307 N.Y. 56, Switzer v. Aldrich

Citation:307 N.Y. 56
Party Name:Switzer v. Aldrich
Case Date:May 20, 1954
Court:New York Court of Appeals

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307 N.Y. 56

FRANCES E. SWITZER, Individually and as Administratrix of the Estate of CHARLES SWITZER, Deceased, Appellant,


LESTER ALDRICH, Defendant, and WARREN STIKER, Respondent.

New York Court of Appeal

May 20, 1954

Argued March 1, 1954.

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Judson R. Hoover and Osco W. Peterson for appellant. The trial court erred in granting defendant Stiker's motion for dismissal of plaintiff's complaint and for a nonsuit, as to him. (Reese v. Reamore, 292 N.Y. 292; Shuba v. Greendonner, 271 N.Y. 189.)

Asbury H. Harpending for respondent. The trial court properly ruled that evidence pertaining to the ownership of the truck involved in the accident and the use of the registration plates

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thereon should be admitted and on the basis of this evidence properly granted a nonsuit and dismissal of plaintiff's complaint as against defendant Stiker. (Reese v. Reamore, 292 N.Y. 292; Rathfelder v. Flag, 257 A.D. 71, 282 N.Y. 563; Wyka v. L. A.D. Motors Corp., 264 A.D. 890, 289 N.Y. 856; Le Roy v. Tremper, 267 A.D. 387, 292 N.Y. 646.)


Early in the morning of November 24, 1950, on Route 17 between the villages of Addison and Woodhull, in Steuben County, defendant negligently drove a panel truck partially onto the shoulder of the road and struck several men, who had set out on a hunting trip, one of whom was Charles Switzer. Twelve hours later, Switzer died of injuries resulting from the accident.

Four days previously, on November 20, 1950, defendant Stiker, an automobile dealer, had sold this truck under a contract of conditional sale to defendant Lester Aldrich and Carrie Aldrich, his mother, both of whom signed aspurchasers. Lester, who was under twenty-one years of age at the time, took possession of the truck on the evening of that same day, at which time dealer's license plates belonging to Stiker were attached thereto. These plates were still on the truck at the time of the accident.

Switzer's widow instituted suit against both Lester Aldrich and Stiker. Her individual claim was dismissed without objection. Her case as administratrix, against Aldrich, who had driven the truck, resulted in a jury verdict in her favor, which was unanimously affirmed by the Appellate Division. Aldrich has not appealed from the affirmance. Her case as administratrix, against Stiker, was based on the theory that he was vicariously liable under section 59 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, as owner of the truck. Throughout the...

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