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SKETCHES OF COURT: Trial examines liability in three-vehicle accident

July 9, 2015 By Alba Acevedo Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Court sketch by Alba Acevedo
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In this courtroom sketch Hon. Peter Sweeney listens as attorney Kenneth Lange (standing), of the law firm Goldberg Segalla LLP, delivers his summation to the jury in the motor vehicle accident trial A. Yacoubi v. Coach Leasing & M. Richards, Axis Group Biz LLC & John Doe

Lange represents Axis and J. Doe, co-defendant vehicle owner and driver of a Toyota SUV. Defendants Coach and Richards (bus owner and driver) are represented by attorney James Deegan (seated, far right) of the law firm Gallo Vitucci Klar LLP. Attorney Lee Michael Huttner of the law firm Subin Associates (seated, left, accompanied to his right by college intern Lucas Gilbrive) represented the plaintiff. Court reporter Jennifer Buccheri transcribed the proceedings

At issue in the bifurcated trial was the determination of liability. The three-vehicle pile-up occurred on a rainy evening in June 2012. The Toyota SUV suffered an unexpected motor shutdown while going eastbound on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. The driver maneuvered the vehicle off the roadway toward the right shoulder. 

The parties were in accord that the SUV was disabled and stopped, but differed in their versions of how the subsequent accident transpired. In his summation, the plaintiff’s attorney reiterated his contention that the bus suddenly changed lanes, knocking the plaintiff’s car out of control and into the SUV. The plaintiff’s attorney also contended that the disabled car was only partially on the shoulder, blocking the far right lane of traffic.

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The bus driver’s representation summarized testimony indicating that the plaintiff may have been speeding and didn’t appear to have full control of his vehicle, clipping and impacting his bus. 

The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants, determining that there was no negligence on the part of the bus but that there was negligence on the part of the stopped SUV. However, they did not find that negligence to be a substantial factor in causing the accident. 

The plaintiff intends to file a motion to dismiss the verdict, citing inconsistency, in the trial concluded this week in Kings County Civil Term. 


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