Lopez-Viola v. Duell
Justice Leslie Stein
Lopez-Viola appealed from an order granting St. Amour defendants summary judgment dismissing the complaint against them. In this negligence action, plaintiff sought to recover damages for personal injuries he sustained as a passenger a car owned by the Duells. Kristen Duell pleaded guilty to a violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law §1141 for failing to yield the right of way to St. Amour. Supreme Court granted defendants' motion and dismissed the complaint, finding plaintiff's expert's assertions were not credible and that Duell was the sole proximate cause of the accident. This court reversed, noting while Supreme Court correctly determined defendants met their initial burden of showing entitlement to judgment, Duell's and plaintiff's submissions were sufficient to defeat defendants' motion for summary judgment as the parties' conflicting versions of the events, and the contrary expert opinions demonstrated the existence of questions of fact. The court noted while Duell's guilty plea was evidence of her negligence, it did not preclude the existence of a fact issue as to defendant's comparative fault.