John Geaney Addresses New Jersey Food Council

john-geaneyMt. Laurel, NJ – – Capehart Scatchard Shareholder, John H. Geaney, Esq., recently spoke at the New Jersey Food Council seminar held at Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township, New Jersey.

Mr. Geaney addressed fraud issues in New Jersey workers’ compensation matters.  He presented the leading cases decided by the Appellate Division dealing with fraud and the impact of those decisions when litigating a workers’ compensation case.

Federal Appeals Court Rules No Individual Liability under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act

By Ralph R. Smith, 3rd, Esq.

One of the most frequent questions asked of labor and employment lawyers by clients is whether there is any chance that a suing employee could attempt to hold an employer’s manager, supervisor, or other official personally liable under any federal anti-discrimination laws.  In most cases, the answer will be no, and the United States Court of Appeals For the Third Circuit recently reaffirmed this status in deciding a case involving the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), a law that bars workplace discrimination against any persons who are 40 years old or older.  The ADEA’s anti-discrimination requirements apply to both public and private employers.

In Muhammad v. Sills Cummis, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12091 (3d Cir. 2015), the plaintiff sued his former law firm employer alleging age discrimination arising from his reduction in force along with two other younger employees who likewise worked in the firm’s Operations Department.  Along with suing the law firm, plaintiff also named as defendants two firm officials: its Director of Office Operations and its Chief Human Resources Officer.  The trial court dismissed these two individuals from the case, holding that the ADEA does not provide for individual liability.  In upholding this decision, the Third Circuit likewise reiterated that individual liability is not available under the ADEA against co-employees because by the law’s express terms only employers can be held liable for age discrimination under the ADEA.  So, if acts of discrimination are alleged against co-workers, it ultimately is the employer who is charged with those acts, particularly when such acts occur during the course and scope of that worker’s employment, and thus it is the employer who becomes liable for them under the ADEA.

While most federal employment laws like the ADEA do not provide for individual liability of officers, managers and other co-workers, there are exceptions to this rule.  For example, individual liability can be imposed against persons who retaliate or interfere with an employee’s ability to exercise protected leave rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  Moreover, depending upon where you conduct your business or operations, state law may similarly provide some form of individual liability for workplace wrongdoing.  In fact, in a place like New Jersey, many workplace laws allow for the possibility of individual liability.  Some examples:  under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”), the state’s comprehensive anti-discrimination law, any person who aids and abets a violation of that law can be held individually liable. Similarly, the state’s anti-retaliation whistleblower law likewise provides for individual liability, and wage and hour laws also hold persons involved in the administration of a payroll program liable for nonpayment of required wages.  Such laws should themselves provide an effective incentive to an employer’s managers and representatives to ensure workplace compliance with such anti-discrimination requirements.  Ultimately, though, it is the responsibility of the employer to guarantee that there will be continuing compliance with all workplace legal requirements.

If you are unclear about how the requirements of the multitude of laws that affect the workplace apply to your operations and impact your employees, now is a good time with the end of the calendar year quickly approaching to reeducate yourself and make a renewed commitment to meeting compliance goals for the upcoming New Year.

Plaintiff Unable to Maintain Suit Against Public Entities for Personal Injuries Incurred from Ice Due to Leaking Rain Gutter

By Betsy G. Ramos, Esq.

Plaintiff Stephen Marquard sued New Jersey Transit and the Village of Ridgewood, alleging that he slipped and fell on ice that had formed on the pavement directly beneath a leaking rain gutter on the Ridgewood train station building. He claims the he sustained permanent injuries due to the fall. In Marquard v. Village of Ridgewood, 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2348 (App. Div. Sept. 30, 2015), the plaintiff’s case was dismissed by summary judgment and he filed an appeal.

