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KAGARISE v. SHOVER (03/23/71)

decided: March 23, 1971.

KAGARISE, APPELLANT,
v.
SHOVER



Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Blair County, March T., 1967, No. 13, in case of Caroll A. Kagarise v. William S. Shover.

COUNSEL

Richard A. Zappala, with him Zappala & Zappala, for appellant.

Merle K. Evey, with him Patterson, Evey, Routch & Black, for appellee.

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

Author: Hoffman

[ 218 Pa. Super. Page 288]

This case is an action for damages for injuries resulting from an automobile collision. At the trial below defendant in effect conceded his liability, and the only issue presented was the amount of damages.

Plaintiff-appellant, a teacher, testified on direct examination that she missed thirty-nine days of school as a result of the accident. On cross-examination defense counsel, over appellant's objection, elicited testimony that she was in fact paid for ten of the days she missed and had received half pay for "some of these days." On redirect examination appellant testified that her employer school district had a program ". . . akin to a sick-pay type of program where they will to an extent continue salary or income even though you were absent for a certain period from school" and that compensation was received by appellant under this "standard sick-pay type of arrangement."

Appellant's counsel on numerous occasions objected to the introduction of evidence that appellant had received pay for part of the period during which she did not work. He requested the court to take judicial notice that appellant's sick pay was paid pursuant to a State statute.*fn1

[ 218 Pa. Super. Page 289]

Appellant proved damages of $1771.55, including thirty-nine days absent from school.*fn2 The judge charged the jury that the loss of time from school teaching "will be for you to determine in taking together all the facts and all the testimony in the case." There was a specific objection to the reference to sick pay in the charge. The jury returned a verdict of $1,500 in appellant's favor, approximately the amount proved if the ten days of sick pay were deducted. Clearly, appellant's claim for the full thirty-nine days was disregarded.

Motions for new trial were filed, alleging, inter alia, that the verdict was grossly inadequate and that the court erred in admitting into evidence the fact that appellant had received compensation from someone other than appellee, i.e., a "collateral source." These motions were denied. Judgment was entered on the verdict and this appeal followed.

The question presented on appeal is whether the lower court properly allowed the jury to consider the fact that appellant received income from a collateral source (the school district) during her incapacity.

"The collateral source rule may be described as the judicial refusal to credit to the benefit of the wrongdoer money or services received in reparation of the injury caused which emanate from sources other than the wrongdoer." Feeley v. United States, 337 F. 2d 924, 926 (3d Cir. 1964). As applied in most jurisdictions the effect of this rule ...


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