Economou v. Valley Gas Co., 1904-A

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
Writing for the CourtPAOLINO
Citation312 A.2d 581,112 R.I. 514
PartiesAndrew ECONOMOU and Barbara Economou, p.a. v. VALLEY GAS COMPANY. ppeal.
Docket NumberNo. 1904-A,1904-A
Decision Date12 December 1973

Page 581

312 A.2d 581
112 R.I. 514
Andrew ECONOMOU and Barbara Economou, p.a.
v.
VALLEY GAS COMPANY.
No. 1904-Appeal.
Supreme Court of Rhode Island.
Dec. 12, 1973.

[112 R.I. 522]

Page 582

John F. McBurney, Pawtucket, for plaintiffs.

Page 583

Hanson, Curran, Bowen & Parks, A. Lauriston Parks, Providence, for defendant.

OPINION

PAOLINO, Justice.

Barbara Economou, a minor, brought this civil action through her next friend and father, Andrew Economou, to recover for injuries suffered by her as a result of an accident on a public highway in the city of Pawtucket involving a motor vehicle owned by the defendant and operated by one of its employees. The father also sued in his own name for consequential damages.

The case was heard before a justice of the Superior Court sitting with a jury. At the close of plaintiffs' case the trial justice denied defendant's motion for a directed verdict. The defendant renewed the motion at the close of all the evidence and the trial justice reserved decision thereon. After the jury returned a verdict for plaintiffs, the trial justice granted defendant's motion for a directed verdict. The defendant then filed a Super.R.Civ.P. 50(c) conditional motion for a new trial which the trial justice also granted. The case is before us on plaintiffs' appeals from the judgments entered granting the motions for a directed verdict and a new trial.

The facts, as shown by the testimony and the exhibits, are, insofar as pertinent here, as follows. The accident in which Barbara was injured occurred on February 14, 1969, on East Avenue in Pawtucket, shortly after 6:10 p.m. Immediately prior to the accident defendant's vehicle was [112 R.I. 516] traveling north on East Avenue approximately 500 to 600 feet south of the accident scene. It was a van-type vehicle and was being operated by Normand J. Daigle, who was employed as an appliance service man by defendant. At the time of the accident, the road was dry, although snow was piled on the sides of the street, and traffic was very heavy.

As defendant's operator proceeded northerly on East Avenue, approaching the scene of the accident, he was traveling between 15 and 20 miles per hour. There were parked vehicles to his right. He was going down a small hill and as he was passing a truck with a ladder on it he caught a glimpse of Barbara approaching the right side of his truck through the window in the right-hand front door of his vehicle. At that time she was in the process of crossing the street and was 'running or jotting' into the path of traffic from in front of the ladder truck. The operator testified that he saw a '* * * flash of a child sort of on my right and the next thing I knew I heard a thud on the side of the truck * * *.'

It appears from the evidence that the point of impact was on the right side of defendant's vehicle. This is indicated by certain marks running along the side of the vehicle where the road scum or dirt had been cleaned from the vehicle by the brushing of the vehicle against the child. The point of impact is also shown on the police diagram and by a photo showing a mark made by the police indicating the point of impact on the highway at the scene of the accident. It appears from the exhibits in evidence that this mark is in close proximity to the left front corner of the parked ladder truck.

After the accident, defendant's operator proceeded northerly, beyond another parked car and a driveway, and drove his vehicle to the side of the road out of the line of traffic. At this point the rear of defendant's truck was 92 6 from the point of impact, in the first available parking space on [112 R.I. 517] that side of the highway. There was a distance of 29 feet between the two parked vehicles. The defendant's operator then ran back to the child and moved her over towards the snow bank in order to get her out of the road. He admitted there was a street light over the point of the accident. He said he did not see any other children in the vicinity from the time he entered East Avenue until the point of impact

Page 584

and he denied seeing the child-warning sign which was attached to a pole on the easterly side of East Avenue, a short distance to the south of the scene of the accident.

Barbara, who was eight years old at the time of the accident and eleven years old at the time of the trial, testified in substance as follows. She and her two brothers, George and Matthew, and two other children were out sliding with their sleds behind Almac's. They heard and saw some fire trucks go by. They left the sleds to follow the fire engine and they all crossed from the west side of the street to the sidewalk on the east side. They ran and walked on the sidewalk on the east side of the street and then stopped to cross again because the engine was going in that direction. Barbara's brother Matthew and the two other children crossed from the easterly sidewalk to the westerly sidewalk before Barbara and her brother George. Then her...

To continue reading

Request your trial
10 cases
  • Almonte v. Kurl, 2010–315–Appeal.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • June 26, 2012
    ...even in light of the evidence most favorable to the plaintiff, find the defendant had acted negligently.”); Economou v. Valley Gas Co., 112 R.I. 514, 521, 312 A.2d 581, 586 (1973); Gaudette v. Carter, 100 R.I. 259, 262, 214 A.2d 197, 200 (1965). As a result, a plaintiff may not recover base......
  • Powers v. Carvalho, 75-107-A
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • February 3, 1977
    ...not a court should grant a directed verdict has been set out, and reaffirmed, by this court in numerous cases. Economou v. Valley Gas Co., 112 R.I. 514, 312 A.2d 581 (1973); Hamrick v. Yellow Cab Co., 111 R.I. 515, 304 A.2d 666 (1973); Dawson v. Rhode Island Auditorium, Inc., 104 R.I. 116, ......
  • Evans v. Liguori, 75-296-A
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • June 15, 1977
    ...of the party opposing the motion, in this case plaintiff. Powers v. Carvalho, R.I., 368 A.2d 1242 (1977); Economou v. Valley Gas Co., 112 R.I. 514, 312 A.2d 581 (1973); Hamrick v. Yellow Cab Co., 111 R.I. 515, 304 A.2d 666 (1973). If there exist issues of fact upon which reasonable men may ......
  • Flanagan v. Wesselhoeft, 96-610-A
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • May 22, 1998
    ...not, even in light of the evidence most favorable to the plaintiff, find the defendant had acted negligently. Economou v. Valley Gas Co., 112 R.I. 514, 312 A.2d 581 (1973). We conclude, however, that no such circumstance presented itself here. 2 Indeed, a concerned mother of an eleven month......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT