Appellate Division, Fourth Department
Motor Vehicle Accident
Vehicle & Traffic Law 1103 — Work on a Highway
Gawron v. Town of Cheektowaga
Appealed from Supreme Court, Erie County
Background: The plaintiff commenced an action after being injured in a motor vehicle accident involving a truck owned by the defendant and operated by the defendant employee. The truck was equipped with a plow and, at the time of the accident, the plow was down being used to remove accumulated water and debris from the road. The plaintiff’s alleged that water accumulated onto the defendant’s windshield, blocking his view and causing him to drift into oncoming traffic. The defendant appealed from the denial of its cross-motion for summary judgment.
Ruling: The Appellate Division modified the order by dismissing the first negligence cause of action. The court held that because the defendant established that it was engaged in work on the highway, Section 1103 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law applied. Highway is defined in the Vehicle and Traffic Law to include the entire width between the boundary-lines of every way publicly maintained. The court further held that “work” was to include unassigned work at the time of the accident.
Martha E. Donovan of Chelus, Herdzik, Speyer & Monte for the defendants-appellants; John A. Collins of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria and Michael D. Hollenbeck for the plaintiff-respondents