Thursday, April 21, 2016

A livery cab, an accident, and summary judgment.

Practice point:  The Appellate Division affirmed the denial of defendant's summary judgment motion dismissing the complaint in this action where plaintiff injured her ankle when, while riding as a passenger in the back seat of defendant's livery cab, she claims the vehicle came to an abrupt stop. At deposition, plaintiff admitted that she could not provide an account of the sequence of events culminating in the accident because she was not paying attention. Defendant moved for summary judgment, relying on the emergency doctrine, claiming that another car unexpectedly cut in front of him, which required him to immediately apply his brakes to avoid a collision. The Appellate Division agreed with the motion court that, notwithstanding defendant's present account of the accident, there are issues of fact regarding whether the stop was necessitated by an emergency that was not of defendant's own making.

Student note:  The emergency doctrine will prevent a finding of negligence against a driver confronted by a sudden and unexpected situation that leaves little time for thought, deliberation or consideration, provided that the driver's actions were reasonably prudent under emergent circumstances, and the driver did not create or contribute to the emergency. The existence of an emergency and reasonableness of a party's response to the situation ordinarily present questions of fact.

Case:  Weston v. Castro, NY Slip Op 02902 (1st Dep't 2016)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue:  Alleging injuries caused by the negligence of a state employee.