Advertising Disclosure Email Disclosure

New York Court of Appeals clarifies case law on comparative negligence and summary judgment.

July 1, 2018
Rodriguez v. City of New York, 2018 NY Slip Op 02287 (2018)

The New York Court of Appeals decided “a question that has perplexed courts for some time.”; whether a plaintiff must show the absence of their own comparative negligence to obtain partial summary judgment on liability. The court held that the plaintiff does not need to make this showing. While the plaintiff was installing snow chains on trucks, another worker improperly guided a truck into the garage, which struck and injured the plaintiff. The lower court held that the defendant was negligent. But the court did not award summary judgment to the plaintiff on the issue of liability because the plaintiff did not show that he was free from comparative fault. The Court of Appeals discussed New York’s pure comparative negligence statute, which states that a plaintiff’s contributory negligence shall not bar recovery, but only reduce the amount of damages. The majority and dissent disagreed over prior case law, statutory interpretation of the comparative negligence scheme, and practical benefits or disadvantages to either outcome. It remains to be seen whether this decision will cause more plaintiffs to move for summary judgment, knowing that they can obtain it even if they were also at fault.


Case Law Alerts, 3rd Quarter, July 2018

Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2018 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.

Affiliated Attorney

Adam C. Calvert
(212) 376-6414

Practice Areas

Before you send this email please note:

You are attempting to send email, through a link on our website, to an attorney of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin or an employee in our firm. Please note that your email may not be treated as confidential and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely upon the transmission of an email through this website if you are seeking to enter into such a relationship. Until such time as we have agreed to represent you, no information in your email will be treated as confidential. Please contact us directly by telephone at 1.800.220.3308 if it is your intent to seek legal counsel with our firm or convey confidential information.

If it is still your intent to send this email, knowing that it may not be treated as confidential, you may accept our terms of agreement by pressing "OK". If you choose not to accept these terms of agreement you may navigate away from this page by pressing "Cancel."