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JAMES I. AMMON v. ARNOLD PONTIAC-GMC (03/13/87)

filed: March 13, 1987.

JAMES I. AMMON, APPELLANT,
v.
ARNOLD PONTIAC-GMC, INC. V. KURT R. SCHUSSLER. JAMES I. AMMON V. ARNOLD PONTIAC-GMC, INC. V. KURT R. SCHUSSLER, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Orders entered February 8, 1985 and April 18, 1986, Court of Common Pleas, Washington County, Civil Division at No. 124 April Term, 1982 A.D.

COUNSEL

Paul A. Tershel, Assistant Public Defender, McMurray, for appellant (at 687) and appellee (at 698).

Stephen P. McCloskey, Washington, for appellant (at 698) and appellee (at 687).

Allan M. Cox, Pittsburgh, for Arnold, appellee.

Wickersham,*fn* Brosky and Johnson, JJ.

Author: Johnson

[ 361 Pa. Super. Page 411]

This case involves an automobile accident in which 17 year old Ammon was a passenger in an automobile operated by Schussler. The automobile collided with a truck which an employee of Arnold Pontiac had parked in the street. Ammon sustained injuries in the accident and executed a release in consideration for payment from Schussler's insurance company. Ammon brought suit against Arnold Pontiac-GMC, Inc., which joined Schussler as an additional defendant. Following a jury trial Ammon was awarded $325,000 in damages. The jury attributed 40% of the causal negligence to Arnold Pontiac and 60% to Schussler.

Following post-verdict motions, the court of common pleas en banc on February 8, 1985, ordered a new trial on the issue of damages unless Ammon filed a remittitur with the prothonotary for any amount in excess of $60,000. Ammon appealed to the Superior Court on the excessiveness of verdict issue. Arnold cross-appealed regarding

[ 361 Pa. Super. Page 412]

    liability issues. Among other things, the Superior Court remanded the case to the trial court to determine the effect of a release which Ammon had executed. The trial court determined that the release did not bar recovery because Schussler and Arnold had effected a waiver of the release. The court directed the prothonotary to enter judgment in favor of Ammon in accordance with the February 8, 1985 order.

Ammon, Arnold and Schussler appeal to this Court. Subsequent to the filing of the appeal Arnold entered a settlement with Ammon and Arnold's appeals were discontinued.

Two issues remain for our review:

I. A. IS THE CONSIDERATION OF PRE-TRIAL SETTLEMENT OFFERS IMPERMISSIBLE IN DETERMINING WHETHER A VERDICT IS EXCESSIVE?

B. DID THE TRIAL COURT RELY UPON OTHER IMPROPER CONSIDERATIONS IN ITS DETERMINATION OF WHETHER ...


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