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Appellate Division Affirms Grant Of Summary Judgment To Beach Borough Based On Design Immunity Under The Tort Claims Act In Personal Injury Case

August 19, 2019

ROBERT B. SPAWN reports on a recent unpublished decision from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. In a recent case, a Plaintiff sued a Defendant-New Jersey Borough for personal injuries after she fell off of the east side of a boardwalk when visiting the beach. More specifically, Plaintiff alleged that the absence of a handrail on the section of the boardwalk where she fell constituted a dangerous condition that was the proximate cause of her injuries. Prior to the incident, in October 2012, a portion of Defendant's boardwalk was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. In contemplating reconstruction design, Defendant consulted engineers about a number of aspects of the boardwalk, including the placement of railings. Once it was confirmed that the absence of railings(...)

Appellate Division Confirms That, Exceptional Circumstances Aside, Tenants Not Landlords Are Liable For Personal Injuries Occurring On A Leased Premises

July 29, 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ROBERT B. SPAWN reports on a recent unpublished decision from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.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 sued for personal injuries after she slipped and fell on a sidewalk outside of a Grocery Store, which leased the subject premises from a Defendant-LLC. More specifically, Plaintiff alleged that the cause of her 2010 fall was a defect in the sidewalk created by the deterioration of an expansion joint between two concrete slabs. The lease agreement (which was executed in 1988) in place at the time of Plaintiff's fall specified that the Grocery Store (the tenant/lessee) was responsible for maintaining and repairing all parts of the premises, including the sidewalks. The lease also expressly stated that Defendant (the landlord)(...)

Law Enforcement Officials Cannot Make False Promises And Representations To A Suspect In Custody In Order To Elicit A Confession

July 25, 2019

STELIOS STOUPAKIS reports on a recent decision from the Supreme Court of New Jersey concerning the standard the State has to meet regarding the elicitation of a defendant's incriminating statement. The Defendant, in this case, was brought into custody under suspicion of sexual assault. The interrogation lasted for three hours. Throughout the interrogation, two detectives repeatedly promised the suspect that if he would cooperate, he would not go to jail, they would help him seek counseling and he would be able to live freely and raise his daughter. Ultimately, the suspect believed the detectives and confessed to the allegations. He was arrested and criminally charged. At pre-trial hearings, the trial court determined that the Defendant's confession was voluntary, and as such,(...)

The Penalty Rule Does Not Apply To Marital Settlement Agreements

July 16, 2019

MARGARITA ROMANOVA reports on a recent published decision from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. More often than not, voluntarily-executed divorce settlement agreements are perceived to be strictly contractual in nature and defined by the "four corners" of the document. However, the matrimonial setting has significant implications on the Court's interpretation and enforcement of those agreements. The Courts recognize that former spouses may decide to breach the divorce agreement solely to inflict emotional or economic harm on the former spouse that cannot be compensated under traditional contract principles. In a recent published decision, the Appellate Division reaffirmed that the policies underlying general contract principles do not apply with equal force in(...)

Appellate Division Reverses Trial Court’s Grant Of Summary Judgment To Law Firm In Legal Malpractice Action Based On Trial Court’s Failure To Allow Plaintiff To Prove A “Case Within A Case”

July 15, 2019

ROBERT B. SPAWN reports on a recent unpublished decision from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. In a recent New Jersey legal malpractice case, a Plaintiff contended that a Law Firm and three individual attorneys employed by the Law Firm (collectively, "Defendants") negligently failed to develop evidence and expert testimony concerning a brain injury he suffered as a result of a January 2011 slip and fall accident. Indeed, Plaintiff was diagnosed with cognitive impairments as a result of the fall, which included, but were not limited to, difficulty with memory, a cerebral concussion, post-traumatic headaches, post-concussional syndrome, and depression. Yet despite the fact that Defendants were in possession of Plaintiff's medical records detailing these(...)