Plaintiff Entitled to Summary Judgment—Plaintiff Demonstrated Defendant’s Negligence and Plaintiff’s Freedom from Comparative Fault
The Second Department determined plaintiff-pedestrian, who was struck by defendant when in a crosswalk, was entitled to summary judgment. The court explained plaintiff had demonstrated both required elements: (1) defendant was negligent; and (2) plaintiff was free from comparative negligence. Defendant’s opposing affidavit, which contradicted his deposition testimony, raised only “feigned” issues and did not, therefore, raise a question of fact:
In a personal injury action, to prevail on a motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability, a plaintiff has the burden of establishing, prima facie, not only that the defendant was negligent, but that the plaintiff was free from comparative fault …, since there can be more than one proximate cause of an accident … . Where a plaintiff has established his or her prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, the opposing party may defeat the motion by submitting sufficient evidence to raise a triable issue of fact as to the plaintiff’s comparative fault … .
The plaintiff established his prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting evidence demonstrating that, before entering the crosswalk at the southwest corner of 84th Street and 17th Avenue and during the course of crossing the street, he looked both ways for oncoming vehicles and that, as he was crossing 17th Avenue within the crosswalk, with the pedestrian control and traffic control devices in his favor, [defendant] failed to yield the right-of-way to him … . The evidence submitted by the plaintiff demonstrated that [defendant] violated Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1111(a)(1) and that the plaintiff was not at comparative fault in the happening of the accident. In opposition, the defendants submitted [defendant-driver’s] affidavit, which contradicted his earlier deposition testimony, and merely raised what appear to be feigned issues of fact designed to avoid the consequences of his earlier deposition testimony. Thus, the affidavit failed to raise a triable issue of fact and was insufficient to defeat the plaintiff’s motion… . Zhu v Natale, 2015 NY Slip Op 06586, 2nd Dept 8-19-15