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Plaintiff F.K. appeals the trial court's December 11, 2018 order granting summary judgment to defendant Integrity House and dismissing her complaint with prejudice. The trial court determined that defendant was entitled to immunity from plaintiff's negligence action under New Jersey's Charitable Immunity Act ("the Act"), N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-7 to -11. On appeal, plaintiff contends that the amount of private contributions received by defendant, roughly $250,000 or 1.26% of annual revenue, is too insignificant to entitle defendant to charitable immunity.
"Charitable immunity is an affirmative defense, as to which, like all affirmative defenses, defendants bear the burden of persuasion." Abdallah v. Occupational Ctr. of Hudson Cty., Inc., 351 N.J. Super. 280, 288 (App. Div. 2002). The court concludes that defendant did not present sufficient evidence to support its entitlement to the affirmative defense of charitable immunity. The summary judgment record does not allow for a conclusive determination as to the source and use of Integrity House's funding. Therefore, the court is unable to determine whether Integrity House receives substantial funding from private contributions or relieves the government from a burden it would otherwise have to perform, as is required to be entitled to charitable immunity.
In addition, although a determination of the specific percentage of funding Integrity House receives from private contributions is not necessary for the court's analysis, the court notes that no published case has granted charitable immunity to a non-religious, non-educational entity with such a small portion of funding from private contributions.
Accordingly, the court reverses the trial court's grant of summary judgment.