Plaintiff’s Summary Judgment Motion Denied in a Car Accident Case


Plaintiff’s summary judgment motion denied in a left-hand turn car accident case.

Shorn A. Spence v. Anthony John Piscopo, Jr., Index No. 72073/2023 (Sup. Ct. Westchester Cty. May 24, 2024)

In the majority of cases, the driver making a left-hand turn may be found at fault and may bear liability for negligence in case of collision. In this case, the defendant driver raised sufficient facts to defeat the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment.

The plaintiff contended that the defendant caused an accident because defendant’s vehicle made a left turn when it was not safe to do so, in violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1141, and failed to yield the right of way, driving into the path of plaintiff’s car. At the preliminary stage of discovery of the above-referenced case, the plaintiff moved for summary judgment on liability.

In opposition, defendant submitted evidence showing that:

  1. he activated his left turn signal as he was making a left turn into the gas station;
  2. he was driving very slowly as the weather was foggy and visibility was reduced;
  3. before making the left turn, he looked to make sure no vehicles were approaching from the opposite direction to make sure it was safe to proceed;
  4. he was more than three quarters of the way into making the left turn when suddenly and without warning plaintiff’s vehicle struck the rear bumper of the passenger side of his vehicle;
  5. the plaintiff was not travelling at a safe speed on a foggy day; and
  6. plaintiff’s negligence was the sole proximate cause of the accident.

Westchester County Supreme Court Judge, Hon. William J. Giacomo, J.S.C., found that the plaintiff established prima facie entitlement to summary judgment, but the Court still denied the plaintiff’s motion having found a triable issue of fact. The parties’ conflicting affidavits as to the facts surrounding the accident raised issues of fact as to whether at the time defendant initiated his left turn, the plaintiff’s vehicle was “so close as to constitute an immediate hazard;” whether such turn could be made with reasonable safety; and whether plaintiff took reasonable care to avoid the collision.

Finally, the Court found the plaintiff’s motion to be premature as the defendant demonstrated that discovery may lead to relevant evidence.


AGF&J Associate Altea Di Stefano briefed and argued the opposition to plaintiff’s motion on behalf of Defendant Anthony John Piscopo, Jr.