Trial Court Dismisses Complaint Under New York’s No Fault Law Based on Plaintiff’s Prior Medical History and Grants Summary Judgment in Favor of Client represented by MMHS

Baker v. Verizon

Susan H. Dempsey of Montfort, Healy, McGuire & Salley LLP recently secured summary judgment in favor of a defendant client in a case pending in the New York State Supreme Court in Queens County. The court granted the order on the ground that the plaintiff did not sustain injuries that met the “serious injury threshold requirement” pursuant to Insurance Law §5102(d).

The dispute arose from a motor vehicle accident that occurred in 2013. The plaintiff alleged he sustained injuries including: some requiring surgery; some that decreased his motions; and others that caused strains, sprains, headaches and pain syndrome. Evidence of the plaintiff’s prior medical history, however, led to the dismissal of the complaint.

The plaintiff’s testimony at his deposition revealed that, at the scene of the accident, an ambulance arrived and he was examined. However, instead of requesting that he be transported to a hospital, the plaintiff drove himself to a pain management facility where he had been receiving treatment for other injuries sustained as a result of prior incidents.

The Court took note of a deposition from 2012, in which the plaintiff testified to several injuries related to an assault. Many of the injuries about which he complained after the vehicle accident were similar to those he sustained in the assault. In addition, he continued to take pain medication for injuries related to the assault, attended monthly pain management treatments, and had not returned to work since the incident. The court also looked at injuries that the plaintiff sustained as a result of an automobile accident that happened more than ten years ago and found that some of his current complaints were related to that earlier accident.

Relying on case law precedent and applying Insurance Law §5102(d), which requires that injuries must be causally connected to the accident, the Court found that the evidence of causation was speculative “at best.” See Vidor v. Davila, 37 AD3d 826, 826-27 [2nd Dept. 2007]. Because the plaintiff did not demonstrate, in opposition to the defendant’s prima facie showing of entitlement to summary judgment, that his injuries were related to the 2013 vehicle accident, the Court dismissed the complaint.

To read the full decision, click here.