PLAINTIFF CHANGED LANES, CUT OFF DEFENDANT’S VEHICLE AND CRASHED INTO THE REAR OF THE CAR IN FRONT; DEFENDANTS MOVED FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT PURSUANT TO THE EMERGENCY DOCTRINE; SUPREME COURT DENIED THE MOTION DESPITE PLAINTIFF’S FAILURE TO OPPOSE IT; THE SECOND DEPARTMENT AWARDED DEFENDANTS SUMMARY JUDGMENT PURSUANT TO THE EMERGENCY DOCTRINE (SECOND DEPT).
The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the PTM defendants’ motion for summary judgment in this rear-end collision case should have been granted. Plaintiff suddenly changed lanes, cut off the PTM defendants’ truck and then plaintiff struck the car in front. The emergency doctrine applied to the PTM defendants. It is worth noting that plaintiff did not oppose the PTM defendants’ motion:
… [T]he PTM defendants submitted an affidavit from Murrel [the driver of the PTM truck], which demonstrated, prima facie, that he had a nonnegligent explanation for striking the rear of the plaintiff’s vehicle and that he acted reasonably when he was faced with an emergency situation not of his own making … . According to Murrel, prior to the accident, he was operating his vehicle behind Acevedo’s vehicle at a reasonable and safe distance. The plaintiff’s vehicle, suddenly and without warning, cut in front of Murrel’s vehicle and, seconds later, struck the rear of Acevedo’s vehicle and then came to a sudden stop. Due to traffic conditions, Murrel could not safely change lanes, and although he applied the brakes, he could not avoid colliding with the plaintiff’s vehicle. Martin v PTM Mgt. Corp., 2023 NY Slip Op 01285, Second Dept 3-15-23
Practice Point: The emergency doctrine provides a non-negligent explanation for a rear-end collision which warrants summary judgment. Here plaintiff changed lanes quickly and cut off defendants’ vehicle.
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