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THOMAS I. DAWSON v. PATRICIA LYNN FOWLER (04/03/89)

filed : April 3, 1989.

THOMAS I. DAWSON, APPELLANT,
v.
PATRICIA LYNN FOWLER, APPELLEE



Appeal from Order entered June 3, 1988, in the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Civil, No. 3938 S 1985.

COUNSEL

David L. Lutz, Harrisburg, for appellant.

Theresa E. Shade, Harrisburg, for appellee.

Wieand, Olszewski and Tamilia, JJ. Wieand, J., files a dissenting statement.

Author: Olszewski

[ 384 Pa. Super. Page 330]

Appellant, Thomas I. Dawson, appeals from an order denying his motion for a new trial. Appellant maintains that the trial court erred in failing to grant a new trial when the jury's verdict: (1) did not include consideration of appellant's lost wages and pain suffered; and (2) represented a "compromise verdict." For reasons discussed below, we affirm.

On May 4, 1985, appellee, Patricia Lynn Fowler, backed her vehicle from a private driveway onto both lanes of the Blue Mountain Parkway, Dauphin County, in an attempt to proceed south on the Parkway. Appellant, driving his

[ 384 Pa. Super. Page 331]

    motorcycle in excess of the speed limit in the northbound lane of the Parkway, traversed the crest of a hill a short distance from appellee's driveway and, with little time to react, collided with the left rear corner of appellee's vehicle. As a result of the crash, appellant sustained foot and toe injuries and subsequently commenced suit to recover damages for lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses.

Trial by jury commenced on May 5, 1986, and appellant presented evidence at trial of pain and suffering, $382.25 in medical bills, and $1,450.00 in lost wages. Special interrogatories were submitted to the jury. Following deliberation, the jury announced a verdict in favor of appellee. In answer to the special interrogatories, the jury found that the percentage of causal negligence on the part of appellant was 52% and 48% on the part of appellee. In response to individual polling, the jury indicated seven in favor of appellee and five in favor of appellant. The trial court, therefore, instructed the jury to deliberate further. Subsequently, the jury submitted the following question:

Judge Natale, can we give only fifty percent of the medical bills to the plaintiff and nothing more based on fifty percent/fifty percent negligence. Total award to the plaintiff, $191.13? If so we have a 10 to 2 vote. Albert L. Groves.

The court further instructed the jury that, based upon their question, whatever award they made would be reduced by fifty percent and that a fifty/fifty verdict was, in essence, a plaintiff's verdict. The court also mentioned that damages included lost wages and pain and suffering. The jury ultimately returned a verdict slip in favor of appellant against appellee for $382.25, together with a finding that there was 50% ...


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