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TKACZEVSKI v. RYDER TRUCK RENTAL

September 16, 1998

LIDIA TKACZEVSKI, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATIX OF THE ESTATE OF VALENTIN TKACZEVSKI, Plaintiff, against RYDER TRUCK RENTAL, INC., FRANK MARTZ COACH COMPANY, STORAGE OFFICE SOLUTIONS, INC., AND ALVINIA SCHOOF, Defendants.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SAND

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

 September 16, 1998

 HON. LEONARD B. SAND, U.S.D.J.

 MEMORANDUM

 SAND, District Judge.

 The Plaintiff, Lidia Tkaczevski, individually and as Administratrix of the Estate of Valentin Tkaczevski, brought suit against the Defendants, Ryder Truck Rental, Inc. ("Ryder"), Frank Martz Coach Company ("Martz"), Storage Office Solutions, Inc., and Alvinia Schoof, alleging negligence as a result of a 1994 automobile accident in Blakesly, Monroe County, Pennsylvania. Presently before the Court are Motions for Summary Judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 filed by Defendants Ryder and Martz. For the reasons set forth below, both Motions are denied.

 I. BACKGROUND

 The following facts are undisputed.

 On December 9, 1994, at approximately 8:26 p.m., Valentin Tkaczevski was fatally injured while attempting to cross a two-lane road designated SR 115 in the town of Blakesly, Pennsylvania. Mr. Tkaczevski parked his car close to the southbound lane of SR 115 and attempted to walk across both lanes of SR 115 toward a coach owned by Defendant Martz. The bus was parked on the shoulder of the northbound lane of the roadway discharging passengers.

 In the course of walking from his car toward the bus, Mr. Tkaczevski was struck by a truck owned by Defendant Ryder that had been proceeding north on SR 115. Mr. Tkaczevski received injuries that ultimately proved fatal. At the time of the accident, the truck was being operated by Joseph Peter Schoof, an agent of Defendants Alvinia Schoof and Storage Office Solutions.

 Plaintiff commenced this action on August 3, 1995, and filed the Amended Complaint on June 4, 1996. Defendants Martz and Ryder asserted cross-claims against each other and all other defendants. On March 19, 1998, and April 29, 1998, respectively, Defendants Martz and Ryder moved for summary judgment dismissing the Plaintiff's Amended Complaint and all cross-claims. The Court heard oral argument on both Motions on June 4, 1998, and the Motions became fully submitted on July 31, 1998.

 II. DISCUSSION

 A. Choice of Law

 1. Overview

 A federal court sitting in diversity must apply the choice of law rules of the forum state. See Klaxon Co. v. Stentor Elec. Mfg. Co., 313 U.S. 487, 496, 85 L. Ed. 1477, 61 S. Ct. 1020 (1941). Accordingly, this Court must apply New York choice of law rules. See Bader v. Purdom, 841 F.2d 38, 39 (2nd Cir. 1988). In the tort context, New York courts perform an "interest analysis to determine which of two competing jurisdictions has the greater interest in having its law applied in the litigation." Padula v. Lilarn Properties Corp., 84 N.Y.2d 519, 620 N.Y.S.2d 310, 311, 644 N.E.2d 1001 (N.Y. 1994).

 When the law at issue concerns standards of conduct, such as rules of the road, a New York court will apply the law of the situs of the tort. See 620 N.Y.S.2d at 311; see also McCann v. Somoza, 933 F. Supp. 362, 365 (S.D.N.Y. 1996). When the rule "prohibit[s], assign[s], or limit[s] liability after the tort occurs" -- so called "loss-allocating rules" -- New York courts apply a three-part test adopted by the Court of Appeals in Neumeier v. Kuehner, 31 N.Y.2d ...


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