Friday, February 23, 2007

Who got dumped?

A driver, lacking both experience behind the wheel and a license to get behind the wheel in the first place, made a left-turn at 35-40 miles per hour, and, in his words, "made the turn too wide." I guess he did! He skidded on the wet roadway and struck a dumpster which, after it was hit, ended up somewhere in the middle of the street; no telling exactly where it had been parked. The First Department granted summary judgment to the dumpster's owner, in Smalls v. AJI Industries, decided on February 22, 2007. The court found that the driver had offered nothing to show that the dumpster was parked in an unsafe location, and gave short shrift to the driver's unsupported assertion that the dumpster should have had reflecting lights.

There was a dissent, however, finding triable issues as to whether the dumpster's owner contributed to the accident "by placing a dumpster, lacking any reflectors, in a dimly lit area and in a location that a jury could find to be a traffic lane."

What do you think? Does it come down to superseding cause, pure and simple, or is there something more going on? Who got it right?

(My answer: the majority, but there is that dissent for me to think about.)