Supreme Court, Bronx County grants summary judgment on proximate cause in traffic signal case.

Jan 2019

Supreme Court, Bronx County granted summary judgment to the City of New York and Welsbach Electric Corp. in a motor vehicle case in which it was alleged that the traffic signals, which were out due to a power outage at the time, contributed to the accident. The plaintiff was claiming significant personal injuries. The Court found that the malfunctioning traffic signal was not the proximate cause of the accident where both drivers were aware of the signal being out and the consequent need to exercise caution. The Court found that any alleged breach by the City or Welsbach in allowing a dangerous condition to exist was not the proximate cause of the accident. Rather than find a question of fact as to Welsbach’s or the City’s negligence, the Court determined that evidence of negligence is not enough to establish liability and that the plaintiff had failed to prove that the negligence was the proximate cause of the event. As the proximate cause of the accident was the actions of the drivers and not the condition of the traffic signals, summary judgment was awarded and the matter was dismissed as to the City of New York and Welsbach.