Estate of Santiago v. Santiago, 2022-50335

CourtNew York Civil Court
Writing for the CourtHON. ASHLEE CRAWFORD, J.C.C.
PartiesEstate of Carmen Santiago by its Administrator Reinaldo Santiago, Plaintiff, v. Pablo Santiago, Juan Escano and RJ Lease Management Corp., Defendants.
Docket Number2022-50335,Index TS-300285-19
Decision Date02 May 2022

Estate of Carmen Santiago by its Administrator Reinaldo Santiago, Plaintiff,
v.

Pablo Santiago, Juan Escano and RJ Lease Management Corp., Defendants.

No. 2022-50335

Index No. TS-300285-19

Civil Court of the City of New York, Bronx County

May 2, 2022


Unpublished Opinion

HON. ASHLEE CRAWFORD, J.C.C.

Recitation as Required by CPLR §2219(a):

The following papers were read on this Motion in Limine. Papers Numbered:

Plaintiff's Motion in Limine in Support of Preclusion 1

Defendants Juan Escano and RJ Lease Management Corp.'s Affirmation in Opposition and Exhibits 2

Defendant Pablo Santiago's Affirmation in Opposition and Exhibits 3

For the reasons discussed herein, the motion in limine by plaintiff Estate of Carmen Santiago to preclude the testimony of defendants' expert witness, biomechanical engineer Arkady Voloshin, Ph.D., or in the alternative for a Frye hearing, is denied.

The Estate asserts a claim for personal injuries allegedly sustained by now-deceased Carmen Santiago ("Carmen") in a motor vehicle accident occurring on January 6, 2014. Carmen was a front seat passenger in a vehicle driven by her son, defendant Pablo Santiago, that was in a collision with a second vehicle driven by defendant Juan Escano, and registered to defendant RJ Lease Management Corp. One issue to be addressed at trial is whether the collision caused Carmen's injuries.

Preclusion of Expert Testimony

As a threshold matter, the Court rejects defendants' assertion that the motion in limine is untimely (cf. Sadek v. Wesley, 117 A.D.3d 193, 203 [1st Dept 2014][motion in limine served on day jury was empaneled tantamount to "ambush"]; see also Uniform Civil Rules for the Supreme Court & the County Court, Rule 27 ["[t]he parties shall make all motions in limine no later than ten days prior to the scheduled pre-trial conference date, and the motions shall be returnable on the date of the pre-trial conference, unless otherwise directed by the court"]).

On the merits, the Estate cites various grounds upon which it contends Voloshin's testimony should be precluded. First, because Voloshin is not a medical doctor, the Estate insists he is not legally qualified to opine as to the causation of Carmen's injuries. However, appellate courts have soundly rejected that position (see Vargas v. Sabri, 115 A.D.3d 505 [1st Dept 2014] [biomechanical engineer's lack of medical training did not render him unqualified to provide expert opinion that force of...

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