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All three plaintiffs’ claims dismissed via summary judgment in auto case: Court finds no “serious injury” to meet “no-fault” threshold

Claudia P. Jimenez, individually and as Parent of Harold Serrano, an infant over the age of 14 years and Maria C. Rodriguez v. Natalia Gubinski and Peter Gubinski, 09-CV-5645 (S.D.N.Y. 2012)

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On January 30, 2012, United States Magistrate Judge Frank Maas issued a 26-page Memorandum Decision and Order granting summary judgment in favor of the AGF&J clients, holding that the objectively documented injuries sustained by the three plaintiffs did not meet the no-fault threshold for “serious injury” as defined by New York Insurance Law §5102(d).

The action arose out of a 2007 auto accident on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge, involving the Connecticut defendants and New York plaintiffs. Sitting in diversity jurisdiction, the Court entertained the defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the ground that the plaintiffs’ injuries did not constitute “serious injury” as defined by Insurance Law § 5102(d). Under that statute, a person covered by “no-fault” insurance may maintain a personal injury action against another covered person and recover damages for economic loss (i.e., pain and suffering) only if there has been a demonstration of a “serious injury.”

Partner Irwin D. Miller and Associate Dennis J. Monaco built an overwhelming evidentiary record, including examinations and reports of an orthopedic surgeon, a neurologist, and a radiologist, to defeat claims that the plaintiffs had suffered a “permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member” or a “significant limitation of use of a body function or system.”

All three plaintiffs were shown to have either no serious injury, or conditions resulting from pre-existing degenerative processes, rather than any trauma related to the accident.