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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

06/11/14 LITWIN, ETC. VS. WHIRLPOOL CORPORATION, A-0186-13T1


06/11/14 LITWIN, ETC. VS. WHIRLPOOL CORPORATION,
A-0186-13T1
       We reverse the trial court order granting summary judgment to defendants in connection with plaintiff's bystander liability claim under Portee v. Jaffee, 84 N.J.88 (1980). We concluded it was not necessary for plaintiff to have been in the house witnessing his son being engulfed in the fire in order to maintain his Portee claim. We concluded the fire was the injury-producing event, which plaintiff contemporaneously witnessed, having first been trapped in the home himself and, once rescued, aware that his son remained in the burning home.
       We also concluded the motion judge failed to view the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff by finding plaintiff's claimed severe emotional distress, evidenced by the diagnosis of Post Traumatic Distress Disorder, failed to raise a genuinely disputed issue of fact.