Trial Court Should Have Denied Defendant’s Renewal Motion in Rear-End Collision Case

In Joplin v. City of New York, the First Department unanimously reversed the trial court’s decision which granted defendants’ motion to renew plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of liability and, upon renewal, denied plaintiff’s motion.

Initially, the trial court “granted plaintiff’s motion based on the undisputed evidence that plaintiff’s car was stopped at an intersection when it was hit in the rear by defendants’ vehicle.”

The First Department held that the trial court should have denied defendant’s motion for renewal; “[t]he purported new evidence consisting of plaintiff’s deposition testimony did not warrant a different outcome.”

It cited Renteria v Simakov, 109 AD3d 749 [1st Dept 2013] (which I wrote about here) for the proposition that “[a] rear-end collision with a stopped vehicle is prima facie evidence of negligence on part of the operator of the moving vehicle.” Here, “[d]efendants’ evidence that plaintiff’s vehicle suddenly stopped was insufficient to raise an issue of fact with respect to their liability.”

The court rejected defendants’ argument that two 2012 First Department decisions “represent a change in the law that would have affected the outcome of the motion” since “both cases were decided before Renteria.”

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