New Jersey Supreme Court Sides with Plaintiff Who Was Injured on the Job

In a recent decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed a lower court decision in favor of an employee who suffered injuries on the job. The plaintiff was a mechanic employed by Container Services of New Jersey (CSNJ). He suffered severe injuries when another worker attempted to help him move a piece of equipment. Instead, the worker caused the equipment to crush the plaintiff’s foot, which ultimately required amputation.

Throughout the case, a key question was whether the worker was employed by defendant Marine Transport, Inc. (MT), CSNJ, or both (The same person owned both companies).

Under New Jersey law, a defendant-employer is not liable for a worker’s negligence if it can show that the worker was a “borrowed employee” of a different employer when the accident occurred. In this case, the trial judge treated the issue entirely as a question of law, finding in MT’s favor. The appeals court reversed. MT appealed to the New Jersey Supreme Court, which solely considered whether the multi-factor test used to determine whether a negligent worker was a “borrowed employee” involved a question of law for the court or a question of fact for the jury.

Ultimately, the court held that the test was properly a fact question for the jury to decide. Generally, the jury addresses questions of fact, and a judge addresses questions of law. When a judge or jury goes beyond these set parameters, they often reach an incorrect or unjust outcome. Here, the court looked at the history of the multi-factor test within New Jersey law and identified several factual questions more appropriate for a jury than a judge. These included issues such as witness credibility and other factual disputes between parties.

Furthermore, the court concluded that New Jersey courts should not determine whether a worker is a “borrowed employee” under the multi-factor test unless the evidence is so one-sided as to justify ruling for one party as a matter of law, not fact. In this case, the court concluded that the evidence was not sufficiently one-sided for a judge to apply the factors in the test. Therefore, the trial court erred in determining that the negligent worker was a “borrowed employee” of the plaintiff’s own employer. As a result, the supreme court affirmed the appeals court’s ruling in favor of the plaintiff.

Have You Been Injured in a New Jersey Workplace Accident?

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries on the job in New Jersey, contact the personal injury attorneys at Bathgate, Wegener & Wolf, P.C. to discuss your legal rights. Sometimes, workers’ compensation does not adequately compensate for your injuries, especially if someone other than your employer was at fault for the accident. Our experienced attorneys will develop a strategy to demonstrate to a jury or judge that an employer should be held liable for your injuries. For a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team, give us a call at 732-363-0666. We will not charge you any attorneys’ fees unless we can connect you with compensation for what you’ve been through.

One Killed in Fatal Gloucester Township Motorcycle Accident

The unprotected nature of motorcycles, as well as their lighter weight and smaller profile, means that car drivers should be hyper-vigilant and aware of motorcycles so as to avoid crashes when driving. Motorcycle accidents can often be severe, leading to an increased risk of injury and death. While it is common knowledge that driving or riding a motorcycle is relatively more dangerous than driving a car or other four-wheeled motor vehicle over the same distance, the difference in safety is starker than you might think. According to some sources, riding a motorcycle can be up to 26 times more likely to die in an accident than someone in an automobile over that very same trip. The increased level of risk present in motorcycle riding should put car drivers on alert to exercise even more caution when out on the road. A recently published news report detailed a recent fatal motorcycle crash in Gloucester Township.

According to the recently published news report, the Gloucester Township accident occurred on the afternoon of Friday, June 2, when a motorcycle collided with a Ford Escape at the intersection of Brewster Avenue. According to law enforcement officials, The SUV was attempting to make a left turn onto the Black Horse Pike when the accident occurred. The police arrived on the scene and found the motorcyclist lying on the roadway. Police officers, an ambulance crew, and members of the Blackwood Fire Department attempted to revive the rider using CPR but were unsuccessful. The motorcycle rider was pronounced dead at the scene. According to the police, the motorcycle tried to avoid the collision but was unable to stop in time. The driver of the Ford Escape was treated at the scene for minor injuries and refused medical transportation to the hospital.

New Jersey makes use of a comparative negligence standard for personal injury cases. Comparative negligence is the legal concept that allows juries to apportion fault for a single accident to different parties and assign a percentage of the overall liability to each party. In New Jersey, in order to obtain a recovery award, an injured plaintiff must be found not more than 50% at fault for the injuries. Navigating the process can be complicated and difficult without legal expertise, so it is important to ensure that your claim is fully supported to ensure you receive the maximum award you are eligible for.

Have You Suffered Injuries in a New Jersey Motorcycle Accident?

