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Wilder Obtains Summary Judgment in Wrongful Death Case

November 7, 2019

Ellyn Wilder (Partner-New York) obtained summary judgment on behalf of our client construction company and its driver in a wrongful death action brought by the administrator of the decedent’s estate. At approximately 6:00 a.m. our driver was en route to his construction job in a vehicle owned by his employer, when he struck the decedent. Our client first noticed the decedent when she was in the middle lane, heading toward his lane of travel. He could not swerve left as there was a guardrail, and thus slammed on his brakes the moment he observed the decedent. We established that the decedent was intoxicated per our expert toxicologist’s affidavit, and further that the decedent’s actions of walking onto a highway and into the driver’s vehicle was the proximate cause of the incident. In opposition, plaintiff’s counsel submitted an affidavit of an expert accident reconstructionist who opined that the driver was travelling 62 mph in a 50 mph zone, and had he not been “speeding” would have had time to avoid the impact. The court agreed with our experts’ affidavits and our arguments that plaintiff’s opposition was conclusory and speculative, and there was nothing the driver could have done to avoid the incident, as the decedent was the sole proximate cause of the impact.

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