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Vol. 2, No. 49 DECISIONS ISSUED MARCH 23, 1994 TAXATION 35-5-2896 City of Asbury Park v. Castagno Tires, Tax Ct. (26 pp.) Where tax assessor retroactively assessed taxpayer, a service station, for construction of a second-story for tire storage and containing a fourth service bay, which was completed two months before assessor learned of addition, Monmouth County Tax Board erred in granting taxpayer’s tax- abatement application, since application was not filed timely, and the city failed to enact an appropriate ordinance authorizing tax abatement. 35-5-2897 Dahyabhai and Usha D. Patel v. Director, Div. of Taxation, Tax Ct. (22 pp.) Where taxpayers supposedly tried to obtain payment extension, director properly imposed interest and penalty charges on late payment for 1987 tax returns, since taxpayers failed to satisfy condition that 80 percent of tax due must be paid by April 15 of original filing year for extension to be granted. 35-5-2898 Riegel Products Corporation v. Milford Borough, Tax Ct. (22 pp.) Where taxpayer contested 1990, 1991, and 1992 real property tax on paper manufacturing facility, and taxpayer’s expert used improved sales of five industrial properties to substantiate his evaluation and argued that tax evaluation should be based on market value or value in exchange, rather than value in use, tax court held (1) that the five improved industrial sales were not comparable to the subject property and therefore were unreliable in valuing property, and (2) value of property was properly based on market value, since present use of property was its highest and best use. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW 10-1-2899 Atlantic City Convention Center Authority v. South Jersey Publishing Co., Inc., et al., Sup. Ct. (24 pp.) Chancery court erred in denying publisher’s request for audio-tape recordings of authority’s closed executive session regarding public officer’s termination, since media representatives are entitled to access to audio-tape recordings of public bodies’ closed executive sessions where personnel matters are discussed, after confidential or privileged information is withheld, pursuant to common-law access to public records or Open Public Meetings Act principles. CORPORATIONS 12-2-2900 Weichert Co., Realtors v. Peter Palmadesso and Petange, Inc., App. Div. (8 pp.) Sole shareholder and officer of real estate development corporation was properly held personally liable for broker’s commissions where he stood to benefit directly from the sale of the listed property and where his signature on the listing agreement did not make it clear that he was signing in a representative capacity. INSURANCE – AUTOMOBILES 23-2-2901 Frank Leanza v. Jacqueline De Robertis, App. Div. (10 pp.) Where plaintiff sustained soft-tissue injuries from an automobile accident, trial court properly dismissed plaintiff’s complaint for failure to meet verbal threshold criteria, since plaintiff’s lifestyle was not substantially affected, where, for example, he only missed time from work for chiropractic treatments. 23-2-2902 Joseph Rotoli v. Rutgers Casualty Ins. Co., App. Div. (6 pp.) Although courts generally do not award attorneys’ fees in first-party insurance claims, an exception is made for insured seeking first-party payment for personal injury protection benefits under an automobile insurance policy. 23-2-2903 Otilia Silva v. Anne Donofrio, App. Div. (6 pp.) Where plaintiff’s back was injured in an automobile accident, trial court properly dismissed plaintiff’s complaint for failure to meet verbal threshold criteria, since plaintiff failed to demonstrate how the soft-tissue injury had a serious impact on his life; for example, plaintiff did not miss any time from work. 23-2-2904 Girard Spiegel v. Republic Western Ins. Co., App. Div. (14 pp.) In declaratory judgment action brought by driver of a car struck from behind by a leased truck, trial court properly granted summary judgment to defendant, whose insurance policy to the lessor validly limited coverage to the lessee driver to $15,000 — the minimum required by New Jersey law — despite the existence of other policies the defendant issued to the lessor’s affiliated companies in other states. LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT 25-2-2905 David Kopin v. Orange Products, Inc. App. Div. (12 pp.) Where employee sued company for compensation based on employee’s cost-saving suggestions that company owners implemented, trial court erred in not amending the complaint, sua sponte, to include causes of action based on quantum meruit and quasi contract. 25-2-2906 Steven H. Untracht, M.D. v. West Jersey Health Systems, App. Div. (33 pp.) Where doctor was temporarily dismissed from hospital for inadequate patient care, trial judge properly dismissed doctor’s claims for damages, since the hospital’s decision was based on substantial evidence and hospital by-laws were followed. PHYSICIAN/PATIENT -NEGLIGENCE 29-2-2907 Mary Adamski v. Charles M. Moss, M.D., App. Div. (11 pp.) Where patient, pro se, sued surgeon for nerve damage she sustained during surgery, trial judge properly dismissed patient’s complaint for not providing defense counsel with a medical expert report, where plaintiff claimed that she could prove her case with learned treatises, since it is very unlikely that a medical text would qualify to prove complex medical standards. 29-2-2908 Judi Striano, Ph. D., Pro Se v. Fair Oaks Hospital, et al., App. Div. (7 pp.) Where plaintiff-patient sued defendant- psychiatrist–who ordered that patient be hospitalized for depression–for false imprisonment and medical malpractice, trial court properly dismissed plaintiff’s complaint, since it was not filed timely. REAL ESTATE – EQUITY 34-2-2909 Steven W. Weiss v. Catherine A. Carr (East), App. Div. (9 pp.) Where both parties, who had lived together for two-and-half years, signed mortgage for house and plaintiff provided house deposit money, and parties later broke up, trial judge’s decision that plaintiff gave defendant one-half interest in the house as an unconditional gift was clearly supported by the record. TORTS 36-2-2910 Carol Marion and Paul Marion v. Spring Lake Community House and Bureau of Spring Lake, App. Div. (7 pp.) There was no genuine issue of material fact over defendant’s statutory immunity from suit as a nonprofit association organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, where the organization was established as a charitable trust and recognized as tax-exempt by the I.R.S., and where revenue-raising activities held on its premises were for charitable purposes. CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE 14-2-2911 State v. William Lester Johnson, App. Div. (13 pp.) Where defendant was convicted for distribution of cocaine and marijuana, and prior to trial state was granted a protective order prohibiting disclosure of location used by police in surveillance resulting in defendant’s arrest, trial court erred in not reevaluating its decision on nondisclosure of surveillance location, since as state’s primary witness testified, discrepancies arose as to whether officer’s view on surveillance was in any way obstructed. 14-2-2912 State v. Carlton E. Seigel, App. Div. (12 pp.) Where defendant was convicted of fourth-degree aggravated assault, trial judge erred in allowing state’s key witness to testify after attorneys had given summations, since defense counsel’s summation had focused on the fact that victim’s account was incredible because it was uncorroborated, before state’s key witness had testified.

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