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Seinner v. Public Service Co-Ordinated Transport

Decided: October 20, 1930.

KATHERINE SEINNER, RESPONDENT,
v.
PUBLIC SERVICE CO-ORDINATED TRANSPORT, APPELLANT



On appeal from the Supreme Court.

For the appellant, Henry H. Fryling and Harold F. Dorgeval.

For the respondent, Aaron L. Simon.

Donges

The opinion of the court was delivered by

DONGES, J. Plaintiff sued to recover damages for injuries sustained whilst a passenger in defendant's bus. The case was tried before Judge Porter at Passaic Circuit and resulted in a verdict for plaintiff.

The proofs tended to show that the bus in which plaintiff was seated was proceeding in a westerly direction on Outwater lane, in Garfield, and was approaching Prospect street, which entered Outwater lane from the north and dead-ended there; that another bus, not the property of or operated by defendant, proceeded southerly on Prospect street and turned westerly into Outwater lane; that the street was wet; that defendants' bus was traveling at a speed of from ten to twenty miles an hour down hill; that the operator of defendant's bus applied the brakes with such suddenness and violence that

the bus skidded to the right, the wheels striking the gutter, and plaintiff was thrown out of her seat and to the floor of the bus.

Appellant writes down thirteen grounds of appeal.

Grounds Nos. 1 and 2 deal with the refusal of the trial judge to nonsuit and to direct a verdict for defendant.

The trial judge was obliged to submit the case to the jury if there was testimony from which the jury might conclude that defendant's servant was guilty of negligence.

The testimony was that the bus was proceeding down hill, on a wet, slippery street, at from ten to twenty miles an hour; that the bus on Prospect street was observed turning into Outwater lane, by the witness Leslik, when defendant's bus was about two hundred feet away from Prospect street; that defendant's driver did nothing to check the speed of his bus until he was fifty feet away and then he jammed his emergency brake on, and then "the bus went out into the gutter and the rear wheel hit the gutter."

Appellant urges that its driver was confronted with an emergency, and that he acted with reasonable prudence in the situation to protect his passengers. On this question the witness Leslik testified on cross-examination as follows: " Q. If the Public Service bus continued ahead would there have been a collision? A. No. * * * There never could be a collision. The other bus was already out when he applied his brakes." That is to say, the bus turning from Prospect street into Outwater lane had completed the turn into Outwater lane when defendant's bus ...


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