Kristopher Kohl took a cab in New York City one winter afternoon. When he arrived at his destination, Kohl opened the rear passenger door and accidentally caused an oncoming bicyclist to collide with the cab door. The bicyclist sued Kohl and Kohl, in turn, brought an action against the cab driver’s insurer. Kohl argued that the insurer was required to defend and indemnify him in the underlying personal injury action.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the Second Department’s decision, finding that the taxi cab’s insurance policy only extended to those parties “operating” the vehicle. The Court found that as a passenger riding in the car, Kohl was not operating the vehicle when he opened the cab door.
Thanks to Georgia Stagias for her contributions to this post.