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Dance v. Town of Southampton

95 A.D.2d 442 (1983)

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Dance v. Town of Southampton

New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division

95 A.D.2d 442 (1983)

Facts

Samuel Dance (plaintiff) was driving his car when he entered a turnpike and was hit by a police car. As a result of the accident, Dance became quadriplegic. Dance brought suit against the police officer’s employer, the Town of Southampton (defendant), for damages. Prior to that accident, Dance had undergone surgeries on his right knee. At trial, Dance argued that his range of motion was not limited in any way from his previous surgeries. Dance’s orthopedist echoed that sentiment, testifying that Dance’s ability to drive was unimpaired by the surgeries. The town’s expert witness disagreed, stating that Dance’s knee movements were severely limited and his ability to apply pressure to the brakes was diminished. New York traffic law required drivers to report any loss of the use of any limb to the commissioner of motor vehicles before operating a vehicle. However, Dance made no such disclosure to the commissioner. At trial, the town contended Dance’s failure to disclose constituted negligence per se, and the jury was instructed on the traffic law. The jury found the town not liable, and Dance appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lazer, J.)

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