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Womack v. Banner Bakery, Inc.

Supreme Court of Arizona

June 5, 1956

Rocky J. WOMACK, by his guardian ad litem, Arthur Womack, and Arthur Womack, Appellants,
v.
BANNER BAKERY, Inc., a corporation, bankrupt, and Albert B. Colby, Trustee of Banner Bakery, Inc., a corporation, bankrupt, and Kalman Dorshkind, Appellees.

Page 937

[80 Ariz. 354] Minne & Sorenson, and Robert H. Allen, Phoenix, for appellants.

Struckmeyer, Whitney & Perry, Phoenix, for appellees.

PATTERSON, Superior Court Judge.

An action was initiated by Arthur Womack, as guardian ad litem of his son, Rocky J. Womack, a child of the age of three and one-half years, and Arthur Womack, individually, against Banner Bakery, Inc., a corporation, and Kalman Dorshkind for injury sustained by the said minor. On the afternoon of February 25, 1952, the said minor was struck by an International panel truck driven by defendant Kalman Dorshkind who was employed as a salesman by defendant Banner Bakery, Inc., and was traveling his usual sales route delivering Banner products at the time the accident occurred across the street from the child's home which was situated on the southeast corner of the intersection of North 37th Avenue and West Fillmore Street in Phoenix, Arizona. The child, together with other small children, was playing in the front yard of the Womack home immediately prior to the accident. As Dorshkind proceeded south on 37th Avenue, there was nothing to obstruct his view of the street except a car facing north parked on the east side of 37th Avenue adjacent to the Womack home.

Other than Rocky's four-year-old playmates, Dorshkind was the only one who saw the accident. According to his testimony, he was 'hugging' the right hand side of the road as he approached the place of the accident and the speed of his truck was ten to twelve miles per hour. Rocky ran out from the yard on the west side of the Womack home into and across the road in front of the truck. Immediately before the collision Dorshkind swerved the truck to the left, a distance of about three feet from the right hand side of the road and struck Rocky with the right front fender. Rocky suffered severe injuries and contends that the injuries are permanent. His father incurred substantial medical expenses.

Judgment was entered on verdict in favor of defendants. Plaintiffs appeal from this judgment and from order denying their motion for new trial.

Plaintiffs contend that the trial court erred in permitting Herbert H. Herman, a former highway patrolman, who investigated the accident but who was not an eyewitness, to give his opinion as to the cause of the accident based almost entirely upon statements made by Dorshkind after the accident. The testimony of the highway patrolman discloses that he had no distinct and independent recollection of what transpired on the day he made his investigation until after he examined a copy of his official report, which was given to him on the witness stand. He was then able to relate facts revealed to him by the driver of the truck and some of the physical facts he observed. The record discloses the following proceedings:

[80 Ariz. 355] 'Mr. Struckmeyer:

'Q. Does this refresh your memory as to what you determined the case was at that time? A. The best theory that I could evolve, yes. It is shown here on this.

'Q. And you now have a recollection of that made in February of 1952, do you? A. Yes, I remember the incident quite well.

Page 938

'Q. And what did you then reason as the best that you could determine as to the cause of the accident at that time?

'Mr. Sorrenson: Object, if your Honor please, the question calls for hearsay.

'The Court: Objection sustained, to the form of a question.

'Mr. Struckmeyer: Now, you have-what did you determine if you did not determine as to the cause of the accident in 1952, in February of 1952?

'Mr. Sorenson: If the Court please, we object to it on the ground that question has been asked and he answered he was unable to ...


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