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Latisha Mays v. Frederick Lane and Ryan Lane

June 25, 2012

LATISHA MAYS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
FREDERICK LANE AND RYAN LANE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Glasser, United States District Judge:

Memorandum and Order

Plaintiff, Latisha Mays ("Mays" or "plaintiff"), commenced this action August 9, 2010 against Ryan Lane ("Lane") and Frederick Lane (collectively, "defendants") pursuant to New York Insurance Law § 5104 (the "No Fault Statute"), seeking to recover for personal injuries she allegedly sustained as a result of a car accident with defendant Ryan Lane. Plaintiff also alleges negligent entrustment against defendant Frederick Lane. The case was commenced in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Kings County, and on October 20, 2010 was removed on the basis of diversity jurisdiction to this Court. Plaintiff seeks partial summary judgment on the issue of liability. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's motion is denied.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted. On the afternoon of January 12, 2010, Mays was driving her 2006 Jeep Liberty northbound in the left lane of the three-lane Hutchison River Parkway in the Bronx, New York. Affidavit of Alexander Ogden dated Apr. 23, 2012 ("Ogden Aff.") Ex. C ("Pl.'s Dep."), at 17-23. A green Jaguar car broke down, blocking the lane in front of Mays. Ogden Aff. Ex. D ("Lane Dep."), at 17. Mays came to a complete stop a few cars behind the Jaguar. Lane Dep. at 14; Pl.'s Dep. at 27.

Defendant Ryan Lane was also driving northbound on the Hutchinson River Parkway in the left lane. Lane Dep. at 21; Pl.'s Dep. at 25. Although it was winter, the day was sunny and the roads were clear; traffic was moving at the speed limit. Lane Dep. at 11-12; Pl.'s Dep. at 23. Lane was driving a 2004 Volkswagen Jetta owned by his father, Frederick Lane. Lane Dep., at 7-8. It is undisputed that there were two cars behind Mays and ahead of Lane and that those cars switched lanes to avoid and pass Mays. Lane Dep. at 20-22; Pl.'s Dep. at 25-26. Lane alleges that his view was blocked by the cars, one of which was a sport utility vehicle, and therefore he could not see Mays until the cars ahead abruptly switched lanes. Lane Dep. at 11, 20-21. Because the parkway lacked a left-hand shoulder and there was traffic in the lane to the right of him, he was unable to also switch lanes, Lane Dep. at 13, 21-22, and, despite braking, he struck the rear bumper of Mays' stopped car. Id. at 15. Plaintiff alleges that as a result of the impact she suffered pain and injuries, necessitating physical therapy and surgeries on her shoulder and neck. Pl.'s Dep. at 41-44, 53-74.

JURISDICTION

Diversity of citizenship, which is not disputed, provides a basis for jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). Plaintiff is a citizen of New York. Notice of Removal ¶ 3(a). Defendant Frederick Lane is a citizen of the District of Columbia. Id. ¶ 3(b). Defendant Ryan Lane was a citizen of Connecticut at the time this action was commenced and currently resides in Massachusetts. Id. ¶ 3(c). Plaintiff seeks more than $75,000.00 in damages.

DISCUSSION

I.Plaintiff's Failure to File a Rule 56.1 Statement

As an initial matter, defendants argue plaintiff's motion should be denied because plaintiff failed to file a Local Rule 56.1 Statement or a response to defendants' Rule 56.1 Statement. Local Rule 56.1 requires that a party moving for summary judgment submit a list of the material facts as to which there is no genuine issue to be tried, along with "citation to evidence which would be admissible, set forth as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(e)." Loc. Civ. R. 56.1. "The requirement is strict; failure to submit a Rule 56.1 statement with a motion for summary judgment may result in the motion's denial." T.Y. v. N.Y. City Dep't of Educ., 584 F.3d 412, 417 (2d Cir. 2009) (citing Loc. Civ. R. 56.1(a)); see, e.g., Mu Yan Lin v. Burlington Ins. Co., No. 11 Civ. 33 (PGG), 2012 WL 967633, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 21, 2012) (collecting cases denying movant's summary judgment motion for failure to submit a Rule 56.1 statement). However, "[a] district court has broad discretion to determine whether to overlook a party's failure to comply with local court rules. . . . [and] may in its discretion opt to conduct an assiduous review of the record even where one of the parties has failed to file such a statement." Holtz v. Rockefeller & Co., Inc., 258 F. 3d 62, 73 (2d Cir. 2001).

The purpose of Local Rule 56.1 is "to aid the courts in deciding summary judgment motions by quickly identifying disputed material facts." T.Y., 584 F.3d at 417. Here, the record essentially consists of two short depositions: that of plaintiff Latisha Mays and that of defendant Ryan Lane. The material facts are clear. Plaintiff's failure to file a Rule 56.1 statement will be overlooked and the Court will not deny the motion on these grounds.

II.Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). As an initial matter, the moving party has the burden of demonstrating that no genuine dispute of material fact exists for trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S. Ct. 1348, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538 (1986). "A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by: (A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or (B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1).

Once the moving party has met this burden, the opposing party "'must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical ...


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