Haas v. Kasnot

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Citation92 A.2d 171,371 Pa. 580
PartiesHAAS v. KASNOT. CIHAL et al. v. KASNOT. Appeal of CIHAL (two cases).
Decision Date10 November 1952

Page 171

92 A.2d 171
371 Pa. 580

CIHAL et al.
Appeal of CIHAL (two cases).
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
Nov. 10, 1952.
Rehearing Denied Nov. 28, 1952.

[371 Pa. 581]

Page 172

C. J. Tannehill and Harry V. Bair, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

James J. Burns, Jr., Pittsburgh, for appellee.


HORACE STERN, Chief Justice.

The introduction of legally inadmissible testimony at the trial of these cases necessitates a reversal of the judgments entered in favor of the defendant.

[371 Pa. 582] On a May evening in 1947 Anthony Cihal, Jr., was driving a Chevrolet car, wherein Raymond N. Haas and Edward Reiter were passengers, in a westerly direction on the right-hand side of West Carson Street in Pittsburgh between the northerly streetcar track and the curbstone. Andrew Kasnot, who was driving a DeSota car in an easterly direction on that street straddling the southerly rail of the southerly streetcar track, came suddenly over to the northerly side of the street and head-on into the Cihal car. Haas, who was injured by the collision, brought suit for damages against Kasnot; another suit against Kasnot was instituted by Cihal, Jr., who also was injured, and Anthony J. Cihal, the owner of the car which his son had been driving. The two actions were tried together and resulted in verdicts for the defendant.

Plaintiffs made out a prima facie case by establishing that defendant came over on his wrong side of the street and into their car. Defendant, supported by other witnesses, testified that one Louis Mike, who was driving a car on the northerly side of the street ahead of the Cihal car, pulled out to his left in order to pass a truck ahead of him, and, in so doing, either swung too far over, or skidded, into the southerly side of the street, striking defendant's car in the left rear, the impact causing it to swerve across the street and into collision with the car of plaintiffs; defendant contended, therefore, that the accident was not his fault. Plaintiffs testified that they saw no such third car alleged by defendant to have been the real cause of the accident. The principal issue at the trial, therefore, was whether three or only two cars were involved in the occurrence; a subsidiary question was raised in regard to the condition of the weather, plaintiffs contending that it was clear and the street was dry, whereas defendant claimed that it was drizzling and the roadway was wet.

Page 173

[371 Pa. 583] Instead of producing Louis Mike as a witness defendant offered in evidence an alleged declaration made by Mike shortly after the happening of the accident. Defendant testified that two or three minutes after the collision he walked over to an officer standing nearby, and, as he did so, Mike also approached and said to him and the officer that 'He was sorry, he went to pass the truck and the truck pulled out on him;' defendant thereupon had a bystander take Mike's name and address. Another person present testified that he heard Mike say that 'He was sorry that he pulled out a little bit too far'. The introduction of this hearsay testimony, so obviously damaging to plaintiffs' case, was not warranted on the ground that it was part of the res gestae. It would serve no useful...

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12 cases
  • Com. v. Stohr
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • March 6, 1987
    ...occurrence to which they relate and uttered before the processes of intellect have had the opportunity to come into play." Haas v. Kasnot, 371 Pa. 580, 583-84, 92 A.2d 171, 173 (1952); see also Commonwealth v. Kasko, 322 Pa.Super. 62, 70-71, 469 A.2d 181, 186 Ordinarily, where there is oppo......
  • Hammel v. Christian
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • July 29, 1992
    ...was not shown to have been induced by the shock of seeing the accident. We find no error in this evidentiary ruling. In Haas v. Kasnot, 371 Pa. 580, 92 A.2d 171 (1952), a statement made to a police officer two or three minutes after the accident was excluded because it was not shown to be a......
  • Richardson v. LaBuz
    • United States
    • Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
    • April 10, 1984
    ...instructed that it may infer that the witness, if called, would testify adversely to the party who failed to call him. Haas v. Kasnot, 371 Pa. 580, 92 A.2d 171 (1952). See 2 Wigmore, Evidence § 285 (3d. ed. The Commonwealth's initial contention, that this rule of negative inference can be a......
  • Wilkerson v. Allied Van Lines, Inc.
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • February 6, 1987
    ...of the statement on the police report was not admissible as a business record exception to the exclusionary rule. See: Haas v. Kasnot, 371 Pa. 580, 92 A.2d 171 (1952). See also: McCormick on Evidence §§ 310, 324.3 (3d ed. 1984). Allied argues that even if the evidence were hearsay, the tria......
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