Ryan J. Gaffney recently obtained Summary Judgment before the New Jersey Superior Court, Hudson Vicinage, on a liability defense pursuant to the seminal case of Mockler v. Russman. In his second application of the defense after a favorable outcome before the Appellate Division, Mr. Gaffney successfully argued that the plaintiff failed to establish evidence of negligence and obtained a dismissal of the claims against the Firm’s client.
In the matter of Handley v. Hinds, plaintiff alleged personal injuries following a motor vehicle accident which occurred near the Pulaski Skyway in Jersey City, New Jersey. On the morning of the accident, weather conditions created a slippery patch on the roadway. The client’s vehicle skidded on the patch, collided with a guardrail, and came to a stop, before being struck by five other vehicles that all encountered the same condition.
Mr. Gaffney’s motion was joined by all four of the co-defendant drivers, who filed cross-motions for the same relief and concurred with his argument under Mockler. The plaintiff filed an opposition, arguing that there was sufficient evidence to maintain a claim against all defendants. At oral argument, Mr. Gaffney successfully persuaded the Law Division Judge that the mere fact that a driver loses control of a vehicle on a slippery roadway does not establish a breach of due care absent additional evidence of negligence. Since the Plaintiff could not identify evidence that the other drivers knew or should have known of dangerous condition, or could have engaged in any evasive maneuvers to avoid the accident, the application for Summary Judgment was granted as to the Firm’s client and all other defendants.