The Second Department determined summary judgment was properly granted to defendant taxi driver in a car-accident case. Plaintiff was in an accident caused by black ice and was standing in the roadway near the cars involved. Defendant taxi driver (Favors) applied his brakes when he saw the cars stopped in the roadway ahead but slid on the black ice and struck one of the vehicles, pinning plaintiff. The court held the emergency doctrine entitled the taxi driver to summary judgment:
Under the emergency doctrine, when an actor is faced with a sudden and unexpected circumstance which leaves little or no time for thought, deliberation or consideration, or causes the actor to be reasonably so disturbed that the actor must make a speedy decision without weighing alternative courses of conduct, the actor is not negligent if the actions taken are reasonable and prudent in the emergency context … . While a driver's actions in an emergency situation usually present a triable issue of fact, “summary judgment may be granted when the driver presents sufficient evidence to establish the reasonableness of his or her actions and there is no opposing evidentiary showing sufficient to raise a legitimate question of fact on the issue'” … .
Here, the evidence submitted by the taxi defendants in support of their motion demonstrated, prima facie, that Favors faced an emergency situation. Favors' encounter with three cars that had recently crashed on the Van Wyck and which blocked two lanes of traffic was sudden and unexpected … . He applied the brakes as soon as he saw these cars, but black ice on the highway caused his car to slide. Favors had no reason to suspect that ice would be present on the highway and, therefore, the presence of black ice was also sudden and unexpected … . In light of these facts and the evidence establishing that Favors was not speeding, that the events leading to Favors' collision with Alma's vehicle transpired over a matter of seconds, and that he tried to steer his taxi to avoid the other vehicles, the taxi defendants established, prima facie, that Favors was presented with an emergency situation and that he reacted as a reasonable person would under the circumstances … . Kandel v FN; Taxi; Inc., 2016 NY Slip Op 01809, 2nd Dept 3-16-16
NEGLIGENCE (DEFENDANT DRIVER ENTITLED TO SUMMARY JUDGMENT UNDER THE EMERGENCY DOCTRINE)/EMERGENCY DOCTRINE (DEFENDANT DRIVER ENTITLED TO SUMMARY JUDGMENT UNDER THE EMERGENCY DOCTRINE)