The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff was entitled to summary judgment in this rear-end collision case:
… [T]he plaintiff’s vehicle struck the rear of the vehicle traveling directly in front of it when that vehicle made a sudden stop in response to the traffic conditions ahead. A few seconds later, the plaintiff’s vehicle was struck in the rear by a vehicle operated by the defendant John F. Meehan (hereinafter the defendant driver) … .
A plaintiff in a negligence action moving for summary judgment on the issue of liability must establish, prima facie, that the defendants breached a duty owed to the plaintiff, and that the defendants’ negligence was a proximate cause of the alleged injuries … . “A driver of a vehicle approaching another vehicle from the rear is required to maintain a reasonably safe distance and rate of speed under the prevailing conditions to avoid colliding with the other vehicle” (,,,see Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1129[a]). Thus, a rear-end collision with a stopped or stopping vehicle establishes a prima facie case of negligence on the part of the operator of the rear vehicle, requiring that operator to come forward with evidence of a nonnegligent explanation for the collision to rebut the inference of negligence … .
Here, in support of her motion, the plaintiff submitted, inter alia, transcripts of the deposition testimony of the parties, which demonstrated that the defendants’ vehicle struck the rear of the plaintiff’s vehicle. Thus, the plaintiff established, prima facie, that the defendant driver’s negligence was a proximate cause of the accident … . Gelo v Meehan, 2019 NY Slip Op 08175, Second Dept 11-13-19