Category Archives: Motor Vehicle Law

18 Year Old Driver Dies Driving Lamborghini

Was Owner Liable to Estate for Negligent Entrustment?


            Samuel Shepard, who was 18 years old and had a driver’s license at the time, and his brother, Frank Shepard, saw the 2010 Lamborghini of Michael Power in the parking lot of a bar in Suffolk County. Upon exiting the bar, Power saw Samuel and Frank, both of whom he knew previously, admiring the Lamborghini. Thereafter, Power permitted Frank and then Samuel to drive the Lamborghini while Power was a passenger. While Samuel was driving, he lost control of the Lamborghini, which hit a guardrail, causing him to be ejected from the Lamborghini and to sustain injuries from which he ultimately died.

Maria Shepard, Samuel’s mother, filed a lawsuit against Power asserting causes of action alleging negligence, negligent entrustment, vicarious liability predicated on Vehicle and Traffic Law § 388, and wrongful death. Power moved to dismiss the third cause of action alleging vicarious liability predicated on VTL§ 388.  Supreme Court denied the motion and, in a prior appeal, the Court reversed so much of Supreme Court’s order as denied Power’s motion, holding that VTL § 388 did not permit a negligent driver, or the driver’s estate, to recover damages against the owner of a vehicle who permitted another to drive the vehicle for injuries resulting from the driver’s own negligence.

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Automobile Operator Killed Outside Vehicle By Hit & Run Driver

Was Absentee Car Owner’s Negligence Proximate Cause of Death

 Erika Michelle Strebel was operating a vehicle owned by Joseph Biamonte with his consent. The vehicle ran out of gas on Montauk Highway, a two-lane highway with a speed limit of 50 miles per hour. Strebel stopped the vehicle on the full asphalt shoulder, which was painted white at that location. Strebel was standing outside of the vehicle with a gas can when she was fatally struck by a pickup truck operated by a non-party, hit-and-run driver.

Stephen Biamonte, as administrator of Strebel’s estate, sued Joseph. Stephen alleged that Joseph knew that his vehicle had a malfunctioning gas gauge but nonetheless “allowed [Strebel]. . . to borrow and use” the vehicle. And further alleged that Joseph negligently failed to maintain the vehicle in proper working order and loaned the vehicle to Strebel while it was in a state of disrepair– and that negligence caused Strebel’s injuries.

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Operator Killed Outside Stalled Vehicle By Hit & Run Driver

Was Absentee Car Owner’s Negligence Proximate Cause of Death

 Erika Michelle Strebel was operating a vehicle owned by Joseph Biamonte with his consent. The vehicle ran out of gas on Montauk Highway, a two-lane highway with a speed limit of 50 miles per hour. Strebel stopped the vehicle on the full asphalt shoulder, which was painted white at that location. Strebel was standing outside of the vehicle with a gas can when she was fatally struck by a pickup truck operated by a non-party, hit-and-run driver.

Stephen Biamonte, as administrator of Strebel’s estate sued Joseph. Stephen alleged that Joseph knew that his vehicle had a malfunctioning gas gauge but nonetheless “allowed [Strebel]. . . to borrow and use” the vehicle. And further alleged that Joseph negligently failed to maintain the vehicle in proper working order and loaned the vehicle to Strebel while it was in a state of disrepair– and that negligence caused Strebel’s injuries.

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Passenger Injured When Car Skids Off Road During Snowstorm

Was Drive Liable or Exonerated From Liability For Negligence?


Most of the facts that surrounded the happening of a single vehicle accident were not disputed. Yvette Fall, a passenger, Ryan Detomi, the driver, and three other occupants of a 2007 Kia Sorento were all students at Cazenovia College which is located near Syracuse, New York. The accident occurred just after midnight on the morning of April 7, 2018. The night before the accident four of the five occupants performed in a theatrical production of the play “Rent” at the College, the fifth occupant was in the audience. After the performance, the five occupants traveled together in the vehicle to a party. They left the college at around 10 P.M. and arrived at the party at 10:30 or 11:00 P.M. At his deposition Ryan Detomi testified that when he got in his vehicle after the show it was “snowing, [with] very close to white-out conditions.”  And testified that it took him approximately 20 minutes to drive to the party. As they traveled to the party the weather was “mixed precipitation” and the road was “pitch black.” On his route the speed limit varied between 30 MPH to 55 MPH but Detomi drove at an approximate speed of 15 to 20 because of the weather conditions. The group reached the party safely.

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Son In Accident While Driving Father’s Car Without Permission

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Was Father Liable For Injury to Third Party?

Hugo Rodriguez sued Robin Sanchez and his father, Roman Sanchez. The undisputed facts were simple. Robin was driving his father’s van when he hit Rodriguez’s car. Robin claimed that Rodriguez rolled into his car, a claim which Rodriguez dismissed as patently false. Robin fled from the scene, only returning when Roman was able to reach him, after the police contacted his father.

