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Kozyra & Hartz, LLC Congratulates Its Partner Michael J. Rankin For Being Sworn In As The Township Of West Caldwell's Planning Board Attorney On January 13, 2020

February 4, 2020

On January 13, 2020, Michael J. Rankin was sworn in as the Planning Board Attorney for the Township of West Caldwell for the 2020 term. Mr. Rankin's practice includes, amongst other things, all aspects of real estate law including, but not limited to, real estate litigation, commercial and residential transactions and land use. Congratulations Michael!

Spoliation Of Evidence Does Not Automatically Entitle A Plaintiff To An Adverse Inference

December 12, 2019

ROBERT B. SPAWN reports on a recent unpublished decision from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. In a recent New Jersey case, a Plaintiff-Tenant was sitting in a chair in the basement laundry room of her apartment building (owned by a Defendant-Landlord) for about thirty minutes before a leg on the chair gave way, causing Plaintiff to sustain personal injuries to her shoulder, arm, neck, back, and knees. The chair was part of a set of chairs that were connected to each other, and Plaintiff was sitting on an end chair. Plaintiff described the leg of the subject chair as having "collapsed," and asserts that she became caught between the chair she was sitting on and the chair connected to it on her right, after which she fell to the floor. On August 6,(...)

Under The Tort Claims Act, Conduct That Is Objectively Indicative Of A Decedent’s Lack Of Due Care Will Preclude A Finding Of Any Actionable Dangerous Condition (And Any Liability Against A Defendant)

November 25, 2019

ROBERT B. SPAWN reports on a recent unpublished decision from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. In a recent New Jersey case, a Decedent was struck and killed by a motor vehicle on a four-lane roadway at approximately 9:30 p.m. on January 29, 2013. The driver of the motor vehicle explained that he did not see Decedent attempting to cross the street because she was wearing dark clothing. Decedent had also apparently elected to enter the roadway at a point not designated for crossing, despite the existence of crosswalks located near where she was hit. In her complaint and summary judgment motion papers, Plaintiff (the administratrix of Decedent's estate) asserted that the road was a dangerous condition that proximately caused Decedent's injuries, and that, as(...)

Appellate Division, In Reversing Dismissal Of Personal Injury Case Against University, Reaffirms Principle That Landowners Have A Duty To Warn Independent Contractors Of Latent Defects

October 23, 2019

ROBERT B. SPAWN reports on a recent unpublished decision from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. In a recent New Jersey case, a Defendant-University hired an electrical services company as an independent contractor to repair lights on the roof of its library, and Plaintiff (an employee of the electrical services company), was injured during the course of his work. On the date of the incident, Plaintiff attempted to access the roof by using a bucket truck (as was his custom), but a car of one of the University's employees was preventing Plaintiff from accessing the roof in such a manner. Plaintiff was thus forced to find an alternate way to the roof, and, while en route, Plaintiff leaned on a balustrade (a cast-stone railing) in order to retrieve pliers that(...)

Appellate Division Affirms Jury Verdict Of No Cause Of Action And Rules That Testimony Regarding A Past Workers’ Compensation Claim Can Aid The Jury In Understanding The Nature And Extent Of The Injuries At Issue In A Negligence Action

September 20, 2019

ROBERT B. SPAWN reports on a recent unpublished decision from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. In a recent New Jersey case, a Defendant stipulated to liability for causing a November 2012 rear-end collision in which a Plaintiff was injured. Plaintiff conceded that he was subject to New Jersey's "verbal threshold" law (N.J.S.A. 39:6A-8(a)), meaning that, in order to recover, Plaintiff would have to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he sustained a permanent injury caused by the November 2012 collision. Accordingly, during trial, the parties disputed the cause and extent of the injuries to Plaintiff's cervical spine, left shoulder, and lumbar spine. Plaintiff expectedly claimed that his injuries were caused by the November 2012 accident (and were(...)