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.

Continue reading

Newhouse “Bucked” Off Horse While Riding at Chase Meadow

Who Was Liable to Newhouse For Her Equestrian- Related Injuries?

Stephanie Kelly-Newhouse sued Chase Meadows Farm, LLC, Martini & Associates LLC and Rhianon LLC for damages for personal injuries she sustained  while riding her horse in an outside ring on the equestrian facility owned by Chase Meadows and leased to Rhiannon, with which she boarded her horse. Newhouse alleged that she fell off her horse, which was allegedly spooked by objects allegedly being thrown off a building owned by Chase Meadows on which Martini was allegedly performing work.  All of the defendants made motions for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

In support of its motion, Martini offered the deposition testimonies of the parties. Newhouse testified that she was boarding one of her horses at Chase Meadows for about a month prior to the accident. Rhiannon was running the equestrian program at Chase Meadows. While she was riding the horse in the ring, an unknown roofer that she could not identify, purportedly threw building debris off the roof while she was on the horse, which made a very loud sound, causing the horse to be startled and to leap sideways.

Continue reading

Owner Files/Withdraws Action for Access to Adjoining Parcel

Was Neighbor Entitled to Legal/Architectural Fees Incurred?             

Somchai Ngamwajasat and Ladda Ngamwajasat made a motion for an order granting them summary judgment on the issue of their counterclaim against West End Ave Development LLC for reimbursement of professional fees they incurred relating to (i) the negotiations with West End for a license agreement for temporary access to their home located 71 West End Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, and (ii) their opposition to West End’s action under RPAPL 881.

Ted Kalavesios, West End’s counsel, sent an e-mail to Joanna C. Peck, of the law firm of Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.,  counsel for Somchai N. and Ladda N., advising of his intention to withdraw the petition for the RPAPL 881 license. The exact message was as follows:

Continue reading

Richard Sued Kenneth (His Brother) Over Transfer of Property By Jean (Their Mother)

Court Determines If Sibling Procured Transfer of Land by Fraud and Undue Influence.

Richard Crawford, as administrator, sued his brother, Kenneth Smith, and alleged that a deed purportedly conveying certain real property from the parties’ mother, Jean T. Smith, to Kenneth was procured by fraud and undue influence. Jean  died prior to the commencement of this action. The deed purportedly conveyed a fee interest in the real property to Kenneth, subject to  Jean’s retention  of a life estate in the property. After certain motion practice, the first cause of action, sounding in conversion, was dismissed.

Continue reading

Pawnshop Ticket Showed (Non-Usurious) 3.71% Interest Rate

Did Phantom “Insurance Fee” Render Interest Rate Usurious?

Craig Frost sought a judgment against Collateral Partners, LLC declaring that a loan agreement between the parties was usurious. Supreme Court granted the motion of CPL for summary judgment declaring that the loan agreement was not usurious. Frost appealed.

In February 2018, Frost obtained a loan from CPL, a licensed collateral loan broker, in the gross sum of $186,000. The loan agreement was reduced to a writing in the form of a pawn ticket. The ticket provided that CPL imposed two fees in the total sum of $5,300, which consisted of an insurance fee in the sum of $2,800 and an “Extra Care” fee in the sum of $2,500, resulting in a net payment to Frost in the sum of $180,700. The ticket also provided that the monthly interest rate was 3.71% of the net amount of the loan, and that Frost was required to make minimum monthly interest payments in the sum of $6,700, commencing in March 2018. In February 2020, Frost defaulted on his loan payments.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Non-Compliant Home Improvement Contract Not Enforceable

Could Contractor Nevertheless Seek Damages For Value Of Services?

In a small claim action, Richard Chapman d/b/a Chapman Construction sought  the recovery of $2,999.99 for breach of contract by  Cheryl Davis and Heather Kunkel– who appeared and entered a general denial. The matter proceeded to trial at the first appearance. Each of the parties testified, cross-examined each other and presented documentary evidence to the court.

On or about September 15, 2021, Davis and Kunkel hired Chapman to perform a basement renovation at their home. Chapman drafted a written contract which he signed together with Kunkel.. The contract contained a general outline of the work to be performed, as well as a payment schedule.

Continue reading

Simmons Alleged That Forged Deed Gave Bell Title to Real Property in Queens

Was Motion to Dismiss Properly Denied– Was Suit Time-Barred?

Bessie Rogers ( Derrick Simmons’ decedent)  acquired title to real property located in Queens in 1987. Simmons started an action, pursuant to RPAPL article 15,  to quiet title to the property and for a judgment declaring that a deed allegedly executed in 1998 by Rogers, which gave Alfred Bell and others an interest in the property, was forged and was, therefore, void.  Simmons also sought to recover the proceeds of a subsequent sale of the property in 2007, of which Bell allegedly took possession, and was not entitled to on account of the forged deed.

Bell moved to dismiss the complaint as barred by the statute of limitations. Supreme Court denied the motion. Bell appealed.

Continue reading

Easement for Ingress/ Egress For Benefit of Neighboring Property in Brooklyn

Was Easement Extinguished/Abandoned After Adjoining Owner Built a Brick Wall?

In 1949, certain real property in Brooklyn, known as the Marte Property, was converted to an automobile repair shop. A new certificate of occupancy was issued based upon a letter of approval by the New York City Fire Department dated March 15, 1949. The new facility included a rear door, leading to an easement of record over the adjoining real property, known as the Boerum property, for ingress and egress.

On February 17, 1987, the Marte property was conveyed to Emenegilda Marte. Shortly thereafter, the owner of the Boerum property erected a brick wall, topped by a metal fence, which blocked the easement. However, the owner of the Boerum property provided access in an area adjacent to the easement through a gate and gave the occupiers of the Marte property a key to that gate. The automobile repair shop was altered by removing a 10-foot-wide door which provided access to the easement and replacing the door with a narrower door which served as a fire exit.

Continue reading