Plaintiff was rear-ended by defendant [Dellapenta] on a clear, windy day when blowing snow caused a temporary whiteout. The jury returned a verdict of no cause for action. The Fourth Department determined the jury was properly given the “sudden stopping” charge and the emergency doctrine:
While plaintiff claimed that he was forced to stop due to the actions of the vehicle ahead of him …, Dellapenta testified that plaintiff did not slow down before the whiteout, he did not see any vehicles ahead of plaintiff, plaintiff’s vehicle was completely stopped in the whiteout, he never saw plaintiff’s brake or hazard lights, and plaintiff told Dellapenta after the accident that he stopped because he could not see. Thus, the issue whether plaintiff “stopped suddenly, without an apparent reason to do so,” was properly submitted to the jury … .
We reject plaintiff’s further contention that the court erred in instructing the jury on the emergency doctrine (see PJI 2:14) inasmuch as, evaluating the evidence in the light most favorable to defendants, a reasonable view of the evidence supported the conclusion that a sudden and temporary whiteout constituted a qualifying emergency … . Although Dellapenta had previously experienced whiteouts … at that location, such experience does not negate the applicability of the emergency doctrine “as to the events in issue in this case” … . Barnes v Dellapente…, 1039, 4th Dept 11-8-13