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Matthews v. Batroney

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

October 4, 2019

JASON MATTHEWS Appellant
v.
CYNTHIA BATRONEY

          Appeal from the Judgment Entered November 12, 2018 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Civil Division at No(s): July Term 2017 No. 1835

          BEFORE: MURRAY, J., STRASSBURGER, J., and PELLEGRINI, J. [*]

          OPINION

          MURRAY, J.

         Jason Matthews (Appellant) appeals from the judgment entered in favor of Cynthia Batroney (Appellee) following a jury trial. Upon review, we affirm.

         The trial court summarized the evidence presented at trial as follows:

The matter was tried before a jury on the issue of liability only. It involved a September 18, 2015, intersection collision at 19th and Cherry Streets in Philadelphia between a bicycle ridden by [Appellant] and a car driven by [Appellee]. [Appellant] was traveling [southbound] on 19th Street which is one-way. [Appellee] was driving eastbound on Cherry Street, also one-way. [Appellee] testified that she stopped at the stop sign, or a little after it and looked both ways, including up 19th Street, but did not see [Appellant] before proceeding into the intersection. [Appellant] admitted that he did not stop at the stop sign while traveling south on 19th, but said that he had "made eye contact" with [Appellee] before entering the intersection; [Appellee] denied any eye contact. [Appellant] testified that [Appellee] did not stop at her stop sign. [Eyewitness], Albert Eschert, was a pedestrian at the intersection at the time of the incident. He testified that [Appellee's] car stopped before moving into the intersection. He testified further that [Appellant] did not stop at the stop sign. The physical evidence is that the contact occurred between the mid-section of the bike and the front corner of the car on the passenger side.

Trial Court Opinion, 3/6/19, at 2 (footnote and citations to notes of testimony omitted).

         After deliberations, the jury rendered a verdict finding Appellee 30% negligent, and Appellant 70% negligent. Id. at 4. Because the jury found that Appellant was 70% negligent, the trial court entered judgment in Appellee's favor. Id.; see also 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 7102 ("In all actions brought to recover damages for negligence resulting in death or injury to person or property, the fact that the plaintiff may have been guilty of contributory negligence shall not bar recovery by the plaintiff . . . where such negligence was not greater than the causal negligence of the defendant[.]").

         Appellant filed a timely post-trial motion on September 14, 2018, requesting that the trial court grant his motion for a new trial based upon the trial court's refusal to charge the jury on Section 3321 of the Motor Vehicle Code. Appellant's Post-Trial Motion, 9/14/18, at 4-5. After conducting a argument, the trial court denied Appellant's motion and entered judgment in favor of Appellee on November 8, 2018.[1] Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal. Both the trial court and Appellant have complied with Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 1925.

         Appellant presents the following issues for review:

1. Did the trial court err as a matter of law in failing to give proper jury instructions, and denying [Appellant's] [m]otion for a new trial, where doing so was contrary to the law and [a]ffected the verdict?

2. Did the trial court abuse its discretion in failing to give proper jury instructions, and denying [Appellant's] [m]otion for a new trial, where doing so affected the verdict?

3. Did the trial court abuse its discretion in agreeing with counsel to charge the jury with a certain instruction and then not instructing the jury with charge?

Appellant's Brief at 4.

         We address Appellant's issues together because they all allege error by the trial court in refusing to charge the jury on the section of the Motor Vehicle Code pertaining to rights-of-way for vehicles approaching or entering an ...


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