Defendants in New York personal injury cases often attempt to prevent a case from going to trial by moving for summary judgment. To succeed in a motion for summary judgment, the defendant must show that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. To make this showing, the defendant must establish that there is no triable issue of fact. Generally, a defendant’s motion for summary judgment should not be granted if there is conflicting evidence that speaks to an element of the claim.
In the recent case of Davidson v. New York City Transit Authority, the defendant moved for summary judgment despite its own driver’s inconsistent testimony about the accident. The plaintiff was injured when she fell as she exited a city bus, and she sued the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA). The NYCTA moved for summary judgment, arguing that it had not breached its duty to provide the plaintiff with a safe place to exit the bus.
New York case law has held that a common carrier, like a city bus, must stop at a safe place for its passengers to enter and exit the vehicle. The common carrier may be liable if the driver stops the bus in a location that requires the passenger to cross a dangerous or defective path to board or exit the bus. Even if the driver stops at an unsafe location, the common carrier may not be liable if the driver did not know of the dangerous condition.