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BOYD v. HERTZ CORPORATION ET AL. (09/21/71)

decided: September 21, 1971.

BOYD, APPELLANT,
v.
HERTZ CORPORATION ET AL., APPELLANTS



Appeals from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, No. 65-7362, in case of Robert E. Boyd v. The Hertz Corporation et al.

COUNSEL

James F. Mundy, with him B. Nathaniel Richter, and Richter, Syken, Ross & Binder, for appellant.

Raymond M. Seidel, with him High, Swartz, Roberts & Seidel, for appellants.

C. Howard Harry, Jr., for appellee.

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

Author: Spaulding

[ 219 Pa. Super. Page 490]

These are appeals from orders dismissing motions for a new trial generally and for a new trial limited to the issue of damages entered on May 14, 1970, by a court en banc of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County. These orders followed a jury verdict in the sum of $5000 in favor of appellant Robert E. Boyd, in favor of appellee Daniel E. Karpiak, and against appellant-appellees The Hertz Corporation, William F. Hardy, and Universal Rundle Corporation.

This case arose from an automobile accident which occurred in April 1964. Appellant Boyd was driving his station wagon in heavy traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway heading into Philadelphia. He was in the left or passing lane of the two eastbound lanes when he slowed to a halt behind a line of traffic. As Boyd slowed down, appellee Karpiak's car, which was the second car in front of Boyd, skidded across the wet, slippery roadway and turned more than 90 degrees clockwise into the right lane. Karpiak's car came to rest with its front wheel on the shoulder of the road and the remainder of the car blocking the right-hand lane, at a right angle to the flow of traffic. At this point, Karpiak looked towards the approaching traffic and observed a tractor-trailer -- approximately 500 feet away -- bearing down on him. Believing that the vehicle was still far enough away so that a collision could be avoided, Karpiak backed his car into the passing lane until its back bumper touched the metal guard

[ 219 Pa. Super. Page 491]

    rail, put the car into forward gear, and attempted to pull into the right-hand lane and proceed. Unfortunately, the motor stalled leaving his car in approximately the same position, perpendicular to the flow of traffic, blocking the passing lane completely with his right front wheel still protruding two feet into the right-hand lane.

Appellant-appellee Hardy was driving the Universal Rundle tractor-trailer in the right-hand lane. Seeing Karpiak's car protruding two feet into his lane, Hardy continued to move, attempting to maneuver his truck around the car to the right. Fearing to drive onto the wet, unpaved, and presumably soft shoulder, Hardy attempted to squeeze past the Karpiak car while remaining in the right-hand operating lane. When Hardy swung his tractor to the right, the trailer did not follow. It skidded slightly sideways, its rear end hitting the rear and right side of Boyd's station wagon and continuing on to slice the front right fender of Karpiak's car.

Appellant Boyd originally brought suit against all of the named defendants. The jury awarded a $5000 verdict against Hertz, Hardy, and Universal Rundle and found appellee Karpiak free from liability. Hertz, Hardy, and Universal Rundle, appellants, in No. 1255, appeal denial of their motion for a new trial generally. Boyd, appellant in ...


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