Pyle v. Wilbert

Decision Date27 January 1940
Docket Number27682.
Citation2 Wn.2d 429,98 P.2d 664
PartiesPYLE v. WILBERT et al.
CourtWashington Supreme Court

Department 1.

Action by J. T. Pyle and another against James N. Wilbert and others for property damage and personal injuries sustained in an automobile collision. Judgment for plaintiffs, and defendants appeal from judgment in favor of the named plaintiff.


Appeal from Superior Court, Spokane County; Wm. A. Huneke, judge.

Harry M. Morey, of Spokane, for appellants.

Bernard A. Johnson, and Robertson & Smith, all of Spokane, for respondent.

MILLARD Justice.

About two o'clock A.M., December 6, 1938, a Chevrolet coupe operated by J. T. Pyle, who was accompanied by his mother collided with a Buick sedan operated by Charles Wilbert whose guests in that automobile, which was owned by Wilbert's parents, were two ladies and a gentleman within the intersection of Freya street (a non-arterial highway) and Sprague avenue, an arterial highway, in the city of Spokane. Pyle and his mother brought this action to recover against James N. Wilbert, his wife and his son, for property damage and for personal injuries sustained as a result of the accident. Trial of the cause to a jury resulted in verdicts in favor of the plaintiffs. From the judgment entered, motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict having been overruled, the defendants appealed only from the judgment in favor of J. T. Pyle as they satisfied the judgment in favor of J. T. Pyle's mother.

The contention of counsel for appellant that the trial court erred in denying the motions for non-suit, directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict, on which is bottomed the argument that the evidence adduced precluded any right of the respondent to recover, can not be sustained unless we can say, as a matter of law, that there is neither evidence nor reasonable inference from the evidence to justify the verdict.

'An involuntary nonsuit and dismissal of the plaintiff's cause of action is like a directed verdict or granting a judgment notwithstanding the verdict after verdict by the trial court. If there is competent proof to be considered by the jury, which would sustain a recovery, it should not be granted. [Citing cases]. The fact that there was evidence on behalf of the defendant controverting that of the plaintiff is not to be considered upon such motions.' Norton v. Payne, 154 Wash. 241, 281 P. 991, 992.

In passing on the question whether the motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict should have been granted, we must regard as true all competent evidence in the record which is favorable to the respondent, and we must give to the respondent the benefit of every favorable inference which may reasonably be drawn from such evidence.

'Where the minds of reasonable men may differ, the question should be submitted to the jury. If, when so considered, we find there is substantial evidence to sustain the verdict the judgment must be affirmed.' Gibson v. Spokane United Railways, 197 Wash. 58, 84 P.2d 349, 350.

If we apply the foregoing principles to the facts summarized as follows, in the case at bar it is manifest that the trial court did not err in overruling appellants' motions:

Respondent was proceeding north on Freya street (a non-arterial highway), the course of which is north and south. Appellant Wilbert was proceeding easterly on Sprague avenue, an east and west arterial highway which intersects Freya street at right angles. A stop sign was located twenty-six feet south of the south curb line of Sprague avenue. On the southeast corner of the intersection is a drugstore which extends back about eighteen feet from the south curb line. On the southwest corner, and setting back approximately sixty feet, is a service station. Respondent testified that upon arrival at Sprague avenue he stopped for the arterial highway at 'about the sidewalk or stop sign;' he then looked for traffic to left, or west, which was the direction from which appellants' automobile proceeded, and had a vision of at least two hundred and fifty feet, but that he saw no traffic approaching at all from that direction. He then shifted into low gear and proceeded at the rate of about four miles an hour into the intersection, looking to the right for traffic from the east, when his automobile was struck by the front of appellants' car with such force that respondent's automobile was hurled about thirty feet the rear end of his automobile striking against an electric light pole on the northeast corner of the intersection. Respondent was thrown from the automobile to the pavement and his mother was thrown upon the sidewalk on the northeast corner after collision of respondent's automobile with the electric light pole.

Counsel for appellants insist that respondent stopped his automobile Before entering the intersection twenty-four feet south of the curb line of the arterial highway when he had a limited view of only two hundred and fifty feet to the west, which was contrary to the statutory requirement (Rem.Rev.Stat.§ 6360-90) that the operator of a motor vehicle must stop that vehicle immediately Before entering upon an arterial highway, therefore the contributory negligence of respondent in failing to stop at the arterial highway bars recovery.

There is evidence to the effect that respondent stopped his car about two feet ahead of the stop sign or twenty-four feet south of the curb line of the arterial highway. Whether respondent was confused in so testifying, in view of his other testimony that he stopped his car about the sidewalk, was...

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18 cases
  • Burghardt v. Olson
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oregon
    • February 17, 1960 the place of an accident may be proved by evidence of speed at a point close by the scene of the accident. Pyle v. Wilbert, 1940, 2 Wash.2d 429, 98 P.2d 664; MacCurdy v. United States, D.C.1956, 143 F.Supp. 60, affirmed 5 Cir., 1957, 246 F.2d 67, certiorari denied 1957, 355 U.S. 933, 78 ......
  • Hauswirth v. Pom-Arleau
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • November 24, 1941
    ...... Wash. 84, 91, 13 P.2d 65; Gaskill v. Amadon, 179 [11. Wn.2d 369] Wash. 375, 380, 38 P.2d 229; Pyle v. Wilbert, 2 Wash.2d 429, 434, 98 P.2d 664; Oyster v. Dye, 7 Wash.2d 674, 679, 110 P.2d 863; Johnson v. Ohman, Wash., 117 ......
  • Lindberg v. Steele
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • August 6, 1940
    ...... Wash. 14, 81 P.2d 867; Gibson v. Spokane United. Railways, 197 Wash. 58, 84 P.2d 349; Beck v. Dye, 200 Wash. 1, 92 P.2d 1113; Pyle v. Wilbert,. Wash., 366, 98 P.2d 664. . . In the. determination of such challenge or motion, even though the. ......
  • Cronin v. Shell Oil Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • April 24, 1941
    ...... judgment must be affirmed. Gibson v. Spokane United. Railways, 197 Wash. 58, 84 P.2d 349; Pyle v. Wilbert, 2 Wash.2d 429, 98 P.2d 664. . . An apt. statement of the rule was made as follows [8 Wn.2d 418] by. ......
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