Plaintiff Wins Summary Judgment in Pedestrian Knockdown Case

In¬†Castiglione v. Kruse – a personal injury/car accident/pedestrian knockdown case – the Appellate Division, Second Department reversed the lower court and granted the injured pedestrian-plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability.

The injured plaintiff was struck by defendants’ vehicle, which was making a left turn from Keith Lane to proceed eastbound on Montauk Highway.

In reaching its decision, the court explained:

The deposition testimony of the injured plaintiff and a nonparty witness established that prior to entering the roadway, the injured plaintiff waited for the traffic light controlling the east-west traffic on Montauk Highway to turn red, then looked to her left and right, and, seeing no cars, started to walk southbound across Montauk Highway. The testimony further established that the injured plaintiff traversed the westbound left-turn lane, and while in the eastbound lane of Montauk Highway, having almost completed crossing, was struck by the defendants’ vehicle, which had turned left from Keith Lane to proceed east on Montauk Highway. Significantly, this testimony established that, prior to the impact, [the defendant driver]¬†started her approach to the point of impact from behind and to the right of the injured plaintiff, that is, from behind the injured plaintiff’s right shoulder and out of her view. The defendant driver conceded in her deposition testimony that she did not see the injured plaintiff prior to impact, despite the fact, established by her own testimony, that the injured plaintiff was generally in front of her prior to the impact. Under these circumstances, the plaintiffs established that the defendant driver was negligent and that the injured plaintiff was free from comparative fault. (Emphasis added.)

Defendants failed to raise a triable issue of fact in opposition, and was unpersuaded by “defendants’ unsupported speculation that the injured plaintiff was comparatively at fault.”

Furthermore, in distinguishing the cases cited by the dissent, the court noted the “important fact” that “defendants’ vehicle was coming from a direction which was largely behind the injured plaintiff, and to her right, prior to the impact.”

The court additionally explained that

[t]he dissent’s determination that the defendant driver had already completed the turn at the point of impact also does not comport with the police accident report, which indicates that the injured plaintiff was struck by the driver side door of a vehicle at an angle approaching from behind and to the right of the injured plaintiff, or the affidavit of the nonparty witness who also indicated that the defendant driver’s vehicle was making a left turn when it struck the injured plaintiff.

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