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Torbor v. Bradnock

May 12, 2008

YVONNE TORBOR AND AUGUSTINE TORBOR, HER HUSBAND, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
UHART BRADNOCK, AND SANTORA ELECTRIC, INC., DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Mercer County, Docket No. L-929-06.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Telephonically Argued April 24, 2008

Before Judges Graves and Sabatino.

This case involves a motor vehicle accident, which occurred at the intersection of Lamberton and Federal Streets in the City of Trenton, just before 7:00 a.m. on June 30, 2005. Plaintiff Yvonne Torbor*fn1 appeals from an order granting summary judgment in favor of defendant Uhart Bradnock,*fn2 the driver of the van that struck plaintiff's vehicle, and defendant Santora Electric, Inc., the owner of the van. We reverse.

In response to plaintiff's interrogatories, defendant claimed plaintiff caused the accident by failing to stop at a stop sign on Federal Street before proceeding into the intersection:

The defendant, Uhart Bradnock, was involved in an accident with the plaintiff on June 30, 2005, at the intersection of Federal Street and Lamberton Street, in Trenton, New Jersey. Defendant, Bradnock, was proceeding on the through street when plaintiff neglected a stop sign and pulled into the intersection, causing the collision. The weather on the date of the accident was clear, and the roads were dry.

Defendant also certified he did not see plaintiff's vehicle until it "was approximately ten feet away":

The defendant was traveling approximately 25 to 30 m.p.h. when plaintiff disregarded a stop sign and pulled into the defendant's lane of travel. The defendant immediately applied his brakes and veered to the left to avoid impact. The defendant first saw plaintiff when she was approximately ten feet away, and the time from which the defendant first saw the plaintiff, and the time of impact was only seconds.

However, according to the motor vehicle accident report, defendant told the investigating officer that he observed plaintiff's vehicle "pulling away from a stopped position," as he approached the intersection. Furthermore, plaintiff testified at her deposition that she stopped at the stop sign on Federal Street for several seconds and looked in both directions for traffic on Lamberton Street before she pulled into the intersection:

Q: Why were you stopped for as [long] as 15 to 20 seconds?

A: I wanted to make sure no car [was] coming, cars would pass on my right, and I tried to look everywhere before getting in.

Q: As you were stopped on Federal Street, and you were looking to your right, was there anything that ...


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