In an action brought before the New York State Court of Claims, Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria represented a motorcyclist who sued the State of New York to recover monetary compensation for injuries he sustained when a state-owned vehicle driven by a state employee pulled out in front of him at an intersection. To avoid a crash, the motorcyclist braked and swerved, causing the motorcycle to tip over. Because he had the right of way and the state employee was subject to a stop sign, the motorcyclist sought an order from the trial court declaring that the state was 100% responsible for the accident. The motorcyclist submitted evidence that he was going about 50 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone, and that when he was within 25 feet of the intersection the state employee suddenly pulled out in front of him, forcing the motorcyclist to brake, swerve, and lay his bike down to avoid a collision.
The motorcyclist’s motion for a judgment as to the state’s liability was denied by the Court of Claims, which concluded that a factual question existed as to whether he could have done something more to avoid the accident. On the motorcyclist’s behalf, Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria appealed that decision to the New York State Appellate Division, Fourth Department, which sits in Rochester. John A. Collins, a senior partner at Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria, represented the motorcyclist in the appeal. On June 19, 2015, the Fourth Department ruled in favor of Mr. Collins’s client and reversed the lower court’s decision. During the appeal, the state again asserted that the motorcyclist did not do enough to avoid the accident, but the court disagreed, saying that the state’s argument was “based on speculation and is insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment.” Because of this, the appellate court reversed the Court of Claims’ decision and granted an order declaring that the state was 100% liable for the motorcyclist’s injuries. The case was then sent back to the lower court for a trial determining the amount of compensation the state had to pay.
About John A. Collins
John A. Collins is a senior partner in the Accidents and Personal Injury department at Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria. He practices in the areas of Civil Appellate and Motion Practice. Mr. Collins has argued appeals before several courts, including the New York Court of Appeals, all four departments of the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second and Third Circuits.
This article does not purport to give legal advice and is for informational purposes only.