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On February 28, 2019, a panel of the New Jersey Appellate Division unanimously upheld four trial court decisions, finding for plaintiffs in “diminished value” of automobile claims. The Appellate Division consolidated four actions for purposes of appeal: Fin Servs. Vehicle Trust v. Panter, Nissan Infiniti LT v. Fratto, Santander Consumer USA v. El, and Fin. Servs. Vehicle Trust v. Moore. Because the monetary value of each claim was below $3,000, the matters were cognizable in the “Small Claims Section” of New Jersey’s Law Division, and were decided at bench trials.
While pushing a shopping cart at Wal-Mart, plaintiff Alexandra Rodriguez “brushed” a clothing display rack that started to fall. The rack struck her right elbow and hand causing injury. Her medical experts diagnosed Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) after conservative treatment and nerve decompression surgery on her wrist and elbow. Ms. Rodriguez testified that her right arm pain never fully resolved and that she developed a “burning sensation” and stiffness in her right arm. She alleged negligence against Wal-Mart in installing, inspecting and maintaining the rack. The jury unanimously returned a verdict on liability in favor of Wal-Mart and, as a result, did not answer the damages questions on the jury verdict form.Alexandra Rodriguez v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., (A-2/3-17) (079470), (Decided March 4, 2019).
In New Jersey, a plaintiff injured in a motor vehicle accident must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he/she suffered a permanent injury within the meaning of the limitation on lawsuit option of the Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act (AICRA), N.J.S.A. 39:6A-8(a). The failure to do so bars a plaintiff’s recovery
On March 1, 2019, in Stearns v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts held that the six year statute of repose, set forth in Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 260, § 2B, bars tort claims arising from negligence in the use or handling of asbestos in construction related suits.
New Jersey’s Supreme Court recently decided the case of Pamela O’Donnell v. New Jersey Turnpike Authority, permitting the plaintiff’s case against the public entity Turnpike Authority (“NJTA”) to proceed, even though the plaintiff had not formally served the NJTA with a Notice of Tort Claim.
Rockman v. Union Carbide Corp., Case No: 1:16-cv-02459-JKB (Jan.3, 2017), is a notable decision in that the Court (Bredar, J.) granted the defendants’ motions for judgment on the pleadings and allowed the plaintiffs to amend the complaint.
On January 22, 2019, the Appellate Division issued an opinion in the matter of Katchen v. GEICO, et al., 2019 N.J. Super. LEXIS 10. The decision considered whether an insurer may exclude UIM coverage for an accident involving a vehicle owned by the insured, but not expressly covered under the subject policy.
In All The Way Towing, LLC v. Bucks County International, Inc., (A066/67-17) (Decided January 24, 2019), the New Jersey Supreme Court held that a customized tow truck fit within the NJ Consumer Fraud Act’s (CFA) expansive definition of “merchandise”.
The New Jersey Appellate Division, in an unpublished opinion, Katramados v. First Transit Inc., (Appeal No. A-1947-17T1) (Decided January 24, 2019), invoked the ultimate sanction by dismissing a plaintiff’s complaint with prejudice after plaintiff’s repeated failures to comply with discovery.