Plaintiff Permitted to Amend His Case at Trial to Add New Theory of Auto Accident

Case: Hine v. Jafa Transportation, Inc.

Court: Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York

Date: 7/25/12

From: New York attorney Gary E. Rosenberg (personal injury and accident attorney and lawyer; serving Brooklyn and Queens; Queens accident attorney)

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Facts: In this auto accident case defendant stopped in front of planitiff's vehicle on the B.Q.E. Another car rear-ended plaintiff's car and pushed him into defendant's vehicle.

Usually, this would be an automatic win for defendant, as the car in front. But that's not what happened at trial.

The parties fought hard at trial because at his deposition, plaintiff testified that defendant stopped short because of traffic. At trial he was claiming that defendant stopped his car in the middle of the highway for no apparent reason -- a claim he had not made before.

Defendant asked the Court to dismiss the accident victim's (plaintiff's) complaint,. The plaintiff asked to amend (change) his case to include this new claim of defendant stopping in the roadway for no reason. The lower court dismissed the complaint, refusing to allow plaintiff to amend his claim (case). This appeal followed.

Held: Plaintiff should have been allowed to amend his case to add the new claim. The case should not have been dismissed; a jury could decide any inconsistencies between plaintiff's deposition and his trial testimony. A new trial is ordered.

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