Kesmarki v. Kisling, 18018-18019.

Decision Date10 September 1968
Docket NumberNo. 18018-18019.,18018-18019.
Citation400 F.2d 97
PartiesTheresa KESMARKI and Thomas Kesmarki, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Ruth Elizabeth KISLING, Defendant-Appellee.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit

Robert M. Dudnik, Cleveland, Ohio (Leon M. Plevin, Dudnik, Komito, Nurenberg, Plevin, Dempsey & Jacobson, Cleveland, Ohio, on the brief), for appellants.

John E. Martindale, Cleveland, Ohio (Arter, Hadden, Wykoff & Van Duzer, Cleveland, Ohio, on the brief), for appellee.

Before O'SULLIVAN, CELEBREZZE, Circuit Judges, and CECIL, Senior Circuit Judge.

O'SULLIVAN, Circuit Judge.

We consider the appeals of Theresa Kesmarki and her husband, Thomas, from judgments for defendant, Ruth Elizabeth Kisling, entered upon a jury verdict. The actions, tried together, arose from injuries suffered by Theresa Kesmarki in a collision between automobiles driven by her and by defendant-appellee. The collision occurred at about 4:00 p. m. on December 3, 1962, in the intersection made by West Third Street and Weldon Avenue in the City of Mansfield, Ohio. Plaintiffs-Appellants' Colorado citizenship provided the diversity jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division. We affirm.

There was little factual disagreement as to how the collision occurred. We set out the following from the statement of facts in the appellants' brief.

"Defendant testified that on December 3, 1962 at about 4:00 p. m., she was proceeding north on Weldon Avenue; that she stopped for a stop sign about sixteen feet from the intersection of Weldon Avenue and West Third Street; that she waited at said stop sign three to five minutes, due to heavy traffic on West Third Street; that the eastbound vehicles on West Third Street came to a stop so that the back of one vehicle was parallel to the extension of the easterly curb line of Weldon Avenue and the front of another vehicle was parallel to the westerly curb line extension of Weldon Avenue, thereby leaving a space of about one car length for defendant to enter the intersection. The defendant further testified that her view was obstructed with regard to traffic proceeding westerly on West Third Street due to cars parked in the parking lot at the southeasterly corner of Weldon Avenue and West Third Street and additionally her view was blocked by the heavy eastbound traffic backed up on West Third Street and other parked vehicles on West Third Street; that nevertheless, defendant testified, the driver of the vehicle stopped parallel with the westerly extension of the curb line of Weldon Avenue motioned her forward; that defendant proceeded forward uninterruptedly into the intersection of Weldon Avenue and West Third Street; that she continued at a speed of five to ten miles an hour through the intersection and that a collision occurred. * * *.
"Plaintiff, a 33 year old woman from Hungary who has been in the United States about ten years, and although an American citizen now, had some difficulty with the language, testified that she was proceeding westerly on West Third Street and was the first car in line; that she had a clear lane of travel and that she was proceeding at approximately twenty to twenty-five miles an hour. Plaintiff further testified that she did not see the defendant\'s vehicle, but saw something move from her left to right; from the time she saw this object until the collision about one second elapsed."

And the following from the Counter Statement of Facts in appellee's brief:

"After looking both to the left and right and making such observations as traffic permitted she defendant pulled slowly into the intersection at a speed of five miles per hour. Her car cleared a lane of parked cars and a lane of eastbound traffic on West Third, and almost cleared the lane of westbound traffic when its right rear door and fender received the impact of plaintiff\'s car, traveling west in the lane nearest the center line.
"Plaintiff had been traveling west on West Third Street. Although it is 36 feet wide, West Third has parking permitted on each side, narrowing it to one lane of travel in each direction. Plaintiff, who had stopped some distance back for a traffic light became the first car in her lane of travel when a truck ahead of her turned off. She reached an admitted speed of 25 miles per hour and although she was familiar with West Third made no observations as to Weldon\'s intersection. She never saw the defendant\'s auto until the instant of impact in spite of the fact that she struck the rear half of defendant\'s auto after the front half had already crossed her lane of travel. Plaintiff\'s speed was sufficient to create an impact which spun defendant\'s car sideways up onto the north sidewalk of West Third while plaintiff\'s car continued straight on down West Third in her own lane of travel.
"At the trial, defense counsel produced a certified copy of the pleadings filed in plaintiff\'s behalf in a separate suit in Denver, Colorado concerning a subsequent accident. Among those pleadings were answers to interrogatories denying any injuries prior to her accident in Denver, denying her use of a brace, and denying the existence of this lawsuit. These answers were verified by her attorney in Colorado. Over the objection of plaintiff\'s counsel, defense counsel was allowed to ask plaintiff whether or not she supplied these answers to her Colorado attorney. She denied doing so. Thereafter, when these pleadings were offered into evidence plaintiff\'s counsel objected and his objection was sustained. No further use was made of them by either side."

