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Recent Litigation Results

30Jan 2024

On January 25th, Partner Neal Thakkar prevailed in the New Jersey Appellate Division in New Jersey Manufacturer’s Ins. Co. v. Lallygone L.L.C., in which the Court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the action for failure to state a claim, finding that res judicata precluded an insurer from litigating a subrogation action against a contractor where its insured homeowner, after receiving payment from the insurer for a covered loss, sued in his own right for breach of contract and consumer fraud without notifying the insurer, tried the case, and lost.  The insurer, unaware of the underlying litigation and its outcome, subsequently filed a subrogation action against the contractor.  Although the insurer was never placed on notice of the underlying action, it was nevertheless bound by the no cause verdict against its insured rendered after a full and fair hearing in a court of competent jurisdiction.

20Nov 2023

Partner Lou Vogel  prevailed on an appeal in the New Jersey Appellate Division seeking to reverse the entry of summary judgment in favor of an HVAC contractor in a lawsuit arising out of a catastrophic fire involving residential property.   Plaintiff’s complaint alleged common law fraud, violations of the Consumer Fraud Act (CFA), N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 to -227, and negligence.  The trial Court granted summary judgment after concluding that Plaintiff’s engineering expert failed to provide an admissible opinion concerning duty or causation.   The Appellate Division agreed the expert reports constituted inadmissible net opinion as to duty and causation.  The Court further held that the CFA claims failed due to Plaintiff’s failure to establish causation through admissible expert opinion, which rendered Plaintiff unable to prove an ascertainable loss related to any alleged violation of the Act.

20Nov 2023

On November 13th, 2023, Partner Denise Montgomery obtained summary judgment on behalf of a property owner in Philadelphia County.  Plaintiff was a tavern operator seeking damages related to a fire in the bar they operated inside a hotel pursuant to a management Agreement with a third-party tenant of the property.  Plaintiff sued the property owner and not that tenant.  The property owner argued that it was a landlord out of possession and owed no duty to the Plaintiff.  In addition, Defendant argued that Plaintiff failed to produce evidence in support of liability or damages and that expert opinions on causation were required.  The Court entered summary judgment against the Plaintiff and dismissed the action with prejudice.

08Nov 2023

On October 31, 2023 Partner Brian Dib obtained summary judgment in the District of New Jersey.  Plaintiff, a guest of a hotel and casino, tripped and fell on a raised boardwalk plank located outside the hotel entrance when exiting the property to walk to the beach.  Plaintiff filed negligence claims against the hotel.  The Court granted summary judgment, concluding the hotel and casino did not have a duty to maintain the adjacent boardwalk.

25Oct 2023

On October 18, 2023 Partner Brian Dib obtained summary judgment in the U.S.D.C. for the District of New Jersey for a casino client in a premises liability case.  The plaintiff, a casino employee, tripped and fell on a sidewalk adjacent to her employer’s property while on her way to work.  She filed a claim after the incident and received workers’ compensation benefits.  The Court granted summary judgment, concluding that the third-party lawsuit was barred due to the exclusive remedy provision of the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act.

14Aug 2023

On August 7, 2023, Sweeney & Sheehan Partner Denise Montgomery obtained Summary Judgment on behalf of an excavating company named as an Additional Defendant in a construction defect action initiated by a condominium association against a developer in Montgomery County (Pennsylvania).  The claim arose from the construction of 387 condominium units in three multi-story buildings.  The excavating company performed multiple scopes of work related to the project, however the developer’s Joinder Complaint only asserted claims for breach of contract, negligent construction, and failure to procure insurance relating to the installation of sidewalks.  The developer failed to produce an expert report regarding sidewalks, but opposed the motion and sought leave to amend to include claims for non-sidewalk work completed by the excavating company.  The Court held that (1) the claim was limited to the allegations regarding sidewalks; (2) the record of devoid of any expert opinion to support that claim; and (3) dismissed all claims for defect sidewalks asserted against the excavation contractor.

13Jul 2023

On June 23, 2023 Partner Guy Mercogliano prevailed on an appeal to reinstate a counterclaim in Superior Court of New Jersey against a dog owner by a dog training school that sold the dog to its present owner.  The ruling clarifies that parental immunity does not apply to claims under the dog-bite statute.  Defendant argued that the victim’s parents and third-party defendant are liable for the injuries suffered by their son after he was attacked by their family dog, which they adopted from the dog training school.  The Appellate division concurred and reversed the lower Court’s ruling dismissing the counterclaim and third-party claim.

12Jun 2023

On June 9, 2023, Sweeney & Sheehan Partner Denise Montgomery obtained a dismissal with prejudice of a construction defect action filed in Ocean County (New Jersey) against a contractor arising from the construction of a single-family home.  Plaintiff asserted causes of action including negligence, breach of express and implied warranties, common law fraud and violations of the New Jersey CFA.  It was revealed during dispositive motions that Plaintiff, a foreign limited partnership, failed to obtain a certificate of authority to transact business in New Jersey pursuant to N.S. Stat. § 42:2A-60, a prerequisite to maintaining an action.  The Court agreed that the limited partnership, formed in 2003 for investing and the development of real estate, transacted business in the State by virtue of buying and developing the property and utilizing the property as corporate headquarters for another entity operated by the managing partner.

17May 2023

On May 17, 2023 Sweeney & Sheehan Partner Denise Montgomery obtained Summary Judgment in Atlantic County (New Jersey) Superior Court in favor of a contractor who installed pilings for a new home in Margate, New Jersey.  Defendant argued that the work was monitored and documented to meet the standards set forth in NJAC 12:160 and that the pile driving is not an abnormally dangerous activity under State or Maritime law.  The Court held that lay witnesses could not testify that they experienced “excessive vibrations,” and also barred the opinion of the Plaintiffs’ expert as a Net Opinion pursuant to R. 703.

27Apr 2023

On April 20, 2023 Sweeney & Sheehan Partner Denise Montgomery obtained a dismissal with prejudice of a subrogation action filed in Bergen County (New Jersey) Superior Court against an entity which designed and installed shoring in a residential garage that collapsed during the project.  The Defendant filed a motion to dismiss based upon the doctrine of Res Judicata and a violation of the entire controversy doctrine.  Following argument, the Court determined that a counterclaim filed by the homeowner/insured resulted in a full and complete adjudication of claims arising out of the Defendant’s work on the project, and failure of the homeowner to advise its insurer of the prior litigation did not bar dismissal of the litigation.