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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Richard Leidy v. County of Ocean

02-28-08 A-4127-06T2

In dismissing plaintiff's personal injury action against a
public entity (County of Monmouth), we held that where the
actual tortfeasor's identity has not been actively obscured and
plaintiff has not been thwarted in his or her own diligent
efforts to determine the responsible party, then plaintiff's
misidentification does not constitute an "extraordinary
circumstance" warranting relaxation of the Tort Claims Act 90-
day time constraint, N.J.S.A. 59:8-8.
Prompt inspection of the area within a reasonable time
following plaintiff's motorcycle accident would have led to
identification of the County of Monmouth as the party
responsible for maintaining the portion of the roadway,
bordering Ocean County, where the incident occurred. Moreover,
the delay in notice, occasioned by the lack of any reasonable
efforts by plaintiff in the interim 90 days to ascertain
ownership of the roadway, likely prejudiced defendant in its
efforts to investigate the accident scene which, due to time and
weather, may have changed.