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Pignatore v. Public Service Coordinated Transport

Decided: May 29, 1953.

DOMINIC F. PIGNATORE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
PUBLIC SERVICE COORDINATED TRANSPORT, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT



Eastwood, Bigelow and Jayne. The opinion of the court was delivered by Jayne, J.A.D.

Jayne

[26 NJSuper Page 235] This action arose out of the occurrence of a collision between the Studebaker coupe owned and operated by the plaintiff and a bus of the Public Service Coordinated Transport on the afternoon of October 8, 1951, at the intersection of Broad, Liberty and Franklin Streets

in the Town of Bloomfield. The trial resulted in the rendition of a verdict by the jury in favor of the defendant of no cause of action. In the consideration of the present appeal the complete transcript of the testimony has been borrowed from the file and exhaustively examined.

The testimony relating to the circumstances accompanying and surrounding the mishap was variant and divergent. Broad Street extends north and south; Liberty Street, east and west. Franklin Street recedes from the intersection in a southeasterly direction. The plaintiff's vehicle was proceeding north on Broad Street, and the bus traveling south on the same street. Vehicular traffic was governed at the intersection at the time by electrically illuminated traffic signals and by a police officer.

Immediately preceding the collision of the vehicles at the intersection the police officer had manually set the traffic signal against the progress of north-bound traffic on Broad and Franklin Streets and south-bound traffic on Broad Street. With the signal thus set, the police officer escorted a group of school children across Broad Street, and the driver of the bus illuminated the appropriate signals on the front and rear of the bus to indicate his intention to proceed easterly to his left. His purpose was to enter Franklin Street. Having completed his mission, the police officer again manually changed the traffic signal and motioned the driver of the bus to pursue his turn into and across the intersection. The left front of the bus and the left side of the plaintiff's automobile collided.

Whether the plaintiff had stopped his vehicle south of the intersection also to await the change of the signal or whether he rapidly approached the intersection and endeavored to skirt the front of the bus were issues of fact projected by the inharmonious testimony. We may pause to state that on the face of the record the verdict of the jury appears to be in accord with the preponderance of the evidence.

The nucleus of this appeal is the alleged erroneous denial of the trial judge to adopt the following requests to charge in his instruction to the jury:

"1. A person making a left turn in the face of oncoming traffic is under a duty to exercise a high degree of care in making said turn.

2. A driver of an automobile intending to make a left turn at an intersection is obligated to use a high degree of care and seek an opportune and safe time to do so.

3. If you find that the defendant's bus driver in making the left turn into Franklin Street proceeded to do so in the face of oncoming traffic and in doing so struck the plaintiff's car then you must find that the defendant was guilty of negligence which was the proximate cause of this accident.

4. If you find that the plaintiff was proceeding along Broad Street, in a manner such as a reasonable and prudent and ordinary person would be doing under the circumstances and conditions then existing you must find that the plaintiff was not in any way negligent; and that the proximate cause of the accident was the negligence of the defendant's driver."

We need not hesitate to state that in the existing posture of the evidence we are of the opinion that the third and fourth requests were too outspread ...


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