Dufelv.Green

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Third DepartmentNov 10, 1993
198 A.D.2d 640 (N.Y. App. Div. 1993)
198 A.D.2d 640603 N.Y.S.2d 624

November 10, 1993

Appeal from the Supreme Court, Montgomery County (White, J.).


Defendants contend that Supreme Court erred in allowing plaintiffs' medical experts to express their opinions as to whether plaintiff Susan E. Dufel's injuries satisfied the statutory standard required by Insurance Law § 5102 (d). In Robillard v Robbins ( 168 A.D.2d 803, affd 78 N.Y.2d 1105), this Court rejected an identical argument and held that expert testimony on the ultimate issue of fact was permissible. The Court of Appeals' affirmance was based upon the absence of specific objections sufficient to preserve the issue for that Court's review. Defendants ask that we reconsider our holding in Robillard.

Once this Court has decided a legal issue, subsequent appeals presenting similar facts should be decided in conformity with the earlier decision under the doctrine of stare decisis, which recognizes that legal questions, once resolved, should not be reexamined every time they are presented (see, People v Bing, 76 N.Y.2d 331, 338). Although the rule does not require unyielding adherence to even recent precedent, the mere existence of strong arguments to support a different result is not sufficient, in and of itself, to compel the court to overturn judicial precedent (see, Matter of Higby v Mahoney, 48 N.Y.2d 15, 18). The exceptions to the rule are limited (see, People v Hobson, 39 N.Y.2d 479, 488-491), even in tort cases involving personal injury "where courts will, if necessary, more readily re-examine established precedent to achieve the ends of justice in a more modern context" (supra, at 489). In the end, there must be a compelling reason to change the established rule (see, Matter of Eckart, 39 N.Y.2d 493, 502), and we find the arguments advanced by defendants for changing the rule established in Robillard insufficient. Supreme Court's judgment and order should, therefore, be affirmed.

Yesawich Jr., J.P., Mercure and Crew III, JJ., concur. Ordered that the judgment and order are affirmed, with costs.