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SAMMIE WALKER AND VALERIE WALKER v. GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION (03/10/89)

filed: March 10, 1989.

SAMMIE WALKER AND VALERIE WALKER, APPELLANTS,
v.
GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION, KUTNER BUICK, INC., AND JULES KUTNER ENTERPRISES, INC., APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil at No. 3845 August Term, 1983.

COUNSEL

George J. Badey, III, Philadelphia, for appellants.

Francis P. Burns, III, Philadelphia, for General Motors, appellee.

McEwen, Montemuro and Kelly, JJ.

Author: Montemuro

[ 383 Pa. Super. Page 403]

This is an appeal from a judgment entered in favor of appellee after a jury found that appellant's injuries were not caused by a defect in the braking system of the General Motors vehicle he was driving.

In May of 1982, appellant purchased a 1980 Buick Skylark from Kutner Buick, Inc. In December of 1982, while driving through Philadelphia's Fairmount Park, he was unable to negotiate a curve, allegedly because of failure of the car's braking system to operate properly, and crashed head-on into a tree, sustaining serious and permanent injuries. Suit was instituted against appellees General Motors as manufacturer of the vehicle, and Kutner as seller, on a theory of strict liability. The jury found in favor of appellees, and after appellant's post verdict motions were denied, this appeal followed.

Appellant has raised several assignments of trial error which we will address seriatim, although not in the order presented.

It is first argued that the direct testimony of appellee's expert witness, Duane Harwick, greatly exceeded the scope of the answers he had given to appellant's interrogatories. Specifically it is contended that during direct examination a new theory, "brake drag", was advanced to explain the accident. Moreover, appellant claims that the trial court compounded the problem by refusing to grant a continuance to allow him to meet this hitherto unused explanation.

Appellee responds that both aspects of this issue have been waived by appellant's failure to raise them in a timely manner. We are constrained to agree.

Our court has consistently held that

To avoid waiver, a party must make a timely objection. Rubinstein v. J.E. Kunkle Co., 244 Pa. Super. 474, 477 n. 2, 368 A.2d 819, 821 n. 2 (1976). Timeliness requires a specific objection at the proper stage in the questioning

[ 383 Pa. Super. Page 404]

    of a witness. Commonwealth v. Hughes, 268 Pa. Super. 536, 539 n. 3, 408 A.2d 1132, 1134 n. 3 (1979).

Bell v. City of Philadelphia, 341 Pa. Super. 534, 542, 491 A.2d 1386, 1390 ...


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