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Borowicz v. Hood

Decided: April 30, 1965.

WALTER J. BOROWICZ, AN INFANT BY HIS GUARDIAN AD LITEM, WALTER E. BOROWICZ, STASIA M. BOROWICZ, AND WALTER E. BOROWICZ, INDIVIDUALLY, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
WILLIAM J. HOOD, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT



Conford, Kilkenny and Lewis. The opinion of the court was delivered by Lewis, J.A.D.

Lewis

This is an automobile negligence suit for personal injuries suffered by plaintiff Walter J. Borowicz, an infant five years of age, and for a per quod claim by his parents.

The jury returned a verdict of no cause for action in favor of defendant William J. Hood. The trial court denied plaintiffs' motion for a new trial. On appeal to this court plaintiffs urge that (1) they were prejudiced by the trial court's

instructions to the jury, and (2) the trial judge erred in conducting a colloquy with counsel, after rendering his charge, within the hearing of the jury.

The essential facts here pertinent may be summarized. The accident occurred on August 5, 1960 in Maplewood, New Jersey, on Brown Street where Henry Street terminates, thus forming a T-intersection. From Hood's deposition it appears that he was proceeding in his car eastwardly on Brown Street when he noticed two small boys on their bicycles on Henry Street entering the intersection. He thought the boys, who were riding close together, "were going straight across the street," and he hit his brakes "very hard." The car came to a complete stop after skidding "quite a ways * * * about maybe forty, fifty feet." Hood said he was not traveling any faster than "twenty-five, twenty-seven, twenty-eight miles an hour, not even that," and that he knew the speed limit in the area was 25 miles an hour. The following interrogation, albeit irregular in part, is illuminating:

"Q. And do you know if applying your brakes scared them?

A. Scared them?

Q. In other words, they heard you apply your brakes?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. And they knew you had stopped?

A. They knew I had stopped, yes, sir.

Q. And then did you start your ...


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