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LULA GATLING v. VICKIE ROTHMAN AND MORRIS KARP (06/08/79)

decided: June 8, 1979.

LULA GATLING, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF TELLIE GATLING, DECEASED, APPELLANT,
v.
VICKIE ROTHMAN AND MORRIS KARP



No. 2359 October Term, 1977, Appeal from the Order in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil Trial Division, Law, No. 3322, January Term, 1974.

COUNSEL

Joseph D. Shein, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Joseph W. Fullem, Jr., Philadelphia, for appellees Rothman and Karp.

Jacobs, President Judge, and Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, Spaeth and Hester, JJ. Spaeth, J., files a concurring opinion. Jacobs, former President Judge, and Hoffman, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Price

[ 267 Pa. Super. Page 567]

This appeal concerns an automobile accident occurring at the intersection of Longshore and Rutland Streets in Philadelphia. Rutland Street is one way northbound and is approximately twenty (20) feet wide. It intersects Longshore Street at a right angle; Longshore being a thirty-six (36) foot wide street which accommodates east and westbound traffic. The intersection is controlled by a stop sign on Rutland Street.

At approximately 2:05 a. m. on July 30, 1973, Tellie Gatling was operating his motor vehicle on Rutland Street approaching the junction with Longshore. Appellant Lula Gatling, his wife, was a passenger in the car. The vehicle stopped at the intersection and began to cross Longshore. It

[ 267 Pa. Super. Page 568]

    proceeded into the intersection and was approximately ten (10) feet from the opposite curb when it was struck on the left side by a vehicle driven by appellee traveling eastbound on Longshore. Tellie Gatling died as a result of the crash.

Appellant sued appellee and a Morris Karp, M.D.,*fn1 for personal injuries to herself and in her capacity as administratrix of her husband's estate. Appellee, alleging the negligence of Tellie Gatling, joined appellant in her capacity as administratrix as an additional defendant. In a bifurcated jury trial conducted on February 7 and 8, 1977, on the issue of liability, a verdict was returned in favor of both appellee and the additional defendant. On August 16, 1977, the court below denied appellant's motion for a new trial. For the reasons stated herein, we reverse that order and remand for further proceedings.

Appellant's first contention*fn2 is based on the following exchange which occurred during the cross-examination of an investigating officer by counsel for appellee.

"Q. Tell us your purpose to conduct this official investigation of this accident?

A. The purpose of the official investigation was to determine whether there was any motor vehicle ...


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