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MOTOR VEHICLE LAW: Connecticut law applied to personal injury claims for an accident that occurred in New York

In this case the trial court denied the defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment, rejecting his argument that the plaintiff’s claim had to be decided by applying New York law. The plaintiff and defendant were divorced but had two minor children together. After their divorce, the defendant relocated to New York. The plaintiff was awarded primary custody of the children and she lived in Connecticut. The defendant came to the plaintiff’s home in Connecticut to pick up the children to take them to his home in New York for a visit. Before picking up his children for the visit, the defendant was involved in a car accident after he suffered a seizure with a brief loss of consciousness. The plaintiff was unaware of the fact that the defendant was diagnosed with a brain tumor and seizure disorder, and was prescribed medication, but stopped taking it. While driving the children back to his home in New York the defendant drove the vehicle off the road into a tree, with both children sustaining injuries. The children, through their mother, sued the defendant. The defendant moved for summary judgment arguing that New York law applied because the accident occurred in New York, the defendant resided in New York, and the defendant was insured in New York. As such, the defendant argued, plaintiff could not recover under New York law because the children’s injuries did not constitute a “serious injury.” The court rejected this argument and denied the defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment. The court reasoned that although the accident occurred in New York, the nucleus of the alleged tortious actions occurred in Connecticut, not New York. The court held that Connecticut law applied. Surovy v. Peterson, Superior Court, judicial district of Danbury, Docket No. CV 19-6031147 (September 17, 2020)