A Trilogy Of Appellate Defense Decisions

1. A “TILTING” LAW FIRM CHAIR AND AN EXPERT’S NET OPINION

On November 10, 2014, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court rendered the decision of Hickey v. Wolff, Helies Law Firm. Plaintiff had been seated for his wife’s deposition at Defendant’s Manasquan law office for approximately 90 minutes when he allegedly “leaned back” and fell to the floor, causing the injuries claimed in this lawsuit. Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant was negligent in maintaining the premises and the chair in which Plaintiff fell. The Trial Court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff appealed, contending that Defendant “had a duty to maintain the chair in a safe condition and [had] breached that duty by keeping the chair at a low tension setting.” Plaintiff also contested the Trial Court’s determination that its expert report constituted “an impermissible net opinion.”

2. CHARITABLE IMMUNITY: “BENEFICIARY” STATUS EXTENDED

On December 8, 2014 the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court rendered the decision in Pollard v. Jerusalem Baptist Church.

Plaintiff, Elvina Pollard, sustained injuries when she fell on the basement staircase in Defendant’s church. At the time of her injury, the Church was hosting an usher’s council meeting. Plaintiff and her spouse, Clifford Pollard, appealed from an order granting summary judgment in favor of the Church based upon the Charitable Immunity Act (Act) at N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-7-11. The Appellate Division concluded that because the Plaintiff was a beneficiary of the Church’s work at the time of the accident, the Church was protected by the Charitable Immunity doctrine.

3. SPORTS INJURY BETWEEN MINORS – A NEW STANDARD OF CARE

In the decision of C.J.R., a minor, v. G.A., decided and approved for publication on December 8, 2014, the Appellate Division was confronted with the following facts: During a lacrosse game, C.J.R., 12 years old, and G.A., 11 years old, came into physical contact on the field with G.A. approaching C.J.R. from the rear and with his stick, struck the back of C.J.R.’s torso and also his left arm.


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Date Published: March 1, 2017


Written by: Cooper Levenson, P.A.

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