Fleischner Potash Obtains Dismissal of Personal Injury Action Brought Against Motor Vehicle Leasing Company

Partner Daniel Stewart obtained summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s claims of personal injury after a motor vehicle accident. The Court granted the motion on behalf of our client, a motor vehicle leasing company, based on the Graves Amendment (49 USC § 30106) which bars liability for a vehicle owner when they are in the business of renting or leasing vehicles and were not otherwise negligent. Plaintiff’s engineering expert argued that the brakes of the insured’s commercial truck were not functioning properly in an effort to circumvent the Graves Amendment.  The Court, however, dismissed the case, as plaintiff’s expert relied on hearsay statements in forming his opinion which were inadmissible and therefore did not raise an issue of fact. Fleischner Potash’s diligent preparation of the file, including non-party depositions of the police officers who performed post-accident testing of the truck, led to the successful motion. In reaching its decision, the court stated that the objective evidence elicited during discovery supported a finding of non-negligent maintenance and repair of the vehicle.

A copy of the decision can be found here: