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Vol. 3 No. 197 Decisions Released Oct. 18, 1995 STATE COURT CASES ATTORNEY/CLIENT — EXPERT TESTIMONY 04-2-6753 Nabeel A. Shaaban v. Ference Deniflee, App. Div. (14 pp.) Since plaintiff’s legal malpractice claim against his ex-attorney is a simple one — that his attorney had an obligation to inform plaintiff that plaintiff’s ex-wife had consented to selling certain real property that was threatened with foreclosure — a lack of expert testimony should not preclude plaintiff’s presentation of his malpractice claim to a trier of fact, and the judge’s dismissal of the case is reversed. ATTORNEYS — PUBLIC DEFENDERS — SANCTIONS 04-2-6754 In the Matter of Randall W. Westreich, An Atty. at Law, App. Div. (6 pp.) While public defender may have made an error in judgment in assuming that hearing was covered by another attorney, under the circumstances her actions do not constitute failure to appear without “just excuse,” and the sanction imposed upon her by the trial judge is reversed. CONTRACTS — SETTLEMENTS 11-2-6755 Mahesh Singla v. Aarti Vishal, Inc., t/a Soda King, App. Div. (6 pp.) Trial judge erred in enforcing a purported settlement agreement in a summary manner, since there are factual questions concerning whether the agreement only released the defendant corporation with respect to plaintiff’s employment claim or whether it also released corporate principal from plaintiff’s claims for malicious prosecution. FAMILY LAW 20-2-6756 Jeanne Vitiello v. Vincent Vitiello, App. Div. (6 pp.) Portion of order increasing husband’s child support obligation is reversed, since there are genuine issues of material fact to be determined regarding the amount of increased support, if any, he should be required to pay, and motion judge erred in determining the issues of credibility and imputed income in a summary manner. NEGLIGENCE — TORT CLAIMS ACT 31-2-6757 Jorge Urbina, et al. v. Bruce Ripley, et al., App. Div. (6 pp.) The trial court properly concluded that plaintiff’s medical reports — reflecting limitation of range of motion and various sprains — were not sufficient objective evidence to satisfy the criteria of the Tort Claims Act to repose liability on the municipal defendant. PRODUCT LIABILITY 32-2-6758 Bruno Molino, et al. v. B.F. Goodrich Tire Co., App. Div. (8 pp.) Where plaintiff was injured when a tire exploded as he was mounting it on a multi-piece rim, although jury on re-trial found that defendant had a duty to place a warning on its tire, its decision that the lack of warning was not a proximate cause of the accident is supported by sufficient evidence and is affirmed. TAXATION — SANCTIONS 35-2-6759 CM Piscitelli v. Scotch Plains Twp., App. Div. (6 pp.) Reversal is required of tax court order imposing sanctions on taxpayer for withdrawing his complaints, since taxpayer did not act in bad faith or frivolously in filing complaints, and imposing penalties for exercising rights accorded by court rules undermines their purpose. TORTS — DEFAMATION 36-2-6760 John A. Orso, et al. v. Laurence Goldberg, et al., App. Div. (15 pp.) The qualified privilege of the media to fairly report defamatory words or statements uttered by a public official, and to report on matters of public interest affecting government and its officials, justifies dismissal of defamation charges against the media defendants. [Approved for publication Oct. 18, 1995. Available Online in NJ Full-Text Decisions.] WILLS, TRUSTS AND ESTATES — UNDUE INFLUENCE — GIFTS 38-2-6761 William Grunow, et al. v. Robert E. Grunow, App. Div. (5 pp.) Where decedent was aged, in poor health, and dependent upon her son for companionship, care and support, a confidential relationship was established, and since the attorney who prepared the deed was retained by the son, without independent counsel for the mother, the presumption of undue influence was not rebutted, and judge’s voiding of the deed is affirmed. WORKERS’ COMPENSATION 39-11-6762 Valerie Somma v. Crab’s Claw Inn, Workers’ Comp. Ct. (8 pp.) Where waitress, having no access to scissors in the bathroom, attempted to burn of a soiled piece of her required uniform before returning to work, and was subsequently burned when the blouse caught fire, there was a causal connection between the employment and the injury, and the claim is compensable. 39-11-6763 Samer Saleh v. Inn America Hospitality, Inc., Workers’ Comp. Ct. (24 pp.) Although petitioner — a hotel maintenance man — was credible regarding his neck, back, shoulder and psychiatric injuries, and there was an objective basis for the doctor’s opining permanent disability secondary to the injuries, the ultimate result of the actual impairments is exaggerated, and while petitioner should not engage in the arduous work efforts of his former employment, he certainly is not foreclosed from all or most other employment, and is awarded 40 percent permanent partial disability. FEDERAL COURT CASES CONSUMER PROTECTION 09-7-6764 Norman Weiss, etc. v. Mercedes-Benz of North America, Inc.; Bert M. Bez, etc. v. Mercedes-Benz of North America, Inc., U.S. Dist. Ct. (20 pp.) Settlement is approved in a class action suit — alleging consumer fraud and breach of warranty for defects in vehicles’ steering systems — since the settlement is reasonable given the risks of establishing liability, the early settlement will maximize the value for class members, and the substantial silent consent of the class weighs in favor of acceptance. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY — VENUE 53-7-6765 American Cyanamid Co., et al. v. Eli Lilly & Co., et al., U.S. Dist. Ct. (14 pp.) Defendant’s motion to transfer venue of patent infringement case to Indiana is granted, since defendant is an Indiana corporation and co-defendant, a Japanese corporation, has sufficient continuous and systematic contacts with Indiana such that the Indiana court may exercise general and specific jurisdiction over it, and both the convenience of the parties and the interests of justice favor such transfer. LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT — DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION 25-7-6766 William Merrihew, Jr. v. Marvin T. Runyon, Postmaster General, etc., U.S. Dist. Ct. (33 pp.) Postal worker’s complaint — alleging that post office violated the Rehabilitation Act through its failure to provide reasonable accommodations for his hearing disability — is partially dismissed due to worker’s failure to exhaust his administrative remedies and due to sovereign immunity of postal service, and summary judgment is granted as to the non-dismissed portion of the complaint since worker has not rebutted defendant’s showing of reasonable accommodation in the type of fire alarm system it provided. LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT — SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY 25-7-6767 Stephen Klimek v. Hon. Donna E. Shalala, etc., U.S. Dist. Ct. (31 pp.) Denial of disability benefits to truck driver is affirmed, since, although the objective medical evidence shows that driver suffers from a severe orthopedic condition which limits his occupational base to light work, his condition, either singly or taken in combination with his other symptoms, was not so severe that he was rendered disabled. PRODUCT LIABILITY — VENUE 32-7-6768 MAQ/Summit Oakes Assocs v. Shell Oil Co., et al., U.S. Dist. Ct. (7 pp.) In a suit alleging defects in plumbing systems installed in apartment complex located in Georgia and owned by a Georgia limited partnership, defendant’s motion to transfer venue to Georgia is granted, since that state is clearly the “center of gravity” of the case.

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