In Memorium – Donald J. P. Sweeney – 1938-2021Please Click Here

Recent Litigation Results

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.

22Feb 2023

On February 3, 2023, Sweeney & Sheehan Partners Christopher O’Connell and Frank Gattuso won a defense verdict on behalf of their Retail & Hospitality client after a week-long jury trial in Atlantic County (New Jersey) Superior Court.  The Plaintiff alleged she was injured when she slipped and fell due to improperly maintained floors adjacent to a buffet.  The defense presented evidence that Plaintiff created the condition she eventually fell on.  The jury also heard extensive evidence of prior and subsequent accidents related to the injuries the Plaintiff alleged were caused by the fall.  The jury of 8 rendered a verdict of no cause in favor of the Defendant.

11Jan 2023

Sweeney & Sheehan partner Louis J. Vogel, Jr. recently obtained summary judgment on behalf of a licensed optometrist and his practice for claims of professional and medical negligence in the New Jersey Superior Court, Law Division, Essex County. Plaintiff alleged that the defendants deviated from the standard of care in diagnosing and treating a retinal detachment, resulting in permanent vision loss, multiple surgical interventions and substantial loss of income. After briefing and argument, the Court agreed with the defendants that the plaintiff had failed to meet their burden of proof.

20Dec 2022

On December 9, 2022, the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed a summary judgment order obtained in Hunterdon County by Sweeney & Sheehan Partner Michael Kunsch in favor of a restaurant franchisee. Plaintiffs alleged they sustained injuries when a sinkhole developed under their vehicle while they were exiting the drive-thru. The Appellate Division agreed with the trial court that there was no evidence that the condition existed before the incident or that the defendant had notice of the alleged dangerous condition.

18Jul 2022

Sweeney & Sheehan Partner Robyn Farrell McGrath recently represented a commercial property owner and received a compulsory non-suit at the end of the Plaintiff’s case in a premises liability action tried in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. The 51 year old Plaintiff had suffered bilateral lower extremity fractures after falling from a 16’ extension ladder and was claiming permanent disability as a result of his injuries. Plaintiff sued both a tenant and the property owner, arguing that the property owner reserved control over portions of the leased spaced where the accident occurred and over the ladder in question. After three days of trial, the Court agreed that the property owner owed no duty to the Plaintiff under the circumstances presented in the case and granted a non-suit to the property owner. The trial proceeded against the co-defendant tenant to a Plaintiff’s verdict.

18Jul 2022

On July 15, 2022, Sweeney & Sheehan Partner Michael Kunsch won a unanimous defense verdict in a product liability case following a 4 day jury trial in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The Plaintiff sustained injuries after falling from a steel rolling tower scaffold in the course of his employment as a union carpenter. At trial, Plaintiff pursued a consumer expectations theory of design defect against the distributor of the scaffold.