The Appellate Division found that Ridgewood, not NJT had authority over the area of the plaintiff’s fall. Thus, NJT was entitled to summary judgment because it did not own or control the property where plaintiff fell. N.J.S.A. 59:4-2 applies only to injuries caused by a condition of its property

As for Ridgewood, the plaintiff was unable to establish that it had actual or constructive notice of the alleged dangerous condition. Although Ridgewood was aware of the roof leaking, it was unaware of gutters leaking outside of the building.  Thus, there was no actual notice.

The Appellate Division also found no constructive notice. The plaintiff presented no proof of the duration of the leaking gutter and the ice forming as a result. Plaintiff admitted that he used the train station daily and did not see this condition the day before the accident.  There were no reports of complaints or accidents to Ridgewood before his accident. Hence, the Appellate Division found that the plaintiff failed to show that Ridgewood had actual or constructive notice of the alleged dangerous condition a sufficient time prior to the injury to have taken measures to protect against the alleged leak.

Further, the Appellate Division found that Ridgewood was immune under the common law snow and ice removal immunity. The court found this immunity applied because ice was the cause of the accident.

Accordingly, the Appellate Division affirmed the summary judgment order dismissing this case as to both public entities.

Capehart Scatchard Named a Finalist in NJ Biz’s Business of the Year Award

mary-ellen-roseMt. Laurel, NJ – –  Capehart Scatchard has been named a finalist in the 100+ employee category of the 2015 NJBIZ Business of Year awards program.  The awards program, produced by NJBIZ, New Jersey’s premier business news publication, is presented by EisnerAmper LLP.

“Capehart Scatchard is honored to have our law firm included as a finalist in the 2015 awards as there are no slackers in these ranks,” said Mary Ellen Rose, Esq., Managing Shareholder of the firm.  “Our attorneys are pleased to have a state-wide business news outlet to turn to daily. Unlike most states, the geography as well as the road network of New Jersey is such that businesses, as well as our lawyers, can physically travel to any location to conduct business face to face, if necessary.  That makes New Jersey an excellent place to do business.”

The Business of the Year awards program celebrates New Jersey’s most dynamic businesses and business leaders who share a commitment to professional excellence, business growth and the community. Finalists were selected in five categories: Business of the Year (1-50 Employees), Business of the Year (51-100 Employees), Business of the Year (101+ Employees), Corporate Citizen of the Year, and Emerging Business of the Year.

The Business of the Year award finalists will be recognized and the winner in each category will be announced during an awards dinner on December 7, 2015 at the Palace at Somerset Park in Somerset, NJ.

Lora Northen Addresses Tri-County Orthopedics

Lora V. NorthenMt. Laurel, NJ – –  Capehart Scatchard Shareholder, Lora V. Northen, Esq., spoke at the annual Tri-County Orthopedics Conference in Morristown, New Jersey on October 9, 2015.

During her inter-active presentation with the audience, Ms. Northen covered different workers’ compensation scenarios involving the premises rule, parking lot injuries, special missions and recreational and social activity claims.

In addition to her responsibilities as Co-Chair of the Workers’ Compensation Department, Ms. Northen, a Pennsauken resident, focuses her practice in the representation of employers, self-insured companies, and insurance carriers. She is currently serving as the president of the National Workers’ Compensation Defense Network (NWCDN).  Certified as a trial attorney by the Supreme Court of New Jersey in Workers’ Compensation Law, Ms. Northen is a member of the New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Burlington County and Camden County Bar Associations.

Stephen Fannon Addresses Seaview Orthopaedic & Medical Associates

Mt. Laurel, NJ – – Capehart Scatchard Shareholder, stephen-fannonStephen T. Fannon, Esq. recently spoke at the Seaview Orthopaedic & Medical Associates Conference in Long Branch, New Jersey.

Mr. Fannon was part of a panel discussion on “Treating Back Pain.”  In his presentation, Mr. Fannon spoke on the legal implications of a workers’ compensation case after medical treatment has concluded.

Mr. Fannon, a Marlton resident and co-chair of the firm’s Workers’ Compensation Department, has been with the firm for 36 years and concentrates his practice in the representation of employers, self-insured companies, third-party administrators, and insurance carriers in workers’ compensation defense.