The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff motorcyclist’s motion for summary judgment in this intersection traffic accident case was not premature, defendant’s violation of the Vehicle and Traffic law was negligence per se, and the comparative-negligence affirmative defense should have been dismissed. Plaintiff demonstrate defendant made an illegal left turn in front of him and he could not avoid the collision:
… [A] violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law constitutes negligence as a matter of law … . “The operator of an oncoming vehicle with the right-of-way is entitled to assume that the opposing operator will yield in compliance with the Vehicle and Traffic Law” … . “[A] driver with the right-of-way who has only seconds to react to a vehicle which has failed to yield is not comparatively negligent for failing to avoid the collision” … . …
… [T]he plaintiff’s motion was not premature since the defendants failed to demonstrate that discovery might lead to relevant evidence or that facts essential to justify opposition to the motion were exclusively within the knowledge and control of the plaintiff (see CPLR 3212[f] … ). Higgins v Stelmach, 2022 NY Slip Op 05155, Second Dept 9-13-22
Practice Point: Plaintiff demonstrated defendant violated the Vehicle and Traffic Law by making a left turn in front of plaintiff’s motorcycle. Defendant did not demonstrate discovery would lead to evidence essential to defending the motion for summary judgment. The motion therefore was not premature. Plaintiff was entitled to summary judgment and dismissal of the comparative negligence affirmative defense.