Montfort, Healy, McGuire & Salley LLP Successful in Appeal Concerning Car Accident Liability

Gavrilova v. Stark (2015 NY Slip Op 05153)

Montfort, Healy, McGuire & Salley LLP was recently successful in securing a victory at the Appellate Division, Second Department on behalf of a third-party defendant in a three-car accident. Partner Donald S. Neumann, Jr. and Senior Associate Robert J. Pape, Jr. represented the third-party defendant, who had been impleaded by the driver of the third vehicle.

The appeal was from an order of the Kings County Supreme Court that granted the third-party defendant’s motion for summary judgment to dismiss the complaint. The appellate court upheld the decision of the trial court, ruling that the third-party defendant’s motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint on the issue of liability was properly granted.

The case concerned a three-car accident that happened after the third-party defendant — the first car in line — had stopped due to an emergency vehicle on a cross street that passed by with its lights and siren in operation. Subsequently, the two following cars each collided into the car in front of them. The plaintiff in the case was a passenger in the second vehicle.

The Kings County Supreme Court granted summary judgment to both the operator of the first car in line – the third-party defendant – and to the operator of the second car in line. The operator of the last car in line claimed that the accident was caused when the third-party defendant of the first car- stopped short. The Appellate Division, Second Department reversed the grant of summary judgment to the second car in line, but held that the third-party defendant, represented by the firm, was not at fault for the collision because she obeyed the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law provision that requires drivers to yield the right of way to emergency vehicles.

More commonly known as the “Move Over Law,” NY VTL 1144-a makes it a serious traffic infraction to fail to exercise due care to avoid collision with emergency vehicles driving with their lights and sirens on.

Click here to read the court’s full decision.