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Judge Brigantti-Hughes

PLAINTIFF INSURER’S subrogation automobile property damage action and its action to recover no-fault benefits arose from a Jan. 22, 2000 two car collision, in which the operator of one car – which bore license plates belonging to defendant leasing company – fled the scene. Defendant’s place of business is in New Jersey. The car from which the license plates were allegedly stolen was registered in New Jersey. Defendant, which claimed to have sold the car to its lessee on Dec. 31, 1998 reported the license plates stolen on May 7, 2002. Served under Vehicle and Traffic Law §253, it sought dismissal, arguing that its only connection to the collision was the stolen license plates. Finding defendant properly served under VTL §253, the court held that despite the vehicle’s purported sale, defendant was estopped from denying ownership because it allowed the car’s alleged purchaser to retain the license plates for more than three and one-half years.

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