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Emily Manuel/High Point Prop. and Casualty v. RWJ Barnabas Health

Client: RWJ Barnabas Health

Court:  Superior Court of New Jersey
Appellate Division

Trial Attorney:  Christina M. Adinolfi Shea, Esq.

Brief Attorney: Christina M. Adinolfi Shea, Esq. and Caroline N. Yount, Esq.

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**

The New Jersey Appellate Division decided on October 16, 2019, that a nurse who was walking from work premises to a parking lot following her shift at Jersey City Medical Center/RWJBH was not in the course of employment when she was struck by a motor vehicle.

Petitioner had appealed the ruling of a Judge of Compensation that her injuries did not arise out of and in the course of her employment.  The Judge had found petitioner was injured on a public street, not within the control of the hospital and that the hospital did not exercise daily control and maintenance of the parking lot. The Appellate Division agreed that petitioner was not injured in the course of her employment and did not suffer a compensable injury.

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Rodriguez v. Costco Wholesale Corp

Client: Costco Wholesale Corp.

Court: Superior Court, Middlesex County, Law Div.

Trial Attorney:  Betsy G. Ramos, Esq.

Brief Attorney:  Voris M. Tejada, Jr., Esq.

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**

We were successful in obtaining summary judgment, dismissing a civil lawsuit filed against Costco, who had been sued by its employee for a very serious workplace accident. Said employee filed this civil suit against Costco alleging that it had committed an intentional wrong, which is an exception to the exclusive remedy provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act.

The court ruled that the plaintiff had not met the high threshold needed to surmount the exclusive remedy provision of the Act, was limited to her workers’ compensation remedies as to Costco, and dismissed the lawsuit as to Costco.

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Washington Township Board of Education v. H.M. on Behalf of R.M.

Client: Washington Township Board of Education

Court: Office of Administrative Law

Brief Attorney:  Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq.

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**

The Board sought to compel the triennial reevaluation of a student receiving special education and related services when the parent of a special education law refused consent.  The Administrative Law Judge found that the Board has a legal right and authority to conduct the evaluations, as well as an obligation to conduct them.  The Administrative Law Judge granted the Board’s Motion for Summary Decision reasoning that if a parent of a child with a disability wants a school district to provide services, the parent must allow the evaluations to take place.

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Wolfington v. Rothman Institute

Client: Rothman Institute

Court: Third Circuit Court of Appeals

Trial Attorney:  Laura D. Ruccolo, Esq.

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**

The Third Circuit in a precedential opinion affirmed the judgment of the trial court dismissing the Plaintiff’s Class Action under the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”) lawsuit because Plaintiff failed to plead that he entered into a “written agreement” to extend credit, which would implicate TILA.

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Marconi v. United Airlines

Client: United Airlines/Sedgwick

Court:  Workers’ Comp Court in Newark

Trial Attorney:  Prudence M. Higbee, Esq.

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**

In the reported case of Marconi v. United Airlines, 460 N.J. Super. 330 (App. Div. 2019), the Appellate Division affirmed the dismissal of two claims against United Airlines for lack of jurisdiction. Richard Marconi lived in New Jersey and suffered a work injury to his left hip on January 31, 2015 working for United Airlines in Philadelphia.  United paid full benefits to Marconi under Pennsylvania law, but eventually Marconi brought two claim petitions in New Jersey seeking permanency benefits that were not available in Pennsylvania.  One claim petition was for the accident in 2015 and the other was an occupational claim alleging work exposures from 1988 to the present.  Mr. Marconi admitted he was not hired in New Jersey and worked most of his career in Philadelphia, with only a brief period of employment at Dulles Airport.

United moved to dismiss both claim petitions for lack of jurisdiction in New Jersey.  Petitioner argued that even if residency alone was insufficient for a finding of jurisdiction, Professor Larson’s fourth factor, namely “place where the industry is localized,” in conjunction with petitioner’s residency in New Jersey is sufficient for a finding of jurisdiction.  However, the Appellate Division disagreed, explaining the concept of localization should be analyzed in terms of advancement of company interests, not its mere presence in the State. In this case, the Court found that, “nothing in the course of Marconi’s two-decade employment with United advanced the company’s localized interests in New Jersey.  In these circumstances, although United maintained a localized business interest in Newark, New Jersey has no substantial interest in exercising its jurisdiction over the petitions.”  As such, the Appellate Division affirmed the dismissals of both claim petitions.

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Boyle v. Giannakis, et al., Docket No. MID-L-6571-18

Client: School Board Member Defendants

Court: Superior Court, Law Division, Civil Part, Middlesex County

Trial Attorney:  Cameron R. Morgan, Esq.

Brief Attorney: Cameron R. Morgan, Esq.

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**

A member of the South Plainfield Board of Education, Deborah Boyle, and her husband, brought suit against four other current school board members, two former board members, and six other citizens of the South Plainfield community, alleging claims of harassment, gender based discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), terroristic threats, conspiracy, and loss of consortium.  Plaintiffs’ claims were based primarily on her allegations that one of the defendant school board members had attended meetings of the local middle school PTO of which Plaintiff was the president, sought to obtain financial records related to the organization, and expressed views which Plaintiff found harassing.  After being denied access to the PTO financial records, several of the defendants later ran for and were elected to the Board of Education, and the Board lawfully enacted a policy prohibiting current Board members from serving in positions of executive leadership in the local PTO, thereby causing Plaintiff to resign her presidency of that organization.  Plaintiff also alleged that several local citizens had made statements or engaged in conduct which she felt diminished her reputation in the local community.

