Appeal from the Order December 30, 1986, in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil No. 4177 March Term 1983.
Basil A. DiSipio, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Marvin S. Haber, Philadelphia, for Carney, appellee.
J. Michael Potter, Philadelphia, for Nacho, appellee.
Olszewski, Del Sole and Hoffman, JJ. Del Sole, J., concurs with opinion.
[ 370 Pa. Super. Page 396]
This is an appeal from a judgment entered in favor of appellee following a trial by jury. Appellant claims that it is entitled to either judgment in its favor because the trial evidence did not satisfy the elements of negligence; or, in the alternative, a new trial because the verdict was contrary to the weight of the evidence and because the trial court committed reversible error during the course of the trial. For reasons discussed below, we affirm the decision of the trial court.
The trial court presented the facts as follows.
[ 370 Pa. Super. Page 397]
soreness in her chest, legs and back. Plaintiff also alleged that she was out of work due to said injuries for [twenty-two and one-half] months.
The elevator in question was the subject of a maintenance agreement between defendants Otis and Nacho. The Otis employee responsible for the maintenance of the elevator testified as to his weekly maintenance visits, that, on April 26, 1982, the door chain to the elevator was loose and was repaired, and that the elevator in question had had prior problems concerning the open door locks. Further, plaintiff testified that, while there was nothing odd about the way the doors opened, she noticed that the doors closed much more quickly than usual when she was about to enter the elevator and that the doors did not release themselves, causing her to be crushed.
Finally, plaintiff's witness, Dr. Richard DiMonte, testified concerning plaintiff's injuries and was asked by the Court whether he had an opinion, with a reasonable degree of medical certainty, whether the injuries were the result of this accident. Dr. DiMonte replied in the affirmative and stated that the injuries would be related to the accident.
On January 28, 1986, the jury returned a $25,000 verdict against appellant and Nacho. The jury apportioned liability, finding appellant 90% at fault. On February 10, 1986, the trial court entered a molded verdict of $20,000, reflecting a $5,000 settlement procured against Nacho prior to trial. The trial court denied appellant's motion for judgment n.o.v., and motion for new trial on December 30, 1986. This appeal followed.
Appellant first alleges that it is entitled to a judgment in its favor because evidence presented at trial does not satisfy the elements of negligence. In reviewing appellant's claim, we are guided by the following principles:
In reviewing an order denying judgment n.o.v., we must view the evidence, together with all reasonable inferences therefrom, in the light most favorable to appellee
[ 370 Pa. Super. Page 398]
as the verdict winner. See, e.g., Lynch v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., 427 Pa. 418, 423, 235 A.2d 406, 409 (1967). See also, Atkins v. Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, 489 Pa. 344, 414 A.2d 100 (1980). Judgment n.o.v. should be entered when the facts are such that no two reasonable persons could disagree that the verdict was improper. See, e.g., Cummings v. Borough of Nazareth, 427 Pa. 14, 25-26, 233 A.2d 874, 880-81 (1967); Bottorf v. Waltz, 245 Pa. Super. 139, 142-44, 369 A.2d 332, 334 (1976) . . . [W]hen evidence is insufficient to sustain a verdict against a ...