No. 926 Pittsburgh, 1981, Appeal from the Judgment of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Allegheny County, at No. GD78-2513, Issue No. 104859.
Seymour A. Sikov, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Leonard E. Price, Pittsburgh, for Thompson, appellees.
Thomas F. Weis, Pittsburgh, for West Penn, appellee.
Cavanaugh, Brosky and Montgomery, JJ.
[ 325 Pa. Super. Page 390]
The instant action was instituted in trespass in the lower court by Plaintiff-Appellees, William E. Thompson and Ruth Thompson, his wife, to recover damages for injuries sustained by Mr. Thompson when the boom of a truck crane owned by Defendant-Appellant, Anthony Crane Rental, Inc., struck high voltage electrical wires on the premises of Defendant-Appellee, West Penn Power Company. The case proceeded to a trial before a jury and on March 20, 1981, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the Appellees. The verdict was later molded by the lower court to read as follows:
"AND NOW, to-wit, this 30th day of March, 1981, A verdict in favor of West Penn Power Company and a verdict against Anthony Crane Rental, Inc. in the amount of $500,000.00 in the claim of William E. Thompson under § 402A of the Restatement of Torts and in the amount of $490,000.00 in favor of William E. Thompson in the negligence case against Anthony Crane Rental, Inc. Also a verdict for Ruth Thompson in the amount of $150,000.00 in the consortium claim under § 402A of the Restatement of Torts and in the amount of $147,000.00 in the consortium claim in the negligence case. These verdicts shall be construed not to be cumulative and the liability of Anthony Crane Rental, Inc. shall not exceed $500,000.00, in any event, in the claim of William E. Thompson nor $150,000.00, in any event, in the claim of Ruth Thompson. The verdicts shall be with detention damages in accordance with R.C.P. 238. This remolding supercedes molding by the court of March 20, 1981. The parties shall have 10
[ 325 Pa. Super. Page 391]
days from March 30, 1981 to file appropriate motions in connection with this remolding."
Appellant Anthony Crane Rental raises numerous allegations of error on this appeal regarding the lower court's denial of its motions for judgment n.o.v. and for a new trial.
The facts of record show that in July, 1977, the J.L. Smith Plumbing Company, the employer of Appellee William Thompson, was involved in the relocation of water and drainage pipelines on the premises of Appellee West Penn Power Company at the Mitchell Power Station in Washington County, Pennsylvania. A truck crane together with the services of crane operator, Jerry Torek, was hired at a single hourly rate by J.L. Smith Plumbing Company from Appellant Anthony Crane Rental in order to relocate the heavy lengths of pipe that were to be used on this job.
Appellee William Thompson was Smith's foreman on this job. He testified that on July 18, 1977, the first day the truck crane was on the job, it was being used to move an 800 pound length of pipe when the boom of the crane began to swing back and forth so violently that the front wheels of the crane were lifted off the ground. Mr. Thompson immediately told Mr. Torek to either take the crane off the job or get it repaired. Mr. Thompson further testified that approximately 1 1/2 hours later Mr. Torek returned to Thompson and the crew and told them that this was the last crane available but that he had corrected the problem and the crane would function properly. The next day, the crane was operated without ...