Defendant’s Verdict for Partner Matt Shwom

On July 10, 2011 a minivan operated by our client was broadsided by an ambulance in an intersection. Three passengers’ in our vehicle commenced an action against our client and the ambulance. The ambulance operator claimed to have his lights and sirens on at the time of the accident, but he could not recall the color of the traffic light.  The three passengers did not hear or see lights and sirens.

The attorney for the ambulance sought to have the judge charge the jury that the ambulance driver’s operation of his vehicle should be judged by the (much higher) ‘reckless disregard’ standard of care in VTL § 1104(e) which applies when a driver of an authorized emergency vehicle involved in emergency operation engages in specific conduct exempted from the rules of the road.  

After all parties rested, Matt successfully argued that the record did not establish that the ambulance was going to an emergency call and the judge charged the jury that both vehicles would be judged by the basic negligence standard of care regarding vehicle operation.

After a weeklong trial, the ambulance was held liable, and Matt’s clients were let out.


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