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MICHAEL WEAVER v. FIRESTONE TIRE & RUBBER COMPANY (07/13/79)

decided: July 13, 1979.

MICHAEL WEAVER
v.
FIRESTONE TIRE & RUBBER COMPANY, APPELLANT, V. ASPLUNDH TREE EXPERT COMPANY, ADDITIONAL DEFENDANT



No. 1021 October Term, 1978, Appeal from the Order in the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County, Civil Action, No. 75-0441.

COUNSEL

John C. Youngman, Sr., Williamsport, for appellant.

Richard A. Gahr, Williamsport, for appellee Weaver.

No brief filed on behalf of appellee Asplundh.

Price, Hester and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Price

[ 267 Pa. Super. Page 550]

The instant appeal is from an order of the lower court granting appellee's motion for a new trial on the grounds that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. For the reasons stated herein, we reverse the order of the lower court.

The facts pertinent to this appeal are as follows. On Wednesday, August 28, 1974, Thomas Wolf, an employee of additional defendant, took his automobile to appellant's garage in Williamsport, Lycoming County. Wolf purchased four tires and requested that they be mounted and balanced and that the front end of his vehicle be aligned. In the course of the work by appellant's mechanic, there was discussion with respect to the difficulty in aligning the vehicle caused by the air shock absorbers. With Wolf's assistance, the mechanic released some of the air from the shock absorbers and the vehicle was aligned.

Sometime during the middle of the next week, Wolf began to notice that when he applied the brakes the vehicle made a slight "clunking" noise and had a tendency to pull to the right. The condition worsened, such that on or about Friday, September 6, Wolf contacted appellant's manager and described the problem of the vehicle pulling to the right. Wolf contended that he also mentioned the clunking problem. The manager told Wolf to "bring it in directly," although Wolf claimed that he was told not to bring the vehicle in until Tuesday, September 10, because the mechanic who worked on the vehicle would be on vacation on Monday, September 9.

On Monday, September 9, Wolf, as was his custom, was using the vehicle in connection with his work for additional defendant. Appellee, also an employee of additional defendant, was a passenger in the vehicle. Wolf informed appellee that they would not be working the next day as he had to return his vehicle to the garage because it made a clunking noise and tended to pull to the right when he applied the brakes.

[ 267 Pa. Super. Page 551]

At or about 5:15 p. m. that day, appellee and Wolf were traveling along a gravel road at approximately twenty (20) miles per hour. Wolf applied the brakes, and the vehicle veered sharply to the right and struck a concrete bridge abutment. As a result of the collision, appellee suffered injuries principally to the knee and incurred medical expenses in excess of $2,300.

The vehicle was examined by Wolf following the accident; he observed that while the left front wheel was in its proper position, the right front wheel was at an angle to the vehicle. The alignment process for a 1967 Ford Galaxie necessitates the loosening of two bolts, one on each side, in the front of the vehicle which attach the upper A frame to the frame of the vehicle. When the vehicle has been properly aligned, the bolts are again tightened. When he examined the vehicle following the ...


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