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Le Claire v. Pratt

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Third Department
Mar 9, 2000
270 A.D.2d 612 (N.Y. App. Div. 2000)


March 9, 2000

Appeal from an order of the Supreme Court (Keniry, J.), entered March 10, 1999 in Saratoga County, which granted defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

McPhillips, Fitzgerald Meyer (Joseph R. Brennan of counsel), Glens Falls, for appellant.

Carusone Carusone (John J. Carusone Jr. of counsel), Saratoga Springs, for respondent.



Plaintiff was traveling west on Farm-to-Market Road in the Town of Halfmoon, Saratoga County, when she approached its intersection with Pryun Hill Road; her access to this intersection was controlled by a stop sign. Plaintiff drove into the intersection and was struck by defendant's vehicle, which was traveling south on Pryun Hill Road. Plaintiff apparently told the investigating police officer that she saw defendant's vehicle but drove into the intersection anyway because she thought it contained a four-way stop. At her deposition, however, plaintiff testified that she stopped before entering the intersection and thereafter drove into it because she saw no oncoming traffic on Pryun Hill Road in either direction. Defendant has no memory of the accident. His motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint was granted by Supreme Court, prompting this appeal.

Pursuant to Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1142 Veh. Traf. (a), plaintiff was obligated to stop and yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which was approaching so closely on another highway as to constitute an immediate hazard. Although plaintiff contends that a question of fact exists as to whether defendant's vehicle constituted an immediate hazard, the undisputed fact that plaintiff was unable to drive through the intersection without being struck by defendant's vehicle is compelling evidence of the immediate hazard created by defendant's vehicle as it approached the intersection. Plaintiff's view was not obstructed and there is no evidence that defendant was speeding. Notwithstanding plaintiff's speculation that the accident was caused by defendant's failure to take evasive action, defendant was entitled to judgment in his favor as a matter of law (see, Bolta v. Lohan, 242 A.D.2d 356; Anastasio v. Scheer, 239 A.D.2d 823). Plaintiff was obligated "to see what by the proper use of her senses she might have seen" (Weigand v. United Traction Co., 221 N.Y. 39, 42) and defendant, as the driver with the right-of-way, was entitled to anticipate plaintiff's compliance with her obligation to yield at the stop sign (see, Matt v. Tricil, 260 A.D.2d 811, 812).

Plaintiff's claim that defendant might have had two or three seconds to react from the time plaintiff's vehicle entered the intersection until the collision occurred is speculation. In any event, such a brief period of time is generally insufficient to raise a question of fact regarding a party's failure to take evasive action (compare, Wilke v. Price, 221 A.D.2d 846, 847, with Gaeta v. Morgan, 178 A.D.2d 732, 734). Also without merit is plaintiff's claim that defendant violated Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1140 Veh. Traf. (a), which obligates drivers approaching an intersection to yield the right-of-way to a vehicle that has entered the intersection from another direction. The provisions of Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1140 Veh. Traf. are inapplicable where, as here, the intersection is controlled by a stop sign (see, Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1140 Veh. Traf. [c]). "Sections 1142 Veh. Traf. and 1172 Veh. Traf. of the Vehicle and Traffic Law deal specifically with the rights and obligations of vehicles at intersections controlled by stop signs and thus supercede the more general right of way rules of section 1140 Veh. Traf. * * *" (Hohenstein v. Mosher, 36 A.D.2d 662, 662 [citations omitted]). The record establishes as a matter of law that plaintiff's negligence was the sole proximate cause of the accident.

Cardona, P.J., Mercure, Peters and Spain, JJ., concur.

ORDERED that the order is affirmed, with costs.

Summaries of

Le Claire v. Pratt

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Third Department
Mar 9, 2000
270 A.D.2d 612 (N.Y. App. Div. 2000)
Case details for

Le Claire v. Pratt

Case Details

Full title:KATHLEEN Le CLAIRE, Appellant v. DONALD J. PRATT, Respondent

Court:Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Third Department

Date published: Mar 9, 2000


270 A.D.2d 612 (N.Y. App. Div. 2000)
704 N.Y.S.2d 354

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