In Memorium – Donald J. P. Sweeney – 1938-2021Please Click Here
01Oct 2018

Sweeney & Sheehan Associates Elizabeth Weber and Joseph Hauschildt recently prevailed in New Jersey’s Appellate Division in Larry Pitt v. Tyrus Chi, LLC and Michael P. O’Connell, a case involving allegations of violation of the Consumer Fraud Act (CFA), common law fraud, and defamation per se. Mr. Hauschildt, a former Appellate Division clerk, wrote the brief, and Ms. Weber argued the case.

Plaintiff was an owner at a condominium complex in which defendants operated a café. Plaintiff dined at the café on many occasions. On one specific occasion, plaintiff and defendant discussed plaintiff’s insufficient tipping. As a result of this conversation and at plaintiff’s recommendation, the next time that plaintiff dined at the café, defendant included a gratuity on plaintiff’s bill as a separate line item. Plaintiff was told of the gratuity before he paid and refused to pay the gratuity as listed. A dispute arose between plaintiff and defendant, and defendant asked plaintiff to leave the café. Plaintiff refused and defendant called police to remove the plaintiff. Defendant reported to the dispatcher that plaintiff was causing problems and refusing to leave the café. He also reported that plaintiff was pushing his dining companion. Police responded and plaintiff eventually left the café. He did not pay any gratuity. Defendant banned plaintiff from the café as a result of the incident.

The Appellate Division found that plaintiff was unable to prove that he suffered an ascertainable loss as a result of the incident as required to support a CFA claim. The Appellate Division also dismissed plaintiff’s common law fraud claim because no misrepresentation was made to the plaintiff concerning the gratuity. Finally, the Court dismissed plaintiff’s defamation per se claim because he was unable to prove that the statement made to the police by the defendant was false. Moreover, plaintiff provided no competent evidence to support his contention that the statement made to police denigrated his reputation.

 

 

Donald J. P. Sweeney, Esquire

1938-2021

Sweeney & Sheehan mourns the loss of its founder, Donald J.P. Sweeney, Esquire, on June 8, 2021. He was a proud graduate of St. Athanasius Catholic School, St. Joseph's Preparatory School, Villanova University and Temple Law School. He practiced law for nearly 40 years, and founded Sweeney & Sheehan in 1971. He was active litigator and he specialized in catastrophic product liability cases. Don supported his children's activities, serving as soccer coach at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church and President of the CYO. He was a lector for nearly 48 years and a member of the choir. He was an active supporter of St. Joseph's Prep and was awarded the Alumnus of the Year Award in 1999 and the Rev. Charles Schnorr, SJ '37 Service Award in 2005. He retired from the practice of law in 2004.

Don is survived by his wife of 59 years, Ann, his children, Shannon, Patrick, Daniel, Gerard and Suzanne, and ten grandchildren.

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