Dominguez v. Algieri, 2020-34863

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (New York)
Writing for the CourtHON. JOSEPH FARNETI ACTING JUSTICE
PartiesOMAR DOMINGUEZ, Plaintiff, v. VICTORIA L. ALGIERI and STEVEN ALGIERI, Defendants.
Decision Date26 August 2020
Docket Number2020-34863,Index 618458/2017

OMAR DOMINGUEZ, Plaintiff,
v.

VICTORIA L. ALGIERI and STEVEN ALGIERI, Defendants.

No. 2020-34863

Index No. 618458/2017

Supreme Court, Suffolk County

August 26, 2020


Unpublished Opinion

ORIG. RETURN DATE: JUNE 18, 2020

FINAL SUBMISSION DATE: AUGUST 6, 2020

MTN. SEQ. #: 001

PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY:

HARMON, UNDER & ROGOWSKY

ATTORNEY FOR DEFENDANTS:

SCAHILL LAW GROUP P.C.

1065 STEWART AVENUE

PRESENT HON. JOSEPH FARNETI ACTING JUSTICE

HON. JOSEPH FARNETI ACTING JUSTICE

Upon the E-file document list numbered 13 to 29 read on defendants' application for an Order, pursuant to CPLR 3212, granting them summary judgment on the issue of liability; it is

ORDERED that defendants' motion for an Order, pursuant to CPLR 3212, for summary judgment due to the plaintiffs failure to prove a prima facie case of liability against the moving defendants, Victoria L. Algieri and Steven Algieri, is hereby GRANTED for the reasons set forth herein.

Plaintiff Omar Dominguez commenced this action by the filing of a summons and complaint on September 22, 2017, to recover damages for personal injuries he allegedly sustained in a motor vehicle accident that occurred at approximately 11:50 p.m. on December 11, 2016, at the intersection of Horseblock Road and Granny Road in Suffolk County, New York. Plaintiff alleges

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that he was riding a pedal-operated bicycle in the street when the accident occurred. Issue was joined on November 14, 2017. Plaintiff thereafter filed an amended complaint on November 6, 2019, and defendants served their answer on November 21, 2019. Upon the completion of discovery, a Compliance Conference Order was issued on March 12, 2020. Defendants now move for summary judgment on the issue of liability on the grounds that they were not negligent and were free from all fault in the accident. In support of their motion, defendants submit an attorney affirmation, a certified police accident report, the pleadings, and the deposition transcript of defendant Steven Algieri ("Algieri"). Plaintiff opposes the motion and submits an attorney affirmation, portions of his deposition transcript, a copy of the police report code sheet, and plaintiffs verified bill of particulars. Defendants reply by attorney affirmation and include a complete transcript of plaintiffs deposition testimony.

Algieri testified at his deposition that on December 11, 2016, he was traveling west on Horseblock Road in the right hand lane when the accident occurred at the intersection of Granny Road. Algieri testified that Horseblock Road is a two-way street with two traveling lanes for traffic heading west and east, Granny Road is a two-way street with one traveling lane, and that the intersection is governed by a traffic signal. Algieri further testified that the traffic signal at the intersection was solid green in the direction of his travel as he approached and entered the intersection. Algieri further testified that he was looking straight ahead and traveling 20-25 miles per hour when he approached the intersection. Algieri further testified that, as he was proceeding westbound through the intersection, with a green light still in his favor, plaintiff "popped out of nowhere" and came directly in front of his moving vehicle. Algieri further testified that he applied his brakes but was unable to avoid contact with plaintiffs bicycle. Algieri testified that plaintiff was wearing all dark clothes and there were no lights on his bicycle.

Plaintiff testified at his deposition that prior to the accident he was traveling on the shoulder of Horse Block Road and was going to make a left turn onto Granny Road. Plaintiff testified that when he entered the intersection the light in his direction of travel was green. Plaintiff further testified that prior to the accident, he was making a left turn onto Granny Road in order to arrive at the church, which was approximately 500 feet north of Horseblock Road. Plaintiff further testified that prior to the accident, the headlight on his bicycle was not on, his cellular phone was playing music loudly, and he had consumed eight or nine "small" Modelo beers and smoked marijuana.

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Summary judgment is a drastic remedy and should only be granted in the absence of any triable issues of fact (see Rotuba Extruders, Inc. v Ceppos, 46 N.Y.2d 223, 413 N.Y.S.2d 141 [1978]; Andre v Pomeroy, 35 N.Y.2d 361, 362 N.Y.S.2d 131 [1974]). The proponent of a summary judgment motion must make a prima facie showing of entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, tendering sufficient evidence to eliminate any material issue of fact (see Alvarez v Prospect Hosp., 68 N.Y.2d 320, 508 N.Y.S.2d 923 [1986]; Winegrad v New York Univ. Med. Ctr., 64 N.Y.2d 851, 487 N.Y.S.2d 316 [1985]). The burden then shifts to the party opposing the motion which must produce evidentiary proof in admissible form sufficient to require a trial of the material issues of fact (Roth v Barreto, 289 A.D.2d 557, 735 N.Y.S.2d 197 [2d Dept 2001]; Rebecchi v Whitmore, 172 A.D.2d 600, 568 N.Y.S.2d 423 [2d Dept 1991]; O'Neill v Town of Fishkill, 134 A.D.2d 487, 521 N.Y.S.2d 272 [2d Dept 1987]). To defeat a motion for summary judgment, a party opposing such motion must lay bare his proof in evidentiary form; conclusory allegations are insufficient to raise a triable issue of fact (see Friends of Animals, Inc. v Associated Fur Mfrs., 46 N.Y.2d 1065, 416 N.Y.S.2d 790; Burns v City of Poughkeepsie, 293 A.D.2d 435, 739 N.Y.S.2d 458 [2d Dept 2002]). A motion for summary judgment should be denied where the facts are in dispute, where conflicting inferences may be drawn from the evidence, or where there are issues of credibility (see Chimbo v Bolivar, supra; Benetatos v Comerford, 78 A.D.3d 730, 911 N.Y.S.2d 155 [2d Dept 2010]).

Pursuant to Vehicle and Traffic law § 1231, "every person riding a bicycle ... upon a roadway shall be ... subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle...." Thus, a bicyclist is held to the same duty of care as an operator of a motor vehicle and must comply with all provisions of the Vehicle and Traffic Law (see Palma v Sherman, 55 A.D.3d 891, 867 N.Y.S.2d 111 [2d Dept 2008]). Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1141 requires that "[t]he driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an...

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