Christopher Pyne

A deceased motorcyclist’s family accepted a little more than $3 million to settle its wrongful death suit, Trejo v. Ferreira Construction.

Renea Trejo, 39, lost control of her motorcycle in a Garden State Parkway construction zone in Clifton on June 17, 2009. She went over her handlebars, was struck by another motorcycle and died the next day.

The roadway in the zone had been milled to remove striping, creating a washboard effect, says plaintiff attorney Christopher Pyne of Stark & Stark in Lawrenceville. The plaintiffs alleged that 1½ inches of pavement had been milled when only a thin layer should have been taken off.

Named as defendants in the Passaic County suit were Statewide Striping of Parsippany, Zone Striping of Glassboro, general contractor Ferreira Construction of Somerville, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the other motorcyclist, Fred Stolarski Jr.

Ferreira and the authority were covered by an indemnification agreement with Statewide, Pyne says.

On Oct. 13, after mediation with retired Superior Court Judge Mark Epstein, now with Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst & Doukas in New Brunswick, Statewide agreed to pay $3 million, Zone $50,000 and Stolarski $25,000.

The defense attorneys were Bruce Seidman of Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin in Roseland, for Statewide; Douglas Sanchez of Cruser, Mitchell & Sanchez in Montvale, for Zone; and Gregory Boyle of Ronan, Tuzzio & Giannone in Tinton Falls, for Stolarski. They did not return calls.

—By Charles Toutant


Jack Wurgaft

$1.7M for Worksite Accident

Mann v. Wal-Mart Stores: A former construction worker accepted $1.7 million on Oct. 17 for injuries allegedly suffered in a 28-foot fall.

On April 4, 2011, at the building of a Wal-Mart store in Pohatcong, a crane operator lost control of a load of steel beams, knocking Charles Mann off the structure on which he was working. Mann, now 53, suffered a broken right ankle and back and neck injuries requiring surgeries, says his attorney, Jack Wurgaft, of Springfield’s Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins.

Wal-Mart had hired March Associates Construction Inc. of Wayne as general contractor, and it hired S&R Steel Construction LLC of Bath, Pa., to erect the structure. S&R hired Jensen-Koener Crane Services Inc. of Rockaway and subcontracted construction work to Mann’s employer, Astro Structural Steel Services Inc. of Brooklyn.

The Morris County suit alleged that March and the subcontractors did not comply with federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules.

The case settled in mediation with retired Superior Court Judge James Clyne, of Benchmark Resolution Services of New Egypt.

Astro Structural had an indemnification agreement with March. Its carrier, Liberty Mutual, will pay $1 million; Maiden Specialty Ins. Co., S&R Steel’s carrier, $350,000; and NBIS, Jensen-Koener’s carrier, $350,000.

Wal-Mart had been released from the case by the time it settled.

Liberty Mutual retained Everett Gale III of Morristown’s McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter; Maiden, Beth Wallach of Barry, McTiernan & Wedinger in Edison; and NBIS, Maxwell Billek of Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker in Florham Park. Billek confirms Jensen-Koener’s share; Gale and Wallach did not return calls.

—By Michael Booth


Todd Leonard

$1M for Fall on Restaurant Floor

Kapidzic v. McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant: A woman allegedly left disabled by a fall at a restaurant was paid $1 million on Sept. 12 in settlement of her Bergen County suit.

Mersija Kapidzic claimed that in October 2009, she stepped on a slick floor at McCormick & Schmick’s in the Riverside Square Mall in Hackensack and landed on her back. She suffered lumbar herniations, underwent surgeries and was deemed totally disabled by the Social Security Administration, says her lawyer, Todd Leonard of Leonard & Leonard in Morristown.

Kapidzic asserted negligence and premises liability claims, alleging that McCormick & Schmick’s knew of prior falls on site. The restaurant denied liability and attributed the injuries to a prior car accident and a degenerative condition, Leonard says.

The parties settled on Aug. 8 in mediation with retired Superior Court Judge Anthony Sciuto, now of counsel with Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi in Fort Lee.

McCormick & Schmick’s is insured by Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. and represented by Joseph Gallo of Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker in Florham Park, who confirms the settlement.

—By David Gialanella

$850,000 for Auto-Accident Injuries

Glenn v. Penn National Insurance Co.: An arbitration panel on Sept. 26 awarded $850,000 in underinsured motorist coverage for injuries from a truck-car collision.

Jon Glenn of Franklinville was driving on the White Horse Pike in Magnolia on July 15, 2010, when a car coming in the opposite direction allegedly hit his truck near the gas tank, causing the truck to burst into flames and to hit two utility poles.

Glenn got out but injured his neck, shoulders and elbows, and had five arthroscopic surgeries.

He recovered the $100,000 policy limit from the other driver, Craig Martin, and filed an underinsured motorist claim against Penn National Insurance, the truck’s insurer.

The case went to binding arbitration with John Sweeney, a former Burlington County assignment judge now a Florence solo; Kenneth Andres of Andres and Berger in Haddonfield; and George Prutting of Prutting & Lombardi in Audubon. They awarded $850,000, subject to an offset of the $100,000 recovery and a $167,000 workers’ compensation lien.

Glenn’s lawyer was Louis DeVoto of Rossetti & DeVoto in Cherry Hill. Penn National’s lawyer was Robert Kaplan of Margolis Edelstein in Mount Laurel, who was on vacation and could not be reached.

—By Charles Toutant