Beating Summary Judgment in a New York Court: NY Litigation Basics

Here is a perfect example of how a skilled and proactive New York attorney can use proactive strategy to resolve a dispute in a New York court.  When you have more than one potential defendants, you can pit one against the other to maximize your position and prevail in a summary judgment motion and prevail in reaching a settlement for your client.  The following issue involves a motor vehicle accident, however, the same strategy may be used to prevail in business disputes in New York.
My client, a front seat passenger in a motor vehicle, did not have a complete memory of the incident.  All he knew was that he was injured in a car accident, thus, his testimony was not able to collaborate the story of the driver in the car she was in or the driver of the other car.  
My client was sitting in the front seat of a vehicle driven by a young relative.  While traveling, this vehicle collided with a car driven by a third party.  The impact was so severe that my client was knocked unconscious.  She had no memory until the paramedics removed her from the twisted vehicle.
The driver of the other vehicle contended that she did nothing wrong and that the fault was with the other driver.  The driver of the vehicle my client was in moved for summary judgment in a New York court.
New York Summary judgment motions are the gateway to moving from discovery to preparing for trial.
When faced with a motion for summary judgment, the Court must decide whether there is a genuine factual issue (Richard v. Credit Suisse, 242 N.Y. 346, 152 N.E. 110 (1926))  To beat the motion, normally lawyers should show a triable issue of fact.
The challenge laid out was clear – prove a triable issue of fact.  To do that,  I would need to defeat this summary judgment motion to not only keep his relative in the matter, but more importantly, to keep her insurance company – and its greater coverage –  in it as well.  To do so, I pitted driver against driver.
The driver of the vehicle my client was in claimed, among other things, that the other driver was travelling down the wrong side of the road.  However, the other driver claimed this was not the case. Thus, we have two drivers claiming different stories, thus, we have a fact in dispute that is material to the matter.
The divergent stories made the decision easy for the Judge, who held that “significant issues of fact exist[ed] sufficient to require a plenary trial” based upon “the parties’ conflicting testimony concerning how the accident occurred.”
But, this matter would never see trial in a New York court, as this ruling strengthened our negotiating posture and resulted in a settlement.

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