Category Archives: Automobile Liability

After Removal Case Dismissed on Ground of no Serious Injury — Important Decision in Field

Jon Lichtenstein Removes Case To Federal Court And Obtains Summary Judgment On The Grounds Of No Serious Injury. Court Makes Several Important Findings Making Mva Cases Easier To Defend. United States District Court, Eastern District, Honorable John Gleeson

The plaintiff livery driver was hit in the rear while at a red light. He brought suit against the operator, the employer and the lessor of the vehicle claiming serious injuries to his low back, left knee, right shoulder and neck.  We represented all the defendants.  Plaintiff brought the case in Kings County, but we removed it to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction in order to 1) put plaintiff’s attorney at a disadvantage; 2) to obtain a more defense oriented jury pool; 3) for a faster resolution of the case; 4) and to access a judge with the time and ability to sift through the thicket of factual and legal issues necessary to win on summary judgment on the grounds of the serious injury threshold of the New York No Fault law.   Continue reading

Civil Liability for Allowing a Friend to Drive Drunk?

Two 17-year-old boys were arrested in Glastonbury, CT last month and charged with reckless endangerment in the second degree on the ground that they knew their friend Jane Modlesky, also 17, was too drunk to drive when she got behind the wheel of an SUV in July before crashing into a tree and dying.

Modlesky had left a party where alcohol was being served to over 100 minors with four 17 year old boys. Although the SUV belonged to the parents of one of Modlesky’s friends, the car was initially not being driven by Modlesky.  One of the boys dropped himself and a passenger off before handing the keys to the third boy who drove to his own house, where the two accused boys got out and handed the keys to Modlesky.  They apparently did so without having the opportunity to see her drive.  One wonders if there had been a prior consensus that she was not capable of driving the vehicle despite it having been entrusted to her by the parents of one of her friends.  She was killed only a half-a-mile away.  Her blood alcohol level was more than 13 times the legal limit.

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Driver with Bikini Emergency Found Blameless in Fatal Crash

Appellate Division Expands Scope of the “Emergency Doctrine”

Although the fact pattern of Pelletier v. Lahm, 2013 WL 6084204, 2d Dept., 2013 seems like it was cast from the characters in a lurid reality television show, the case appears to expand the use and scope of the emergency doctrine which in skilled hands can lead to the successful defense of an auto case even where the defendant admits to statutory negligence. Whereas the typical emergency doctrine case involves a driver attempting a defensive maneuver as a result of a car crossing into the defendant’s lane from the opposite direction, Pelletier potentially expands the doctrine to situations involving surprise and/or embarrassment relating to the antics of children and childlike adults.

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