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Appellate Division Affirms Trial Court’s Finding Of Extraordinary Circumstances Due To Plaintiff’s Physical And Mental Health Conditions In Tort Claims Act/Personal Injury Case

April 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ROBERT B. SPAWN reports on a recent unpublished decision from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.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 was driving on Interstate 95 on January 13, 2016, when she was pulled over by a State Trooper. The State Trooper asked Plaintiff for her driving credentials, all of which she produced except for her insurance card. Because she did not have her insurance card, Plaintiff instead gave the State Trooper her cell phone, which contained a photocopy of the document. The State Trooper took Plaintiff's phone, along with her driver's license and registration, and returned to his patrol car. The State Trooper eventually returned Plaintiff's materials to her and allowed her to go on her way without issuing a motor vehicle citation. (...)

Appellate Division Reverses Trial Court’s Finding That County Improvement Authority Reasonably Exercised Its Duty Of Care In Snow Removal/Slip And Fall Case

April 22, 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ROBERT B. SPAWN reports on a recent unpublished decision from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.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 slipped and fell on snow and ice after leaving a concert in an arena managed by a Defendant-County Improvement Authority. When Plaintiff arrived at the arena at 7:00 PM on Valentine's Day 2015, it was not snowing, but, at approximately 9:30 PM, a snowstorm hit the area and lasted through midnight. Thus, when Plaintiff left the arena at the end of the concert around 11:00 PM, there were blizzard-like conditions. While walking to his car, about ten to twenty feet from the arena's entrance/exit, Plaintiff allegedly slipped on thin ice covered by heavy snow powder. Both of his feet came out from underneath him, which caused(...)

Appellate Division Finds No Harmful Error In Trial Court’s Refusal To Play Back Testimony For Jury During Deliberations

April 8, 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ROBERT B. SPAWN reports on a recent unpublished decision from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.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 was driving in the westbound lane of 150th Avenue near John F. Kennedy Airport when his car collided with a twenty-seven-foot-long truck owned by a Defendant-Port Authority and operated by its Defendant-Employee (collectively, "Defendants"). The Employee was turning the truck left onto 148th Street from the eastbound lanes of 150th Avenue just before the accident occurred. Plaintiff alleged injuries resulting from the accident and filed suit. At the trial level, a jury found that Plaintiff had failed to prove that the Employee was negligent, and, consequently, the judge dismissed Plaintiff's complaint with prejudice. (...)

The Use Of Surveillance By A Spouse Is Considered Stalking And Harassment Under The Prevention Of Domestic Violence Act

March 28, 2019

MARGARITA ROMANOVA reports on a recent unpublished decision from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. More often than not, contentious matrimonial disputes involve the use of a GPS tracking device (or a similar mechanism) and the retention of private surveillance services by the spouses. In a recent unpublished New Jersey Appellate Division decision, the Court reminded litigants of the Legislature's intent to "cast a wide net of protection for stalking victims by broadly prohibiting and punishing persistent, unwanted, and frightening behaviors" in the context of domestic violence by affirming the entry of a Final Restraining Order ("FRO") against the Husband, who authorized his father to retain a private investigator and to install a GPS tracking device on a vehicle(...)

A Court’s Use Of The Term “And/Or” In Its Instructions To The Jury Is Improper

March 26, 2019

STELIOS STOUPAKIS reports on a recent unpublished decision from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, which reversed a Defendant's convictions because the trial court's use of the term "and/or" regarding evidence from two different counts was clearly capable of producing an unjust result. The Appellate Division, in this case, reasserted the fundamental principle of proper jury charges as a necessity for a fair trial. During a trial, the court will provide instructions to the jury. Jury instructions may range anywhere from whether taking notes are allowed to advise the jury that certain evidence is only to be considered for a certain purpose to every element of a crime that must be established for a jury to convict a Defendant. The court's instructions to a jury(...)