April 14, 2022 – Rankin Savidge secures summary judgment dismissal in Bronx County

Rankin Savidge secured a summary judgment dismissal in the matter of Reyes-Morel v. Moises Vargas, et al., Supreme Court, Bronx County on cross-motion pursuant to the Graves Amendment, successfully dismissing the action against Rankin Savidge client Enterprise Rent-a-Car.

The Supreme Court, Bronx County, quoting Clarke v Hirt, 46 Misc. 3d 571 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2014), stated “there is no question that the Graves Amendment preempts all state statutes to the extent they hold those owners in the business of renting or leasing motor vehicles vicariously liable for the negligence of drivers, except when there is negligence or criminal wrongdoing on the part of the owner.” See Clarke, 46 Misc. 3d at 571. The Court further goes on and states that in the instant matter, “the record [presented nothing] to suggest that the car was not properly maintained or that mechanical failure contributed to the accident. Upon review and consideration of the defendants’ EAN’s motion, this court finds that there is no dispute that the defendant, EAN, is a leasing company and therefore cannot be held liable as a lessor unless the vehicle was not in good and safe operating condition at the time of the accident.”

The Court further stated that plaintiff’s “hopeful” expression in its opposition papers of finding liability against our clients was insufficient to defeat our cross-moving papers as well as our reply papers.