U.S. District Court, WDNY
Motor Vehicle Accident —Contribution
Hallock v. Koubek
Judges Lohier, Carney and Rakoff
Background: The defendant appealed from the denial of his motion for summary judgment wherein the court determined that the defendant, as owner of a car involved in an accident, could be liable for contribution under the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law even though the driver of the car, the defendant’s wife, was immune from by virtue of New York State’s Workers’ Compensation Law.
Ruling: The Second Circuit certified the question to the New York State Court of Appeals. The court noted that the New York Court of Appeals previously prohibited plaintiffs who were injured by the negligence of a co-employee driver from suing the owner of the vehicle, reasoning that vicarious liability against the owner could not exist in the absence of direct liability against the driver. However, recent decisions were inconsistent on the issue.
Arthur J. Siegel of Bond, Schoeneck & King for the third party defendant-appellant; Glenn A. Kaminska of Ahmuty, Demers & McManus for the third party plaintiffs-appellees