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RITSON v. DON ALLEN CHEVROLET (03/31/75)

decided: March 31, 1975.

RITSON, APPELLANT,
v.
DON ALLEN CHEVROLET, ET AL.



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Allegheny County, Jan. T., 1971, No. 2127, in case of Thomas Ritson v. Don Allen Chevrolet, a Corporation, Original Defendant, and General Motors Corporation and Hertz Corporation, Additional Defendants.

COUNSEL

T. Cooper, with him George E. Schumacher, and Schumacher & White, for appellant.

William K. Herrington, with him Weis & Weis, for appellee, Don Allen Chevrolet.

Herbert Grigsby, with him Jane L. Boucher, and Thomson, Rhodes & Grigsby, for appellee, Hertz Corporation.

Thomas A. Lazaroff, with him Meyer, Darragh, Buckler, Bebenek & Eck, for appellee, General Motors Corporation.

Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J. Jacobs, J., dissents.

Author: Hoffman

[ 233 Pa. Super. Page 113]

The sole issue before the Court is whether testimony of appellant's expert witness was properly excluded by the court below. After excluding the evidence, the trial court granted appellees' motions for a compulsory non-suit.

In January, 1970, appellant, Thomas Ritson, purchased a used 1969 Chevrolet Impala from Don Allen Chevrolet, a Pittsburgh area dealership. Hertz Corporation sold the Impala to Don Allen Chevrolet after the vehicle had been driven approximately 19,000 miles.

[ 233 Pa. Super. Page 114]

During the morning hours of October 26, 1970, appellant was driving home after attending a Halloween party in the East Liberty section of Pittsburgh. According to appellant's testimony, he made a right hand turn onto New Arlington Avenue from Carson Street. He turned the wheel of his Impala slightly to the left. At that point he lost control of the wheel for a split second. Even after appellant released the accelerator pedal and applied the brakes, the engine continued to race. He could not stop the car in time to avoid striking the front end of another automobile. The appellant was traveling at an estimated 25 miles per hour at the time of the accident. The roadway was wet, but the weather was clear and the visibility was good.

After several hours at South Side Hospital where appellant was treated for lacerations and head injuries, he was admitted to Allegheny General Hospital. He remained in Allegheny General Hospital for eleven days.

The automobile was towed to Gumbel's Body Shop. A fender and the front bumper were removed at the garage. Three weeks after the accident, on November 16, 1970, Wilbert Messmer, an automobile mechanic, examined the Impala to determine if any mechanical defects could have caused the sudden racing of the engine and the appellant's losing control of the steering of the car. After the expert's ...


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