(D.C. Civil Action No. 70-918) (D.C. Civil Action No. 72-33) APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
Before Van Dusen, Gibbons and Rosenn, Circuit Judges
VAN DUSEN, Circuit Judge.
This appeal requires determination of the extent to which allegedly inconsistent answers to interrogatories submitted to a jury were properly harmonized by the district court in entering its judgment. See Gallick v. B & O RR. Co., 372 U.S. 108, 119, 83 S. Ct. 659, 9 L. Ed. 2d 618 (1963); Swift v. Martin, 258 F.2d 797, 799 (3d Cir. 1958).
The background facts, including the interrogatories submitted to the jury and the judgment entered,*fn1 are stated as follows in the district court opinion denying Motions for New Trial:
The above actions arose out of an accident involving three tractor-trailer outfits which occurred on September 19, 1968, at approximately 2:00 a.m. on the bridge of the Pennsylvania Turnpike crossing the Allegheny River in Plum Borough, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, The bridge has two lanes for westbound traffic and two lanes for eastbound traffic with a medial barrier in the center. At the time of the accident, the bridge was wet and slippery. Prior to the happening of the accident, Rudd had been operating a tractor-trailer in a westerly direction. Wilson and Guy had been operating their tractor-trailers in an easterly direction. There was conflicting testimony among the three drivers and the state policeman as to the manner in which this accident occurred.
In general, it appears Rudd went out of control and his outfit, would up on top of the medial barrier projecting into one eastbound lane and thereafter there were collisions between Wilson and Guy. Wilson having attempted to pass Guy shortly before impact.
In view of the large number of conflicting claims and crossclaims this court submitted the case to the jury for a special verdict containing five written interrogatories and the answers thereto by the jury were as follows:
"1. Was the defendant, Theodore James Wilson, driver for Eastern Stainless Steel Corporation, guilty of negligence which was a proximate cause of this accident? Answer: Yes.
2. Was the defendant, Gordon Willis Rudd, driver for Universal Oil Products Company, guilty of negligence which was a proximate cause of this accident? Answer: Yes.
3. Was Robert L. Guy, driver for Cooper-Jarrett Motor Freight, Inc., guilty of negligence which was a proximate cause of the accident? Answer: No.
4. Was Robert L. Guy, as plaintiff, guilty of contributory negligence which was a proximate cause of his own injuries? Answer: No.
5. Was Theodore Wilson, as Plaintiff, guilty of contributory negligence which was a proximate cause of ...