After permitting Plaintiffs several opportunities to amend, on June 26, 2019, the trial court granted Defendants’ Third Motion to Dismiss in Lieu of an Answer, dismissing all six of the seven counts of the complaint applicable to the Board member defendants, in their entirety and with prejudice.  The court held that, even if a cause of action exists in New Jersey for civil harassment, plaintiffs’ claims could not survive a motion to dismiss, as they had failed to plead the necessary elements of a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.  The court also dismissed Plaintiffs’ NJLAD claims, finding that Plaintiffs had failed to plead facts sufficient to show an “unlawful employment practice” or “unlawful discrimination,” within the meaning of the NJLAD, N.J.S.A. 10:5-5d, as there was no employer/employee relationship, and the conduct alleged was not within any of the twenty subsections of the NJLAD setting forth the various categories of unlawful discrimination pursuant to N.J.S.A. 10:5-12.  Claims of harassment against one of the citizens of the community were also dismissed with prejudice.

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Patricia Costanzo vs. Meridian Rehab

Client: Meridian Rehab

Court: Freehold Workers’ Compensation Court

Trial Attorney:  Carla P. Aldarelli, Esq.

Brief Attorney:  Maura Burk, Esq. 

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**

Petitioner filed a Motion for Medical and/or Temporary Disability Benefits seeking treatment for her left knee as recommended by her medical expert.

The Motion was fully tried, and testimony was taken from petitioner, petitioner’s medical expert, and from Respondent’s medical expert.

The Judge denied the Motion for Medical and/or Temporary Disability Benefits, finding that Respondent’s medical expert was more credible than petitioner’s medical expert, and found that petitioner failed to establish that any need for treatment to her left knee was work related.

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Mary Grace Lawson v. New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, NO. A-4058-17T1

Client: New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority

Court:  Appellate Division

Trial Attorney:  Keith E. Nagy, Esq.

Brief Attorney:  Keith E. Nagy, Esq. and John H. Geaney, Esq.

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**

Petitioner appealed the Workers Compensation Court’s finding that she was not entitled to wage reconstruction after a full trial on the issue. After trial, the lower court found that the petitioner did not sustain her burden of proof as she found the petitioner capable of a myriad of strenuous activities and found that the petitioner failed to prove that she lacked the potential for full time employment. Petitioner appealed arguing that she never returned to full-time employment and that she had a significant injury.

The Appellate Division affirmed the Workers’ Compensation Court’s finding that the petitioner did not sustain her burden of proof pursuant to Katsoris v. South Jersey Publishing Co., 131 N.J. 535 (1993). The Appellate Division noted that the applicable standard is that an enhanced award utilizing wage reconstruction is to compensate the injured employee “for his loss of earning capacity, i.e., diminution of future earning power.” Id. at 546 (quoting Torres v. Trenton Times Newspaper, 64 N.J. 458, 460-61 (1974)). That diminution includes the employee’s capacity to work full time either now or in the future. Id. at 548. The Appellate Division found that the record supported the Workers’ Compensation Judge’s findings that the petitioner’s accident did not diminish her capacity to perform full-time work.

To view case, click here.

 

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Alma Camarena v. Sprint PCS, No. A-2205-17T2

Client: Sprint PCS

Court:  Appellate Division

Trial Attorney:  Michelle L. Duffield, Esq.

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**

Petitioner obtained an award of 30% permanent partial disability in 2003 arising from a work-related motor vehicle accident dating back to 1999. The award was for a bulging disc at C6-7 and disc protrusions at L4-5 and L5-S1. Petitioner later reopened the award and sought total and permanent disability benefits with the Second Injury Fund. We successfully argued that petitioner’s subsequent increased disability was not related to the 1999 work accident but to subsequent non-work injuries.

To view case, click here.

 

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Liberty Mutual Insurance o/b/o Sabert Corp. v. Rodriguez, 458 N.J. Super. 515 (App. Div. 2019), certif. denied, __ N.J. __ (July 11, 2019)

Client: Liberty Mutual

Court: Appellate Division

Trial Attorney:  Betsy G. Ramos, Esq.

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**

Arising out of an injury in 2012, Mr. Rodriguez received workers’ compensation benefits, including medical and temporary disability benefits, paid by Liberty Mutual. He then went on to sue the tortfeasor and settled his third party suit for over $1 million. The question now was how to calculate Liberty Mutual’s lien and the attorney’s fees that must be reimbursed to the petitioner’s attorney:  was the lien two thirds based upon the sliding scale contingent fee agreement or higher than that percentage based upon an average of the actual attorneys fees paid?

The trial court ruled in Liberty Mutual’s favor, holding that the reimbursable attorneys fees should be the actual fees paid. In a published decision, the Appellate Division affirmed. While the petitioner tried to appeal further to the Supreme Court, the Court denied the petitioner’s Petition for Certification, making the Appellate Division decision final.

Additional information about the case may be found on our Workers’ Compensation blog by clicking here:  https://njworkerscompblog.com/appellate-division-resolves-long-standing-dispute-on-lien-formula-with-high-third-party-settlements/

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