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GAELA O'NEILL v. CHECKER MOTORS CORPORATION AND METRO TRANSPORTATION COMPANY (12/14/89)

filed: December 14, 1989.

GAELA O'NEILL, APPELLANT,
v.
CHECKER MOTORS CORPORATION AND METRO TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, T/A YELLOW CAB COMPANY AND CUTCO LEASING CORPORATION



Appeal from the Order Entered Docketed November 29, 1988 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil Division, at No. 1029 Nov. Term, 1983.

COUNSEL

Gaela O'Neill, appellant, in pro. per.

Joseph F. McNulty, Jr., Philadelphia, Checker Motors, for appellee.

Tamilia, Kelly and Cercone, JJ.

Author: Cercone

[ 389 Pa. Super. Page 433]

This is an appeal from a final order granting summary judgment in favor of defendant/appellee, Checker Motors Corporation, as against all parties.*fn1 We affirm.

Appellant, Gaela O'Neill, commenced the personal injury action underlying the instant appeal in November of 1983. Represented by counsel, Ms. O'Neill alleged that on November 29, 1982, she was injured when the steering wheel on a taxicab she was driving collapsed causing the cab to go out of control and strike a guard rail. The complaint alleges that Checker Motors was negligent in failing to properly construct, inspect or warn of problems with the taxi, that Checker warranted the cab as being fit for its intended purposes, and that Checker is strictly liable under Restatement (Second) of Torts ยง 402A (1965). On November 29, 1988 the Honorable Samuel M. Lehrer entered an order granting summary judgment in favor of defendant/appellee Checker Motors as against all parties.*fn2 After trial counsel was granted permission to withdraw from representation, appellant subsequently filed the instant timely pro se appeal contesting the grant of summary judgment.

Appellee initially argues that we should quash this appeal pursuant to various rules of appellate procedure.*fn3 We exercise our discretion by declining to take such action because effective appellate review has not been precluded by the deficiencies of appellant's brief. Pa.R.A.P., Rule 105, 42 Pa.C.S.A. See Hatter v. Landsberg, 386 Pa. Super. 438,

[ 389 Pa. Super. Page 434563]

A.2d 146 (1989) and Bolus v. United Penn Bank, 363 Pa. Super. 247, 267 n. 2, 525 A.2d 1215, 1225 n. 2 (1987), allocatur denied 518 Pa. 627, 541 A.2d 1138 (1988) (declining to quash where effective appellate review was possible despite deficiencies in briefs as filed). We are cognizant of the fact that Ms. O'Neill has prepared the appeal brief on a pro se basis. While this court is willing to liberally construe materials filed by a pro se litigant, we note that appellant is not entitled to any particular advantage because she lacks legal training. See, e.g., Mueller v. State Police Headquarters, 110 Pa. Commw. 265, 268, 532 A.2d 900, 902 (1987). As our supreme court has explained, "any layperson choosing to represent [herself] in a legal proceeding must, to some reasonable extent, assume the risk that [her] lack of expertise and legal training will prove [her] undoing." Vann v. Commonwealth, Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 508 Pa. 139, 148, 494 A.2d 1081, 1086 (1985).

As an appellate court, we are bound to consider certain principles which dictate when and under what circumstances a trial court may properly enter summary judgment. Goebert v. Ondek, 384 Pa. Super. 100, 103-04, 557 A.2d 1064, 1066 (1989). The trial court must accept as true all well-pleaded facts in the non-moving party's pleadings, and give to him or her the benefit of all reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom. Jefferson v. State Farm Insurance, 380 Pa. Super. 167, 170, 551 A.2d 283, 284 (1988). Summary judgment should not be entered unless the case is clear and free from doubt. Hathi v. Krewstown Park Apartments, 385 Pa. Super. 613, 615, 561 A.2d 1261, 1262 (1989). A grant of summary judgment is proper where the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file support the lower court's conclusion that no genuine issue of material fact exists and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Pa.R.C.P. No. 1035, 42 Pa.C.S.A.; Hatter v. Landsberg, supra, 386 Pa. Superior Ct. at 440, 563 A.2d at 147-48 (1989). See Penn Center House, Inc. v. Hoffman, 520 Pa. 171, 176, 553

[ 389 Pa. Super. Page ]

Page 435was defective and that the defect caused the plaintiff's injury. Rogers, supra, Pa. at , 565 A.2d at 754; Sherk v. Daisy-Heddon, 498 ...


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