Category Archives: Motor Vehicle Law

“Wrong Way” Biker Hits “Jay-Walker” on E. 55th: NY Law and NYC Reg Collide Btw. Lex. and Third

This originally appeared on the SGR Blog.

A deliveryman drives his  bicycle against traffic on a one way street.  A pedestrian crosses in the middle of the block. The biker hits the jay- walker. Litigation ensues. Both violated the law.  Who is at fault?

Antoinette Montague was struck by an employee  of T&W Restaurant, Inc. while he was making deliveries on a bicycle. The employee was riding the bike against the one-way direction of travel on East 55th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues– a violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law.

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Loss of a New York City Parking Space Is Not A Laughing Matter: Ask Alec Baldwin

This was originally published on the SGR blog.

Saturday Night Live comedian Alec Baldwin engaged in a shoving match with Wojciech Cieszkowski over a mid-town New York parking space. The result was not a laughing matter. Baldwin was criminally charged and pled guilty to harassment in the second degree.

But that was only the beginning. Cieszkowski sued Baldwin for assault, battery, legal fees and slander per se. In addressing a motion to dismiss the slander claim, the Court took a jurisprudential “deep dive” into the law of defamation, slander ( in general) and slander per se (in particular).

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I cannot recall why and when I first started collecting the articles about motorcycle accidents; however, over time, I realized that lawsuits arising from such claims are very common (in retrospect, for obvious reasons, the inherent danger and risk of riding a motorcycle).  The causes raise a broad panoply of issues including proximate cause, helmet design and manufacture; and road and intersection signage and speed limits.  A few recent examples follow:

Caro v. Chesnick, 2017 NY Slip Op 07940 (1st Dept., November 14, 2017)

Supreme Court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

The First Department briefly described the facts:

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As we enter the last month of summer, bike riding is on many of our “to do” lists.

Accidents and incidents involving bicycle riding are a fertile source of often complicated and protracted litigation – raising a broad panoply of issues relating, among many others, to the duty of care; violation of the Vehicle and Traffic law; the right of way; and the obligation to maintain public highways, streets and roads.  Several recent examples follow:

Gami v. Cornell Univ., 2018 NY Slip Op 04812 (App. Div 3rd Dept. June 28, 2018) Continue reading

Parking Ticket “Nitpicking”

Even as a “seasoned” (NYU Law ‘69) commercial litigator, I am often surprised by the finite  issues that are subject both to a trial court disposition and, also, to  a subsequent appellate adjudication. A recent decision by the Appellate Division, involving parking violations, falls into that category of (to me) unusually demarcated legal proceedings.  Matter of Nestle Waters North America, Inc. v. City of New York, 2014 NY Slip Op 05609 (1st Dept. July 31, 2014).

Nestle Waters was a “hybrid class action for Article 78 relief, declaratory judgment, injunctive relief and remission of fines unlawfully imposed seeking to, inter alia, annul the determination of respondent Appeals Board of Parking Violations Bureau of the City of New York (The Board).” Continue reading


When is an object in motion not in motion?  The Section 1225-2.c “conundrum” and other VTL issues

Section 1225-c.2.(a) of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, that took effect in late 2001, simply  and clearly states that: 

“Except as otherwise provided in this section, no person shall operate a motor vehicle upon a public highway while using a mobile telephone to engage in a call  while such vehicle is in motion.”

                         Like so many other statutes and areas of the law, the facial simplicity and clarity of the V&TL provision has nevertheless triggered  a “tsunami” of litigation that has dissected, analyzed and examined almost every word and phrase of the statute. Continue reading