Motorcycle injuries are often the most serious, with a much greater risk of fatal or disabling outcomes. If you or someone close to you has been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident as a driver or as a passenger, give our experienced legal team at Bathgate, Wegener & Wolf, P.C. a call as soon as possible at (732) 363-0666 for a free, no-obligation consultation. There are different insurance policy issues, and sometimes different laws that apply in motorcycle cases.  As riders and as experienced motorcycle accident attorneys, we can help you figure out if your accident was the fault of another driver or your equipment.  In the past, we’ve involved experts such as engineers and accident reconstruction professionals to prove our clients were not at fault.  If we take your case, all costs will be advanced for you and paid back at the end of the case. There will be no attorney fees charged to you unless money damages are recovered for you.

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Ryan S. Malc, Esq. brings a successful whistleblower and wrongful termination claim

Mr. Malc’s client, (“DJ”) was a former employee of a large New Jersey corporation (the “Club”).  He served as a Vice President and member of the Board of Directors of the Club for six years during which he provided exemplary, complaint-free service.  Nonetheless, on December 13, 2016, the Chief Financial Officer of the Club sent DJ a letter summarily terminating him as an employee “at will.”  DJ was also subsequently discharged as a member of the Board of Directors of the Club.  The termination of employment was the culmination of conduct by the Club, its president, and its chairman that violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) and New Jersey common law.

In December 2013, DJ learned that the Club’s president was sexually harassing an employee of the Club.  That employee was then constructively discharged by the Club. Upon learning this information, DJ notified the Club’s Human Resources Director, who at the time reported directly to the Club’s president. The Club investigated the harassment allegation, but ultimately determined that no action would be taken because all employees of the Club reported to the Club’s president.

Unsatisfied with this response, DJ then reported the sexual harassment to the Club’s Board of Directors. The Club’s attorney then interviewed DJ to discuss the details of his knowledge.  Shortly after this interview, the Club’s president stripped DJ of all his duties and banished him from his office at the headquarters of the Club.  The Club’s president then relegated DJ to a cubicle in an overcrowded and noisy branch office, where he was left with little or no meaningful duties or authority.  

On September 18, 2016, DJ e-mailed the Club’s president informing him of his neurological condition caused by a childhood head injury that makes it difficult for him to concentrate and focus in distracting environments, such as the cubicle in the overcrowded and noisy office.  In a subsequent email, DJ provided a note from his psychologist requesting that he be allowed to work from home or otherwise be reasonably accommodated for his condition.  Instead of engaging in the interactive dialogue required under the NJLAD, the Club ignored DJ’s request for a reasonable accommodation based on his disability and then terminated his employment.   Rather than legitimately investigate the allegations of sexual harassment, put an end to the harassment, eliminate the hostile work environment, and provide DJ with a reasonable accommodation to address his disability, the Club, its president, and its chairman retaliated against DJ.  

Mr. Malc pursued a lawsuit on behalf of DJ in New Jersey Superior Court. Mr. Malc litigated the case aggressively and on the eve of trial, the Defendants agreed to pay DJ’s settlement demand.

If you or someone you know has been subjected to a retaliatory employment action, feel free to contact Mr. Malc for a free consultation.

Peter Wegener Wins Big Verdict For Point Pleasant Beach Property Owners

Recently, Peter H. Wegener, a founding partner of Bathgate, Wegener & Wolf, tried another condemnation case. An Ocean County Jury returned a verdict of $964,000.00 in favor of our client, Bay Pointe Dunes Homeowner Association, Inc., the owners of a 489-front foot of beach in Point Pleasant Beach, on September 27, 2022. The verdict was awarded as “just compensation” for the taking by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection of the property rights to construct a 22-foot-high sand dune and to require public access to the beach. 

The government, relying upon its appraiser, offered $6,300.00 as its estimate of just compensation. This is the most significant verdict yet in connection with the controversial storm damage reduction project, which is scheduled to be redone, in many areas, this winter because much of the sand placed by the project has already eroded away. 

The state appraiser testified that the property rights taken for the project had only a nominal value of $1000.00 The jury valued the market value of those property rights to be $1,084,500.00, but also allowed a credit of $120,500.00 as the value of benefit from the project to the homeowners’ remainder.

