The Second Department, reversing (modifying) Supreme Court determined plaintiff police officer was entitled to summary judgment against the driver of the tractor trailer which struck the officer who was standing in the roadway both under a common law negligence theory and under General Municipal Law 205-e. The court dealt with several other issues including: (1) whether a second police officer was engaged in an emergency operation, giving rise to the reckless disregard standard, when he stopped to assist the plaintiff who had made a traffic stop (the answer is no); (2) whether the second officer was liable based upon the position of his car (the answer is no, the car furnished a condition for the accident but was not the cause); (3) whether the injured officer’s recovery was confined to Workers’ Compensation (there is a question of fact whether the injury was “grave”); (4) whether the Graves Amendment protected the truck rental companies (the answer is yes); (5) whether vicarious liability applies to the truck driver’s employer (there is a question of fact on that issue). With respect to the common law negligence and the General Municipal Law 205-e causes of action, the court wrote:
… [T]he plaintiffs were not required to demonstrate that the injured plaintiff was free from comparative negligence in order to obtain summary judgment on the issue of Burke’s [the truck driver’s] liability on the first cause of action [negligence]. * * *
When the light changed, Burke began his left turn onto northbound Midland Avenue. Prior to beginning his turn, Burke was aware that there was a police officer conducting a traffic stop on foot and a police car parked on the northbound side of Midland Avenue. Although Burke believed he could make the turn safely, the rear of the trailer hit the injured plaintiff. * * *
The plaintiffs also established … Burke’s liability as to … a violation of General Municipal Law § 205-e. … [T]hat statute permits a police officer to bring a tort claim for injuries sustained “while in the discharge or performance at any time or place of any duty imposed by . . . superior officer[s]” where such injuries occur “directly or indirectly as a result of any neglect, omission, willful or culpable negligence of any person or persons in failing to comply with the requirements of any of the statutes, ordinances, rules, orders and requirements of the federal, state, county, village, town or city governments” … . In order to recover under the statute, “a police officer must demonstrate injury resulting from negligent noncompliance with a requirement found in a well-developed body of law and regulation that imposes clear duties” … .
Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1146(a) requires a driver to “exercise due care to avoid colliding with any . . . pedestrian.” Here, the unrebutted evidence established a prima facie violation of § 1146(a), as it demonstrated that Burke failed to exercise due care to avoid hitting the injured plaintiff. Cioffi v S.M. Foods, Inc., 2019 NY Slip Op 09251, Second Dept 12-24-19