Ithaca, N.Y. — The truck driver and trucking company involved in the Simeon’s crash have argued that they did not cause the injuries claimed by a waiter who was hospitalized in the June 20 crash.

Martin Waisbrot was working at Simeon’s when a tractor-trailer barreled into the restaurant, killing a young pregnant bartender and sending several others to the hospital.

Waisbrot brought one lawsuit of two that have been filed against the truck’s driver — Viacheslav Grychanyi, 37, of Spokane — and truck company Quality Relocation Services. (The other lawsuit was filed by the Cornell Barber Shop, which suffered significant damage in the crash and has remained closed.)

Waisbrot was thrown into tables and lost consciousness in the crash. He said in court documents that Grychanyi and Quality Relocation Services were “wanton, reckless and malicious” in their “conscious indifference and utter disregard” for the health of others.

Grychanyi and Quality Relocation Services responded to the lawsuit in an “answer” filed several months ago. The documents have not been publicly filed in Tompkins County Court. They were provided to The Voice by Waisbrot’s attorney, Peter Littman, on Tuesday.

In the answer, the lawyer representing Grychanyi and Quality Relocation Services says that any injuries Waisbrot sustained were caused by someone “other than” the truck driver and trucking company.

“The injuries and damages, if any, allegedly sustained by the plaintiffs … as alleged in the verified complaint were caused by third parties other than the answering defendants, QUALITY RELOCATION SERVICES, INC. and VIACHESLAV V. GRYCHANYI,” the records state.

“…and by reason of the foregoing, the verified complaint should be dismissed as to these answering defendants.”


Arguments in defense of Grychanyi, Quality Relocation Services

The lawyer for Grychanyi and Quality Relocation Services is named Susan A. Eberle; she is a partner of the Buffalo-based Tarantino Law Firm.

In the answer, Eberle makes several other points on behalf of Grychanyi and Quality Relocation Services:

1 — Health insurance

Eberle suggests that some of Waisbrot’s injuries stem from the waiter’s “failure to mitigate damages, including but not limited to failure to obtain health insurance under the federal ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.’”

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2 — Lawyer: No “serious injury” under NY insurance law

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The attorney also argues that Waisbrot did not sustain “serious injury” under section 5102(d) of the Insurance Law of NY.
Here’s a portion of the relevant statute:

“Serious injury” means a personal injury which results in death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; a fracture; loss of a fetus; permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system; permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member … ; or a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities”

In earlier court documents, Waisbrot had identified suffering several injuries.

These included “a severe laceration to the top of his head, requiring hospital treatment and medical treatment with stapes” and “a sudden and severe traumatic blow to his entire body, which caused him to be thrown about the interior of the restaurant and to lose consciousness … and causing him to suffer a severe concussion.”

What’s the status of the suit?

Police have not announced the results of their investigation into Grychanyi. So far, the truck driver has been given two tickets — one, for having an over-length vehicle, and the other for having defective brakes.

As for the civil lawsuits, Waisbrot’s attorney said his client’s case in the “discovery” phase in which both sides are looking to gather more evidence to use for a possible trial.

Voice background on Simeon’s crash & fall-out


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Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.