News of the Law Firm

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Firm Scores Dismissal of Negligence Case

The Firm recently achieved dismissal of a negligence case in Superior Court.  In Henderson v. Barnegat Township, the plaintiff alleged negligence on the part of Barnegat Township and its police officers as a result of injuries he sustained from a motor vehicle accident in another town, Jackson Township.  The plaintiff admitted to driving while under the influence of heroine and alleged Barnegat Township police officer’s allowed him to drive from his residence while under the influence.  The Firm, representing Barnegat Township, filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that there was no evidence in the record that plaintiff was under the influence at the time township police officers made contact with him at his parents’ home.  The court agreed finding that the record in the case was clear that the witnesses at the scene, which included the plaintiff’s family, had no evidence he was under the influence at the time the police officers investigated the matter.  There was no casual link to the actions of the police officers and plaintiff’s subsequent motor vehicle accident hours later in Jackson Township.  The court granted summary judgment and dismissed the case.

After the court granted the motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff filed a motion to vacate the judgment alleging that his newly produced expert report was “newly discovered evidence” that warranted re-opening the case.  The Firm vigorously opposed the motion arguing that the expert report was not newly discovered evidence warranting vacating the court’s previous dismissal of the case.  Rather, the expert report was expert opinion evidence and did nothing to change the court’s early determination in dismissing the case because there was no evidence that the plaintiff was under the influence of heroine when the police officers investigated the matter.  The court once again agreed and denied plaintiff’s motion to re-open the case.

The Township was represented on the matter by Partner Christopher J. Dasti.  Mr. Dasti prepared the briefs and argued the motions.


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Firm’s victory at trial upheld by the Appellate Division

The Appellate Division recently upheld a trial court’s ruling in favor of the Firm.  In Hutler v. Marina at Southwinds, L.L.C., the Firm, representing the plaintiff, sought to enforce the terms of a contract for defendants to purchase and close title to a commercial property and business.  The trial court entered an order compelling defendants to close title and at trial dismissed all the defendants counterclaims.  The Appellate Division affirmed, finding that the trial court correctly applied the terms of the contractual provisions and correctly dismissed defendants’ counterclaims.

Jerry J. Dasti represented the plaintiff on behalf of the Firm and Timothy J. McNichols prepared the briefs.

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Firm achieves Summary Judgment in Boogie Board Case

The Firm recently achieved dismissal of a negligence action related to an injured bather in the waters off the cost of an Ocean County beach.  In Petrone v.  Borough of Ship Bottom the plaintiff alleged she was injured by a boogie board in the waters off the beach of Ship Bottom.  The Firm, representing the Borough of Ship Bottom and the beach patrol, filed a motion for summary judgment.

The Superior Court held that there was no admissible evidence that a boogie board actually caused plaintiff’s injuries.  Therefore, the alleged discretionary action of the lifeguards in allowing boogie boards to remain in the water was not the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injures.  The court held that the New Jersey Tort Claims Act clearly immunizes discretionary acts of public entities that are not the proximate cause of a plaintiff’s injuries. Therefore, summary judgment was granted and the case was dismissed.

Victory on the case was a team effort.  The motion was argued by Partner Jerry J. Dasti, Partner Christopher K. Koutsouris contributed to the briefs and assisted at oral argument, and briefs were prepared by Timothy J. McNichols and Martin J. Buckley.