Roman moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint as against him. The basis for Roman’s motion was that he claims that his son was driving the vehicle without his permission, such that he should not be liable for the accident pursuant to Vehicle and Traffic Law § 388.

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Trial Court Denies Application For Cellphone Of Driver Killed In Car Accident

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Appeals Court Decides If Access to Phone Should Be Granted

­­­Kristie R. Tousant filed a negligence action, individually and on behalf of her son, Anthony J. Farrell, seeking damages for injuries sustained by Farrell when the vehicle he was operating collided with a school bus. The bus was operated by John M. Aragona and owned by Central Square Central School District (CSCSD). The accident left Farrell in a vegetative state.

During discovery, Aragona and CSCSD moved for production of, and information from, Farrell’s cell phone, seeking to determine whether he was using the phone at or near the time of the accident. The Supreme Court denied the motion insofar as it sought production of the phone, but granted the motion to the extent it sought cell phone records from Farrell’s service provider. Aragona and CSCSD appealed.

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Motion for Summary Judgment on Liability in Rear End Collision Case

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Court Reviews Conflicting Affidavits and Analyzes Burden of Proof

Rear end automobile collision claims would seemingly raise quintessential questions of fact for trial—especially where the two drivers submit clearly conflicting and controverting affidavits about the facts and circumstances of the crash. But, as a recent decision illustrates, that is not always the case.

Stephanie Wilms was involved in a motor vehicle accident that occurred on March 2, 2018 at approximately 5:35 p.m. A vehicle owned by ADT Security Services, Inc. and Protection 1 Alarm Monitoring, Inc., and operated by Corteze C. Remy Jr., struck the rear of her car on Joshua’s Path at or near its intersection with Central Avenue, in Hauppauge, New York. Wilms contended that her vehicle was stopped at a stop sign when the Remy-driven vehicle struck the rear of her car. Wilms sought to recover for serious physical injuries that she claimed she sustained as a result of the accident.

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Intoxicated/Speeding Driver Crashes into Parked Tractor/Trailer

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Were Trucker, County, or Police Liable for Driver’s Death?

A negligence/wrongful death action arose from a motor vehicle accident in which decedent, Daniel Krehl, drove into the rear of a tractor trailer parked on the shoulder of Montauk Highway, Suffolk County, New York. William Siberio owned and operated the tractor trailer. The Estate sued Siberio, Suffolk County, the Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) and Police Officer Anthony W. Mills.

Siberio asserted that he was free from any liability and the sole proximate cause of the accident was due to Krehl’s speeding and driving while intoxicated at approximately 2:35 a.m., under foggy weather conditions.

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Go-Karter Injured When Bumped by Another Driver

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Was Track Operator Liable for the Injury?

Jasmine Serrano sued K1 Speed-N.Y. Inc. for injuries and damages at an indoor go kart racing facility. Serrano alleged that her injuries resulted from K1’s negligence, carelessness and recklessness, and failure to have adequate supervision and adequately trained staff.

K1 moved for summary judgment on the grounds that Serrano’s primary assumption of risk constituted a complete bar to recovery. K1 submitted the pleadings, Serrano’s bill of particulars and the deposition transcripts of Serrano, non-party Jesse Utarid, Bryan Boesch, and Jordan Greene on behalf of K1, the accident report, go-kart inspection log sheet, an assumption of risk and waiver signed by Serrano and K1’s track rules and safety information.

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Snowmobiler Intoxicated at Time of His Death in Crash:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Was Decedent “Visibly Intoxicated ”At Time He Was Served Drinks So As To Implicate Dram Act Liability?

The New York Alcoholic Beverage Law prohibits the sale of liquor to an intoxicated person. The Dram Shop Act creates a private civil cause of action against those who overserve drinks in favor of third-parties who suffer personal injuries as a result of a violation of the ABC Law. But to trigger Dram Shop liability a claimant must establish that the miscreant was “visibly intoxicated”—a fact and case specific burden.

Michael Stanley, Thomas Kelly, and five other men met at the home of Thomas and Jillian Kelly on March 17, 2017; the group left the Kelly’s home, with Stanley driving a snowmobile owned by the Kelly’s; the group stopped at the Boonville Hotel, Inc. and consumed alcohol there; and after leaving the Hotel the group got gas and began the return trip to the Kelly’s home. At that point, Stanley drove the snowmobile into a concrete overpass, resulting in his death. The autopsy report indicated the cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries due to snowmobile accident with a fixed object. The toxicology report showed Stanley had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .16%. The Oneida County Sheriff’s Department concluded that speed and alcohol were the two biggest contributing factors to the single snowmobile accident.

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