Officer William R. O'Boy suffered a head injury while entering a "rear access door of a prisoner transportation bus" operated by the New York State Department of Corrections.
After O'Boy filed a personal-injury lawsuit, Motor Coach Industries, Inc., the bus manufacturer, moved to dismiss the case.
Since the submissions established that the bus's access system was "reasonably safe," the Orange County Supreme Court granted the manufacturer's request. And, on appeal, the Appellate Division, Second Department, affirmed.
Apparently, O'Boy's evidence was less than stellar. While he provided the court with an affidavit by a "licensed professional engineer," that individual was found to be unqualified to opine on any purported design defects or other irregularities. Here's how the AD2 put it:
[T]he plaintiffs' expert failed to establish that he was qualified to render an opinion as to the alleged defective design of the bus. An expert is qualified to proffer an opinion if he or she is "possessed of the requisite skill, training, education, knowledge or experience from which it can be assumed that the information imparted or the opinion rendered is reliable" .... Here, the expert failed to present evidence that he had any practical experience with, or personal knowledge of, the rear access system of a bus such as the one at issue here, nor did the expert demonstrate such personal knowledge or experience with bus design or manufacture in general .... Accordingly, his affidavit was insufficient to raise a triable issue of fact.
To add insult to injury, the AD2 further determined that the manufacturer was under no duty to warn the officer of an "open and obvious danger" of which he was aware or should have been aware by "ordinary observation or as a matter of common sense."
For a copy of the Appellate Division's decision, please use this link: O'Boy v. Motor Coach Indus., Inc.