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FRANK MARLOWE v. LEHIGH TOWNSHIP (08/29/86)

decided: August 29, 1986.

FRANK MARLOWE, APPELLANT
v.
LEHIGH TOWNSHIP, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County in the case of Frank Marlowe v. Lehigh Township, No. 354 January Term, 1978.

COUNSEL

Margaret Gilligan Hinga, with her, Richard J. Orloski, Calnan & Orloski, P.C., for appellant.

Michael P. Shay, with him, Richard E. Santee, Jr., Shay & Santee, for appellee.

Judges Craig and Doyle, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Kalish.

Author: Kalish

[ 100 Pa. Commw. Page 202]

Frank Marlowe appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, which denied his motion for a new trial. We vacate, and remand this case to the trial court.

Marlowe owned a home at the dead end of Third Street, onto which large amounts of water collected, as a result of runoff from Third Street. He granted an easement to the appellee, Lehigh Township, to construct a drainage system over his property. The system did not work as contemplated, and Marlowe was injured when he fell as he walked in the area.

Marlowe brought this action against the Township, alleging damage to the land and personal injuries to his

[ 100 Pa. Commw. Page 203]

    head and back. His trial was bifurcated as to liability and damages. Months elapsed between the trial of the phases, and each was heard by a different jury because of the judge's illness. After the liability jury trial, the trial court ruled that Marlowe did not have a claim for personal injuries. Also, Marlowe sought to amend his claim to seek an award for delay damages. This was disallowed by the court. At the damage trial, the jury awarded Marlowe damages of $400.

Marlowe contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a new trial. He argues that the trial court was in error in striking his personal injury claim. He also argues that the trial court failed to correctly instruct the jury on the measure of damages, and that the trial court erred in precluding his claim for delay damages. Lastly, he contends that the trial court erred in permitting his real estate agent to testify against him.

As to the personal injury claim, the record shows that Marlowe's doctor failed to show a causal connection. The doctor was unable to say unequivocally that his injuries were caused by the fall. If no obvious causal relationship exists between the accident and the injury complained of, unequivocal medical testimony is necessary to establish the causal connection. Albert v. Alter, 252 Pa. Superior Ct. 203, 381 A.2d 459 (1977). Therefore, the trial court correctly ruled that Marlowe failed to present a claim for personal injuries.

In Wade v. S.J. Groves & Sons Co., 283 Pa. Superior Ct. 464, 483, 424 A.2d 902, 911 (1981), the court set forth the measure of damages ...


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