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Court Affirms Defense Verdict Because Plaintiff Failed to Stop at Intersection (PA)

October 25, 2019

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<p style="text-align: justify;">The PA Superior Court recently denied Plaintiff’s request for a new trial following a defense verdict in which Plaintiff was found to be 70% negligent. In <em><a href="">Matthews v. Batroney</a></em>, No. 483 EDA 2019, 2019 PA Super 299, Plaintiff brought a personal injury action against Batroney after Plaintiff, who was riding a bicycle in Philadelphia, collided with Batroney’s car. Batroney testified that she stopped at her stop sign travelling eastbound but that she did not see Plaintiff riding his bicycle southbound prior to entering the intersection. Plaintiff admitted that he did not stop at his stop sign traveling southbound but claimed that he had made eye contact with Batroney prior to entering the intersection.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">At trial, the jury returned a verdict finding Batroney 30% negligent and Plaintiff 70% negligent. Therefore, under Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence rule, judgment was entered in Batroney’s favor and Plaintiff was not entitled to any recovery. Plaintiff appealed and argued that the trial court erred by refusing to charge the jury on Section 3321 of the PA Motor Vehicle Code pertaining to rights-of-way for vehicles approaching or entering an intersection. The trial court refused to charge the jury with Section 3321 and stated that it did not apply to a case where there is a two-way stop and one of the vehicles did not stop. Instead, the jury was only charged with Sections 3501 (pertaining to pedacycles) and 3323 (pertaining to stop signs and yield signs) of the PA Motor Vehicle Code.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">On appeal, the Superior Court noted that Plaintiff himself testified that he failed to stop at his intersection’s stop sign and that his testimony was corroborated by a disinterested witness at the scene. Thus, the Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s decision and stated that because Plaintiff does not dispute that he failed to stop prior to entering the intersection, the trial court did not err in refusing to charge the jury as to Section 3321.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Thanks to Greg Herrold for his contribution to this post. Please email <a href="">Vito A. Pinto</a> with any questions.</p>

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