Monday, May 12, 2014

Liability when a plaintiff was thrown from a bike into a bus in a split-second.

Practice point:  A defendant is not liable where he or she is faced with a sudden and unforeseen occurrence that was not of his own making.. Here, defendant-cab driver opened his driver's side door, causing plaintiff to be thrown from his bicycle into the path of an oncoming bus. Testimony concerning the length of time that elapsed from plaintiff' being thrown from his bike and the impact with defendant-Transit Authority's bus consistently stated that it was only an instant or a second, an insufficient length of time to constitute actionable negligence.

Student note:  The only evidence that could have served as the basis for the jury's verdict against the Transit Authority was inadmissible, since it was based, at least in part, on the Authority's own rules and internal standards which hold the Authority to a higher standard of care than the common law.

Case:  Cropper v. Stewart, NY Slip Op 03018 (1st Dept. 2014)

 Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue: A defendant's summary judgment motion in a legal malpractice action.