As a part of its storm damage response to hurricane Sandy, the United States Army Corps of Engineers partnered with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to take control of all beaches from the Manasquan Inlet to the Barnegat Inlet and construct a twenty-two-foot-high dune across the entire length of the beaches with minor exceptions in the Point Pleasant Beach and Seaside Heights / Park Amusement areas. At the same time, the government made all of that beach area, most of which was privately owned, public, granting access and use to the public at large.

Although the Homeowners Association had been allowing members of the public to buy daily badges for a number of years, the Army Corps of Engineers acknowledged that the homeowners could change that policy at any time and wanted the property rights to the recreational beach in perpetuity. Therefore, the government condemned those property rights by the power of Eminent Domain.

If you have been subjected to a government taking by means of eminent domain, please contact Peter H. Wegener, Esq. to discuss your legal rights.

Republicans for Point Pleasant Golf Outing

On August 10, 2022, partner Brian McAlindin, who is the Republican Municipal Chairman for Point Pleasant, served as host for the annual Republicans For Point Pleasant Golf Outing at Eagle Ridge Golf Club.  Shown here with playing partner 2021 Republican Gubernatorial Candidate, Jack Ciatarrelli.  Brian’s group won the scramble format golf competition with an impressive score of 58 (-14) with a round that included 2 eagles, 10 birdies,  6 pars and no bogeys.

private mortgage lender attorney

Ocean County Mortgage Attorney

Bathgate, Wegener, & Wolf Partner, Ryan S. Malc, Esq., successfully represented a private mortgage lender in a long battle to recover the balance due on a mortgage that went into default in 2006, just two years after the loan was given.  Over the course of 16 years since the loan went into default, the client made several attempts to collect the overdue balance, including the retention of two other law firms.  In January 2022, the client finally came to Mr. Malc for assistance.  Mr. Malc sent a demand letter to the debtor, followed by a foreclosure complaint.  In just 5 months, through decisive litigation and negotiation strategies, Mr. Malc was able to recover the full balance due on the defaulted mortgage, which amounted to over $350,000.00.  Mr. Malc also recovered all his attorneys’ fees from the debtor.

If you are a borrower having trouble with your lender, or a lender having trouble with your borrower, contact Ryan Malc at 732-363-0666 Ext 254, or send him an email at rmalc@bathweg.com..

motor vehicle accident

Motor Vehicle Accident Settled For $1.6 Million by Bathgate, Wegener & Wolf

The Honorable Thomas E. O’Brien, P.J. Cv. (ret.) of Ocean County settled a motor vehicle accident case for the sum of $1.6 million.  The plaintiff, now 65 years of age, was operating a motor vehicle, in her lane of travel, when the defendant, employee and son of a luxury car dealer took a high powered Dodge Viper on the roadway for a test ride. Defendant driver traveled recklessly and at an excessive rate of speed causing his “Viper” to spin out and enter the plaintiff’s lane of travel.  Both plaintiff’s Hyundai and defendant’s Viper were totally destroyed. Both drivers were transported to the emergency room with loss of consciousness.  Plaintiff remained in the hospital for three (3) days and experienced loss of consciousness for that period of time.

The accident was caught on a local business video camera so at mediation liability was not contested.

Plaintiff suffered neck, back, left hand and elbow and head injuries that were treated at the emergency room.  Plaintiff had a pre-existing anterior cervical discectomy and fusion in 2020 involving C4 through C7.  Post-accident MRI on 4/17/19 revealed a new HD at C3-4, and an EMG on 8/3/20 affirmed a left C5-6 radiculopathy.

Plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon opined that a future C3-4 discectomy and fusion would be needed above the pre-existing fusion.

On 7/14/21 plaintiff received an anterior and posterior lumbar discectomy and fusion with cages and screws at L2-3,3-4.  Plaintiff had lumbar epidurals, facet injections and wore a brace for 10 months.  Plaintiff also suffered a transverse process fracture at L1-2.

Plaintiff had pre-existing migraine headaches from 50 years ago.  She has been diagnosed with concussion and post- concussion syndrome with reduced concentration and memory anxiety, depression and adjustment disorder.  While the defendant claimed plaintiff’s head injuries were pre-existing, the defense IME neurologist admitted plaintiff suffered a concussion and post traumatic anxiety and needs future counseling.

The plaintiff presented no wage loss claim and assumed a medical lien in the approximate amount of $70,000.00.  The plaintiff husband’s per quod claim was included in the settlement.

For guidance on your specific legal issue, please contact Judge O’Brien’s assistant, Donna Oliger, at 732-363-0666 Ext 223, or send him an email at tobrien@bathweg.com.

