Orange County Supreme Court Dismisses Multimillion-dollar Transportation Suit
Case Study

Orange County Supreme Court Dismisses Multimillion-dollar Transportation Suit

October 16, 2020

The Orange County Supreme Court has granted summary judgment dismissing a potentially multimillion-dollar transportation-related lawsuit brought by a plaintiff who had been injured in a collision while employed by the New York State Thruway Authority.

The plaintiff in this matter was contracted to perform general plumbing services for the Thruway Authority, such as fixing water leaks and changing filters on ice machines at commercial properties. On October 3, 2014, the defendants in the matter rear-ended the plaintiff while he was operating a van on behalf of the Thruway Authority, causing approximately $392 worth of damage to the van. Following the accident, the plaintiff missed three weeks from work due to injuries he allegedly sustained in the accident. Two years later, he claimed he could no longer work and remained out of work with the NYS Thruway Authority until November 22, 2017. The plaintiff brought a lawsuit demanding $1.5 million in damages related to alleged past pain and suffering, future pain and suffering, medical treatment, and lost wages.

Goldberg Segalla’s Adam R. Dolan, a partner in the firm’s Trucking and Transportation group, argued that objective medical testing, including diagnostic tests and nerve conduction studies, revealed no traumatically induced injuries. He pointed out the diagnostic test results that revealed degenerative issues within the plaintiff’s cervical and lumbar spine pre-dated the accident. He also noted that the plaintiff continued to work at his private HVAC company, Absolute Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing, Inc., following the accident, including after he claimed he could no longer work for the Thruway Authority.

After discovery, Adam moved for summary judgment, arguing that New York State Insurance Law Section 5102(d), which governs motor vehicle accidents, requires the plaintiff to suffer a serious injury to proceed with his case. Out of the nine categories available and based on the statutory definitions, discovery responses, and testimony, Adam demonstrated the plaintiff immediately failed to meet the requirements for seven of the nine categories. He then used the medical records to establish the plaintiff failed to meet the requirements for the last two categories available, showing that the plaintiff did not suffer a permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or a significant limitation of use of a body function or system. After an oral argument in early September, the judge issued his ruling on October 8, 2020, granting our motion for summary judgment.


 

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