute of limitations and the Workmen's Compensation Act, could be fixed with responsibility only on the theory of joint ...


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