Monday, February 29, 2016

Ordinary negligence and recklessness standards of care.

Practice point: The Appellate Division reversed and reinstated the complaint in this action where plaintiff, a livery cab driver, was parked on the shoulder near a parkway's exit ramp when his vehicle was struck by a snow plow driven by defendant, an employee of defendant New York City Department of Transportation.  On appeal, plaintiff asserted that the Supreme Court should have assessed defendant's liability based on an ordinary negligence standard of care because, at the time of the accident, the City regulation governing snow plows did not expressly set forth a standard of care. The Appellate Division held that a recklessness standard of care applies, as the Court of Appeals recently held that, even though the statute did not specifically identify the applicable standard of care, in light of the language of the statute as a whole, its legislative history, and related case law, the standard is recklessness.

Student note: Under the applicable standard, defendants will be liable only if driver-defendant acted in conscious disregard of a known or obvious risk that was so great as to make it highly probable that harm would follow.

Case:  Dejean v. Lawton, NY Slip Op 01149 (2d Dept. 2016)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue:  Motions for leave to renew.