OPINION BY ERVIN, J., July 13, 1954:
Ruth Liebendofer entered suit against George W. Wilson in the County Court of Allegheny County for damages caused to her automobile. Her car was being driven by her husband, Harry G. Liebendofer, on his own business. The husband was joined as an additional defendant in this suit. Subsequently, George W. Wilson entered suit against Harry G. Liebendofer in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County for damages caused to his automobile and for personal injuries suffered in the accident. The suit of Ruth Liebendofer was removed to the Court of Common Pleas. Both cases were tried together. After all the testimony was presented and after the closing speeches of the attorneys had been given, the learned judge granted Wilson's motion for a compulsory nonsuit against
The entry of the nonsuit in the case of Ruth Liebendofer v. George W. Wilson was clearly in error. A nonsuit may not be entered after the defendant has introduced evidence. Jordan v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada, 366 Pa. 495, 77 A.2d 631. While it is true that the appellate courts of this Commonwealth have determined that the certificate of title is not a muniment of title (see Braham & Co. v. Steinard-Hannon Motor Co. et al., 97 Pa.Super. 19), it nevertheless has been held that a certificate of title is an indicium of ownership. Majors v. Majors, 349 Pa. 334, 338, 37 A.2d 528; Speck Cadillac-Olds v. Goodman, 373 Pa. 83, 88, 95 A.2d 191, 193; Rice St. Motors v. Smith et al., 167 Pa.Super. 159, 162, 74 A.2d 535; Weigelt v. Factors Credit Corp., 174 Pa.Super. 400, 101 A.2d 404.
There is a general presumption existing in all dealings between husband and wife that property bought in the name of the wife with the husband's funds or transferred from husband to wife without consideration, is a gift to her.
As a new trial must be had in the wife's case, we feel that a new trial also should be granted in the cross suit. The jury may have misunderstood the reason for the granting of the nonsuit in the wife's case. Of greater importance is the desire to bring about consistent verdicts. Another jury may give the wife a verdict. To do so they would have to find Wilson negligent. If Wilson's verdict against the husband were permitted to stand, it could be only on the ground that he was not negligent. The inconsistency is readily apparent. "Underlying the rule permitting the plaintiffs to join in a single action is the object of furthering procedural convenience by a single trial, not only in order to eliminate the burden and expense of multiple trials but also to avoid the possibility of contradictory verdicts returned by different juries." 4 Anderson Pa. Civil Practice p. 323; Pittsburgh Parking Garages v. Urban Redevelopment Authority, 370 Pa. 578, 582, 88 A.2d 780; Stokes et al. v. Giarraputo & Son No. 1, 42 D. & C. 161, 162.
Our conclusion makes it unnecessary to pass upon the question whether Wilson was contributorily negligent as a matter of law.
In the case of Ruth Liebendofer v. George W. Wilson, the order of the lower court is reversed and a new trial is awarded, with costs to abide the final result.
In the case of George W. Wilson v. Harry G. Liebendofer, the judgment of the lower court is reversed and a new trial is awarded, with costs to abide the final result.