Plaintiff suffered injuries while a forty-year-old man struck a piñata at a birthday party. The judge charged both Model Jury Charges (Civil), 5.20F(4), "Social Guest – Defined and General Duty Owed" (rev. Dec. 2014) (the Model Charge), and Exception (2) to the Model Charge. That exception states that "[i]n cases where the host is conducting some 'activity' on the premises at the time of [the] guest’s presence, [the host] is under an obligation to exercise reasonable care for the protection of [the] guest." This court held that when a plaintiff sustains an injury resulting solely from an "activity" on the host's property – as opposed to an injury caused by a combination of that activity and a physical dangerous condition on the property – then the judge should only charge Exception (2).
The panel reverses the trial court's summary judgment dismissal of plaintiff L.E.'s complaint that she was sexually assaulted in a high school bathroom during class hours as a result of the negligent supervision of defendant school board and its employees. The court holds that negligent supervision is distinct from a claimed failure to provide police protection services, or to enforce laws, for which the Tort Claims Act provides immunity, under N.J.S.A. 59:5-4, N.J.S.A. 59:3-5, and N.J.S.A. 59:2-4. Therefore, the trial court erred in relying on the Act in dismissing the complaint. Noting that the duty to supervise students during school hours on school property is well-established, the panel concludes that a jury could reasonably find that defendants violated the duty under the facts presented; and, despite the students' independent acts, the negligent supervision was a proximate cause of L.E.'s injuries.
Plaintiff filed a complaint that alleged five notices of intention to foreclose served on him by defendant BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP. (BAC) violated the Fair Foreclosure Act. He asserted that BAC – the alleged servicer of loans made in 2007 when plaintiff purchased his residence – neglected to include the name and address of the lender. Although no foreclosure action followed on the heels of these notices, plaintiff claims these FFA violations – not actionable on their own – may form the basis of a claim under the New Jersey Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (TCCWNA). Consequently, he argues that the trial judge erred in dismissing the complaint by applying the litigation privilege and by holding that the alleged FFA violation cannot support a TCCWNA claim. The court rejected the application of the litigation privilege but because the legal grounds upon which the latter determination was based have shifted since the trial judge's decision and the perfection of this appeal, see Spade v. Select Comfort Corp., 232 N.J. 504 (2018), the court vacated the order of dismissal and remanded to allow for an amended pleading expressing the true nature of his damage claim.
In this medical malpractice action, plaintiffs claimed the board certified defendant doctors deviated from the standard of care in their specialties of pediatrics and pediatric critical care. The trial court barred the testimony of plaintiffs' expert, finding he did not satisfy the requirements of the New Jersey Medical Care Access and Responsibility and Patients First Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-37 to -42. More particularly, the trial court found that although the expert was board certified in pediatrics and pediatric critical care, he was not qualified to testify under the Act because, at the time of the alleged malpractice, he did not spend a majority of his professional time in either active clinical practice in the specialties, as required by N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-41(a)(2)(a), or instructing students in the specialties as required by N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-41(a)(2)(b).
The court reverses and holds the expert satisfied the Act's qualification requirements. The court determined the evidence established the expert practiced in the same specialties as the defendant doctors, and thereby met the requirements of N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-41(a). The court further concluded that where the alleged malpractice occurred during the practice in a specialty recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties and a defendant doctor is board certified in the specialty, the plaintiffs' expert must also satisfy either the requirements of N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-41(a)(1) or N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-41(a)(2). The court found the trial court erred by finding the expert was required to satisfy the requirements of either N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-41(a)(2)(a) or (b) where the evidence otherwise established the expert was credentialed at a hospital to treat patients for the condition at the time of the alleged malpractice, and thereby satisfied the requirements of N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-41(a)(1).
In this employment case, plaintiff asserted claims for violations of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 to -49, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial court granted defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint, finding plaintiff was obligated to litigate her claims in arbitration pursuant to an agreement she executed when she was hired. The agreement also included a punitive damages waiver, which the trial court determined was enforceable.
The court affirmed the order dismissing the complaint, finding the agreement satisfied the requirements established in Atalese v. U.S. Legal Services Group, L.P., 219 N.J. 430 (2014), and therefore plaintiff was obligated to prosecute her claims in arbitration. The court, however, modified the order, holding the punitive damages waiver is unenforceable because it violates the public policy underlying the LAD. The court further concluded the waiver should be severed from the agreement, and directed that the matter proceed to arbitration with plaintiff able to pursue her punitive damages claim.