Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.
Vladimir AUGUSTE, Respondent, v. Meliquin JETER, Appellant.
Decided: December 05, 2018
WILLIAM F. MASTRO, J.P., JOHN M. LEVENTHAL, SANDRA L. SGROI, ANGELA G. IANNACCI, JJ.
Russo & Tambasco, Melville, N.Y. (Susan J. Mitola of counsel), for appellant. Law Offices of Peter DiBona, P.C., Brooklyn, NY, for respondent.
DECISION & ORDER
In an action to recover damages for personal injuries, the defendant appeals from an order of the Supreme Court, Kings County (Theresa Ciccotto, J.), dated October 31, 2017. The order granted the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability.
ORDERED that the order is affirmed, with costs.
The plaintiff allegedly was injured when a motor vehicle he was operating was struck in the rear by a vehicle owned and operated by the defendant. The plaintiff commenced this action to recover damages for personal injuries and thereafter moved for summary judgment on the issue of liability. The Supreme Court granted the motion, and the defendant appeals.
“A driver of a vehicle approaching another vehicle from the rear is required to maintain a reasonably safe distance and rate of speed under the prevailing conditions to avoid colliding with the other vehicle” (Nsiah–Ababio v. Hunter, 78 A.D.3d 672, 672, 913 N.Y.S.2d 659; see Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1129[a]; Russell v. J.L. Femia Landscape Servs., Inc., 161 A.D.3d 1119, 1120, 77 N.Y.S.3d 121). A rear-end collision with a stopped or stopping vehicle establishes a prima facie case of negligence on the part of the operator of the rear vehicle, requiring that operator to come forward with evidence of a nonnegligent explanation for the collision to rebut the inference of negligence (see Tutrani v. County of Suffolk, 10 N.Y.3d 906, 908, 861 N.Y.S.2d 610, 891 N.E.2d 726; Scheker v. Brown, 85 A.D.3d 1007, 925 N.Y.S.2d 528).
Here, the plaintiff demonstrated his prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law on the issue of liability by averring that he was stopped at a red light for 45 seconds before the defendant's vehicle struck the plaintiff's vehicle in the rear (see Arslan v. Costello, 164 A.D.3d 1408, 1409, 84 N.Y.S.3d 229; Hewitt v. Gordon–Fleetwood, 163 A.D.3d 536, 79 N.Y.S.3d 641). In opposition, the defendant averred that the accident occurred after the plaintiff made a sudden stop in the middle of the road. However, the defendant did not submit any evidence as to the distance he had maintained from the plaintiff's vehicle, or the speed at which he was traveling, prior to the collision. Without such evidence, the assertion that the plaintiff's vehicle came to a sudden stop was insufficient to rebut the inference that the defendant was negligent (see Lopez v. Dobbins, 164 A.D.3d 776, 778, 79 N.Y.S.3d 566; Mallen v. Su, 67 A.D.3d 974, 975, 890 N.Y.S.2d 79).
The defendant's remaining contention is without merit.
Accordingly, we agree with the Supreme Court's determination granting the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability.
MASTRO, J.P., LEVENTHAL, SGROI and IANNACCI, JJ., concur.
Was this helpful?
Response sent, thank you
Welcome to FindLaw's Cases & Codes
A free source of state and federal court opinions, state laws, and the United States Code. For more information about the legal concepts addressed by these cases and statutes visit FindLaw's Learn About the Law.