James Walsh recently obtained summary judgment in favor of his client, Welsbach Electric Corp. (“Welsbach”), in a case arising out of an automobile accident in Bronx County. Plaintiff’s suit alleged that the City was negligent in its ownership and maintenance of the intersection’s traffic. The City commenced a third party action against Welsbach, the City’s maintenance contractor. Plaintiff’s settlement demand was over $3 million since he had treated with nearly fifty doctors over a span of ten years.
It was undisputed that the traffic signals governing the intersection were not functioning properly at the time of the collision. However, London Fischer used the drivers’ deposition testimony that they knew the traffic signals were not working, stopped prior to proceeding into the intersection, and did not rely on the intersection’s traffic signals in deciding when to proceed. As a result of this favorable testimony, London Fischer filed for summary judgment. The City also moved for summary judgment and adopted Welsbach’s arguments wholesale in its cross-motion.
In granting summary judgment to both Welsbach and the City, the Supreme Court, Bronx County found that since the drivers were admittedly aware of the non-functioning traffic signal and took precautions before proceeding into the intersection, the non-functioning traffic signal was not the proximate cause of the accident.