It is clear that both drivers came to the point of collision without either having seen the approach of the other. The evidence would have permitted the jury to come to one or more factual conclusions, including the following:

that plaintiff\'s failure to see defendant was due to her total neglect to look for traffic coming north on Weldon Avenue and into her path; that defendant\'s failure to see plaintiff was due to the ineffectiveness of her claimed look for traffic coming from her right on West Third Street; that both drivers proceeded into the collision under traffic conditions which made it impossible for either to make an effective observation to insure her proceeding with safety; that the plaintiff\'s admitted speed was negligent in view of her restricted, or total lack of view; that defendant\'s uninterrupted driving at 5 to 10 miles an hour into the intersection, notwithstanding her inability to discover the approach of plaintiff\'s vehicle, was negligence; that defendant\'s failure to yield the right of way to plaintiff was a negligent and proximate cause of the accident; that plaintiff\'s negligence was a proximate cause of the accident; that the negligence of both parties concurrently and proximately contributed to the collision.

The claims of error charged on this appeal are: First, that the District Judge should have directed a verdict of liability because, as a matter of law, defendant was negligent and plaintiff Theresa Kesmarki was free of contributory negligence; Second, that the Court committed error in his instructions to the jury; and, Third, that defense counsel's reference to answers to interrogatories propounded in another suit in which appellant Theresa Kesmarki was plaintiff should not have been allowed.

1. Denial of Motion for Directed Verdict.

After proofs were closed, plaintiffs' counsel moved the District Judge for a directed verdict as to liability,

"On the basis that Defendant was negligent and that Plaintiff was not guilty of contributory negligence."

In his objection to the charge as given, counsel for plaintiff stated,

"I would like to object to the charge on the basis of the Judge\'s statement that was made in the conference in the Judge\'s chambers yesterday, as I did move for a directed verdict on the question of liability, stating that the Defendant was negligent as a matter of law, that there was no proof offered by the Defendant as to the contributory negligence of the Plaintiff, and that therefore there should be a directed verdict for the Plaintiff on the question of Defendant\'s negligence * * *."
a) Negligence of Defendant.

The assertion that, as a matter of law, defendant was negligent is bottomed primarily on Section 4511.43 of the Ohio Revised Code which provides in part:

"The operator of a vehicle, intending to enter a through highway, shall yield the right of way to all other vehicles * * * on said through highway, unless otherwise directed by a traffic control signal, or as provided in this section.
The operator of a vehicle * * * shall stop in obedience to a stop sign at an intersection and shall yield the right of way to all other vehicles * * * not obliged to stop, or as provided in this section."

It is undisputed that West Third Street was a favored through street and that defendant was required to stop before entering it and to yield the right of way to a vehicle on West Third Street entering the intersection. The violation of a relevant statute regulating traffic is negligence per se. 39 Ohio Jur.2d § 44, at 551; Schell v. Du Bois, 94 Ohio St. 93, 113 N.E. 664, L.R. A.1917A, 710 (1916). And a motorist entering a favored street will not be excused from required care by looking but failing to see a vehicle that was there to be seen. Her preparatory look must be an effective one. Spitler v. Morrow, 100 Ohio App. 181, 136 N.E.2d 321 (1955); Pritchard v. Cavanaugh, 18 Ohio Law Abst. 354 (1934), affirmed, 129 Ohio St. 542, 196 N.E. 164; Jackson v. Mannor, 90 Ohio App. 424, 107 N.E.2d 151 (1951).

Defendant counters these assertions by pointing to Ohio law which limits the protection of a right of way statute to those who are themselves proceeding "in a lawful manner" — see definition of "Right of Way," O.R.C. § 4511.01 (TT) (1967 Cum.Supp.). The third syllabus of Morris v. Bloomgren, 127 Ohio St. 147, 187 N.E. 2, 89 A.L.R. 831 (1933),...

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3 cases
  • Davidson v. Eddings
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • May 9, 1972
    ...also 31 C.J.S. Estoppel § 121, page 390. It will be noted this doctrine is applicable only if the former pleadings are under oath.' In Kesmarki v. Kisling 7 the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, in considering facts strikingly similar to the facts being reviewed, '. . . It is a fair summary o......
  • United States v. Brookins
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • July 6, 1971 the impeaching party's agent and a court stenographer in question and answer form, and not signed by the witness); Kesmarki v. Kisling, 400 F.2d 97 (6th Cir. 1968) (answers to interrogatories in an unrelated law suit which were neither verified nor signed by the adverse party, so long as......
  • Guthrie ex rel. Guthrie v. Ball
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Tennessee
    • October 9, 2014
    ...the information in the complaint. Plaintiff cites to a Sixth Circuit case from 1968 in support of this contention, Kesmarki v. Kisling, 400 F.2d 97 (6th Cir. 1968). However, more recent Sixth Circuit case law has made it clear that "under federal law, stipulations and admissions in the plea......

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