NJ estate attorney

$800,000 Estate Settled With Bathgate, Wegener & Wolf

          Brian W. McAlindin, Esq. successfully challenged a late-stage Will of a 94-year-old woman wherein the decedent had left nearly her entire estate to her two best friends in a prior Will. The decedent suffered a fall and deteriorating health requiring a home health aide. Another acquaintance’s daughter became her caretaker, and a new Will was executed less than two months before her demise resulting in nearly her entire estate (valued at approximately $800,000) being left to the caretaker. A Caveat was filed challenging the Will. Mr. McAlindin filed a Verified Complaint seeking to have the late-stage Will declared invalid and not admitted to Probate based upon the suspicious circumstances surrounding the late-stage Will and the undue influence placed upon the decedent by the caretaker. The case settled with the friends receiving two thirds of the estate shortly after the deposition of the caretaker. Brian W. McAlindin, Esq. successfully challenged a late-stage Will of a 94-year-old woman wherein the decedent had left nearly her entire estate to her two best friends in a prior Will. 

For guidance on commercial or municipal permits, contact Brian McAlindin at 732-363-0666 Ext 249, or send him an email at bmcalindin@bathweg.com.

motorcycle accident attorney

$415,000 Settlement Won In Motorcycle Accident Claim

         Brian W. McAlindin, Esq. successfully obtained a settlement totaling $415,000 on behalf of a couple involved in a motorcycle accident following arbitration.  Plaintiffs were travelling on a motorcycle when a motor vehicle operator failed to observe a Stop sign at a “Y” intersection causing the motorcycle operator to lose control and dump his motorcycle in an effort to avoid defendant’s vehicle.  Defendant asserted no liability because no impact between the car and the motorcycle occurred.  The motorcycle operator was airlifted to a local trauma center with a trimalleolar ankle fracture requiring open reduction and internal fixation surgery and multiple dermal “road rash” abrasions.  His fiancé passenger sustained soft tissue neck and back injuries with an unoperated lumbar disc herniation, as well as road rash abrasions on her arms and legs.

We were successful in obtaining summary judgment on contributing liability on behalf of the motorcycle operator and his case settled for defendant’s per person policy limit of $250,000.  His passenger’s case settled for $165,000.

For guidance on commercial or municipal permits, contact Brian McAlindin at 732-363-0666 Ext 249, or send him an email at bmcalindin@bathweg.com.

Carteret ferry

Bathgate, Wegener & Wolf Obtains Permits For Carteret Ferry

              William J. Wolf, Esq. of Bathgate, Wegener & Wolf, P.C., provided legal services that helped the Borough of Carteret achieve the second major component of its plan to develop the municipal waterfront along the Arthur Kill in Middlesex County. Previously, Bill Wolf and a team of professionals mounted a bureaucratic battle to obtain the federal and state permits that were required to construct a 185-slip municipal marina.

              Now, the next part of Carteret’s waterfront project can begin. Recently, the Army Corps of Engineers issued the last permit required to build Carteret’s ferry terminal. As stated in a press release issued by Daniel Reiman, who is the Mayor of Carteret, “the permit follows years of work as well as fighting bureaucratic agencies at every level for the needed approvals.” The Mayor stated further that “soon commuters and others traveling to Manhattan will have a fast and direct route from Carteret, avoiding the high costs of gasoline and the frustrations of driving into the city through the tunnels or bridges.” Mayor Reiman also said in a statement “the permit grants approval for on-time construction dredging along the Arthur Kill for about 19,500 cubic yards to a maximum depth of 17 feet. The permit also allows Carteret to install about 130 feet of bulkhead, a 40-by-40-foot pier with two gangways for passengers to access the ferry, steel piling, bumpers and a 200-footlong wave screen.”

              Carteret is confident that its “ferry service is slated to provide reliable, quicker and more environmentally friendly transportation service to New York City, cutting travel times to Manhattan to under an hour, while reducing traffic congestion on the New Jersey Turnpike and approaches to the Holland and Lincoln tunnels by getting more commuters out of their cars, according to Carteret officials.” That conclusion is supported by several studies and reports.

              Bill Wolf is thankful for the opportunity that Mayor Daniel Reiman gave him to assist Carteret in reaching the two key elements of the rejuvenation of Carteret’s waterfront.

For guidance on commercial or municipal permits, contact William J. Wolf at 732-363-0666 Ext 225, or send him an email at wwolf@bathweg.com.