The plaintiffs in the case are the executors of the estate of Otto Mermelstein, who is deceased. The two executors are Adrianne Gibilisco and Steven Mermelstein. The defendants of the case are Jagat Aniroodh, National Retail Systems, Inc., and Keystone Freight Corporation. The case is being heard in the Supreme Court located in New York County. Judge Paul Wooten is overseeing the case.
The case involves a wrongful death suit that was brought about by the plaintiffs Gibilisco and Mermelstein on behalf of the estate of Otto Mermelstein. The defendants have moved for an order to grant summary judgment in the matter of liability. The plaintiffs are opposing this motion and contend that the motion papers are misleading and in error. The plaintiffs state that the defendant Jagat violated vehicle and traffic laws as well as the New York City traffic regulations and rules and that Jagat should be found negligent in the matter.
Defendant Jagat works as a driver for Keystone, which is a company that delivers merchandise to retailers. On the 22nd of September in 2005, Jagat was driving a truck that was owned by the defendant National and had a trailer that was 40 feet long. He was on his way to Bloomingdales at the time of the accident.
Jagat testified that he was not sure if there were any blind spots in the truck as it was dark outside and streetlights were illuminating the area. He states that before the accident he was driving in the second lane from the left located on Third Avenue and going about five or six mph. He says that he was stopped at a red light located on 59th Street behind two vehicles just before the accident happened. When the light turned green he states that he went about fifteen feet at about two or three miles an hour before he struck Mermelstein who was riding a bike. He states that his view of the intersection was clear and that he did not see Mermelstein before he hit him. Jagat states that he heard a loud sound on the right side of his truck. He got out of his truck to see what it was and he saw Mermelstein under the front right side of the truck.
At the scene of the accident no tickets were issued to Jagat. Mermelstein was taken to a hospital and died shortly after. Jagat turned himself into the police station and was given a ticket for driving with a suspended license.
Discussion and Decision
The defendants state that they are entitled to summary judgment because the plaintiffs have not established prima facie to prove negligence. It is also undisputed that Jagat has a green light in his favor and was driving slowly at the time the collision occurred.
The plaintiffs offer the testimony of Allison Santora and Alexander Violette who witnessed the accident as proof that Jagat was negligent in the accident. However, the testimony from the witnesses as well as from emergency responders raise question concerning the circumstances of the accident. These questions that arise in this case make it impossible to rule in favor of a summary judgment. The motion for summary judgment by the defendant is denied.