Summary Judgment Victory for New Jersey Office
Clausen Miller partner Andrew Turkish and shareholder Carl Perri recently obtained summary judgement dismissing with prejudice all claims against our client in a premises liability case venued in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County. Plaintiff alleged that she slipped and fell on a liquid substance while she was walking in a shopping mall and sustained serious personal injuries, including lumbar fusion surgery. Plaintiff alleged that our client, a retail store located within the mall, was the cause of the liquid that she slipped on. Initially, Plaintiff alleged that our client was conducting window washing before the mall opened which was the cause of the liquid. However, during discovery it was determined that our client was not conducting window washing, but instead was having lighting/electrical repairs to its sign when Plaintiff fell. Plaintiff provided no evidence that these lighting/electrical repairs used any liquid that would have caused Plaintiff to fall. Furthermore, Plaintiff provided no evidence that our client was responsible for inspecting or maintaining the area in which Plaintiff fell, even though it was within close proximity to our client’s store. We successfully argued both lack of notice (actual and constructive) and that Plaintiff’s fall was in the common area, which was not within the purview of our clients’ responsibility. The Motion Judge agreed with our argument that our client owed no duty of care to Plaintiff since the accident occurred in the mall’s common area and that Plaintiff failed to sustain her burden of proof on notice. Awards for similar injuries in Bergen County have been in the high six figures. Obtaining summary judgment avoided the necessity of the client spending considerable sums towards either a settlement or at trial.