Corbly
v.
Butler

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Second DepartmentApr 8, 1996
226 A.D.2d 418 (N.Y. App. Div. 1996)
226 A.D.2d 418641 N.Y.S.2d 71

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April 8, 1996

Appeal from the Supreme Court, Suffolk County (Doyle, J.).


Ordered that the judgment is affirmed, with costs.

This action arises from a three-car collision in which a car driven by the defendant Chien Hua Yang was rear-ended by a car driven by the plaintiff Gregory Corbly, which in turn was rear-ended by a car driven by the defendant Celeste T. Butler. The vehicle driven by Chien Hua Yang was owned by the defendant Kiam Toh. The plaintiffs commenced this action for damages arising from negligence. We now affirm the dismissal of the complaint against Chien Hua Yang and Kiam Toh.

A rear-end collision with a stopped automobile creates a prima facie case of liability with respect to the operator of the moving vehicle and imposes upon him or her a duty of explanation ( see, Gambino v. City of New York, 205 A.D.2d 583; Starace v Inner Circle Qonexions, 198 A.D.2d 493; Edney v. Metropolitan Suburban Bus Auth., 178 A.D.2d 398; Benyarko v. Avis Rent A Car Sys., 162 A.D.2d 572). Here, the explanation proffered by Corbly was insufficient to raise a triable issue of fact as to the negligence of Chien Hua Yang or Kiam Toh.

The defendant Chien Hua Yang averred that he was traveling at about 50 miles an hour when, upon observing brake lights and slowing traffic ahead of him, he was able to bring his vehicle to a safe stop. Approximately five seconds later, his vehicle was struck from the rear by Corbly's vehicle. Corbly, who could not recall whether or not there were any vehicles in front of the vehicle of Chien Hua Yang, averred that he observed the brake lights of Yang's vehicle some five to 10 seconds before he skidded into the rear end of Chien Hua Yang's stopped car. Under such circumstances, Corbly's conclusory assertion that Chien Hua Yang stopped suddenly and unexpectedly is insufficient to satisfy his duty of explanation ( see, Benyarko v. Avis Rent A Car Sys., supra; Young v. City of New York, 113 A.D.2d 833, 834). Accordingly, the court properly determined that no triable issue of fact existed as to the negligence of Chien Hua Yang and Kiam Toh ( see, Collazo v. Lewis, 210 A.D.2d 451). Mangano, P.J., Ritter, Hart and McGinity, JJ., concur.