13 A.2d 591 (Conn. 1940), Nichols v. Nichols

Citation:13 A.2d 591, 126 Conn. 614
Opinion Judge:MALTBIE, Chief Justice.
Party Name:NICHOLS v. NICHOLS et al.
Attorney:Martin E. Gormley, of New Haven, for appellant (defendant combs). Samuel G. Payne and Arthur M. Comley, both of Bridgeport, for appellant (named defendant). Bernard S. Peck, David Goldstein, and Arthur B. Weiss, all of Bridgeport, for appellee (plaintiff).
Judge Panel:In this opinion the other Judges concurred. Argued before MALTBIE, C.J., and HINMAN, AVERY, BROWN, and JENNINGS, JJ.
Case Date:May 01, 1940
Court:Supreme Court of Connecticut
 
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Page 591

13 A.2d 591 (Conn. 1940)

126 Conn. 614

NICHOLS

v.

NICHOLS et al.

Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut.

May 1, 1940

As Amended on Denial of Reargument June 13, 1940.

Appeal from Superior Court, Fairfield County; John A. Cornell, Judge.

Action by Sylvia Nichols against Frederick E. R. Nichols and another, to recover damages for personal injuries alleged to have been caused by the negligence of the defendants. From a verdict and judgment for plaintiff, defendants appeal.

[126 Conn. 615]

Page 592

Martin E. Gormley, of New Haven, for appellant (defendant combs).

Samuel G. Payne and Arthur M. Comley, both of Bridgeport, for appellant (named defendant).

Bernard S. Peck, David Goldstein, and Arthur B. Weiss, all of Bridgeport, for appellee (plaintiff).

Argued before MALTBIE, C.J., and HINMAN, AVERY, BROWN, and JENNINGS, JJ.

MALTBIE, Chief Justice.

The plaintiff, about fifteen years old at the time of the occurrence in question, and her sister, somewhat older, were riding in an automobile driven by their mother, which was proceeding northerly on a highway in Middletown when it came into collision with a car proceeding in the opposite direction driven by Raymond Combs. The mother and both daughters were thrown out upon the pavement, the mother was killed and the daughters were both very [126 Conn. 616] seriously injured. The plaintiff and her sister brought separate actions to recover for their injuries against Combs and against their brother, Frederick E. R. Nichols, who owned the car in which the plaintiff was riding, his liability being placed upon the ground that the mother was operating it at the time as a family car. Both daughters recovered large verdicts against both defendants and the latter have appealed, Combs from the denial of a motion to set the verdict aside as to

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him, and Nichols from the denial of a similar motion and also from the judgment. Only the action brought by the plaintiff is before us, it being stipulated that a like judgment to that entered upon this appeal should also be entered in the appeal taken by her sister.

The plaintiff makes two rather inconsistent claims of liability on the part of the defendants: As against Nichols she claims that the car in which she was riding, proceeding with tires worn smooth on a slippery pavement, slid from its own side of the road to that on which the Combs car was coming, directly into its path, when the cars were about twenty-five feet apart, and though Combs promptly applied his brakes he ran into it; as against Combs, she claims that there was a third car parked or moving on the same side of the road and headed in the same direction as that of Combs, that when the car of Combs and the Nichols car were some sixty-five or seventy feet apart Combs tried to pass the third car and when they were about twenty-five feet apart the car of Combs was straddling the center of the highway, and the collision with the Nichols car resulted. Combs claims that the collision was entirely due to the skidding of the Nichols car as stated in the plaintiff's first claim, and that there was no third car present. Nichols claims that the collision was due entirely to the car of Combs turning out to pass the third car and so passing to its left of the [126 Conn. 617] center of the highway, and colliding there with the car in which the plaintiff was riding. Whether or not there was a third car present as claimed by the plaintiff and Nichols, becomes, therefore, a vital element in the case.

A conclusion that there was a third car involved in the accident depends only upon the testimony of the plaintiff. It is true her sister made a very weak and ineffective effort to corroborate this testimony but finally admitted...

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