On appeal from the Superior Court, Appellate Division.
For affirmance -- Chief Justice Vanderbilt, and Justices Oliphant, Wachenfeld, Burling and Brennan. For reversal -- Justice Heher. The opinion of the court was delivered by Wachenfeld, J.
In December 1951 the plaintiff Ristan was driving his truck in a northerly direction on Main Street in Bay Head. It was snowing and his speed was estimated at about 22 miles an hour. Mrs. Darling, the other plaintiff, was his passenger.
The defendant Frantzen was driving his automobile in the same direction behind Ristan's truck, while the defendant Loland was driving a car on the same street but in the opposite direction. It swerved to its left and collided with the front of Ristan's truck. Both vehicles came to a halt.
After this collision and while the Ristan truck stood in a crosswise position in the street, it was struck in the rear by the automobile operated by Frantzen.
Injuries and property damage resulted from both impacts. Actions and cross-actions were instituted based on negligence.
Ristan and Darling brought suit in the Superior Court for personal injuries against Frantzen and Loland, alleging the defendants were both jointly and severally negligent. Frantzen filed an answer and Loland answered and counterclaimed.
A second action was subsequently instituted against the same defendants for property damage to the Ristan automobile. The two actions were consolidated for purposes of trial in the Superior Court by an order under Rule 3:42-1, now R.R. 4:43-1. Thereafter, a third suit was instituted in the Monmouth County District Court by the defendant Frantzen against both Ristan and his co-defendant Loland for property damage to Frantzen's car. This case was likewise consolidated for trial.
At the trial of the consolidated cases, the third suit of Frantzen against Ristan and Loland was dismissed with prejudice, there having been no evidence to support it.
All the other issues were submitted to a jury, which returned a verdict of joint liability against Frantzen and Loland and in favor of Mrs. Darling in the amount of $1,010.90, and a verdict of joint liability against Frantzen and Loland in favor of Ristan for his property damage and his personal injuries in the lump sum of $3,591.76.
Judgment was thereupon entered in the district court suit for property damage in favor of Ristan against both defendants in the sum of $718.76 and a judgment was entered in the Superior Court in the sum of $2,873 in favor of Ristan against both defendants for personal injuries.
On a motion, the trial court granted a new trial as to the property damages, apparently for apportionment between the defendants of the amount awarded, there being no ...