Yosi Trans v. Toyota Motor Credit
Judge Harriet Thompson
Durango-Neves entered into a lease with DMT Automotive Enterprise, and the lease was assigned to Toyota Motor Credit (TMC). Durango-Neves was involved in a two-car collision, and Yosi Trans claimed Durango-Neves' negligent operation of her vehicle caused property damage to its vehicle. Yosi claimed it did not contribute to the accident. TMC denied all allegations of negligence and asserted an affirmative defense of federal pre-emption under the Graves Amendment barring state vicarious liability actions against professional lessors and renters of motor vehicles. TMC moved for dismissal of the complaint. Yosi argued the certificate of conformity was defective as it failed to comply with CPLR 2309(c), but the court stated such failure was not fatal as a mere defect in form may be given nunc pro tunc effect once properly acknowledged. The court also rejected Yosi's argument that TMC failed to submit admissible evidence showing it was free from negligence, noting courts repeatedly dismissed complaints where a plaintiff sought discovery to create a cause of action instead of complaints that stated a cause of action. It ruled TMC established entitlement to the protections of the Graves Amendment, granting it dismissal.