New Jersey Appellate Court Upholds Victory for OS Client

July 8, 2024

On June 6, 2024, the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of OS’s client, a commercial property management company. The plaintiff filed suit alleging she sustained severe injuries due to a fall in a parking lot of a commercial shopping center. She alleged that her fall caused injuries to her neck, shoulders, back, and toe. She underwent cervical spine surgery, was under consideration for a cervical fusion, and underwent multiple pain management procedures to her cervical and lumbar spine. A recent shoulder MRI revealed a tear, and surgery was likely. In addition to damages for pain and suffering, the plaintiff sought more than $250,000 from the defendants for her outstanding medical bills and would have claimed even more damages for the recommended future medical treatment if the case went to trial. The plaintiff also claimed the injury caused her to leave her job and sought damages for her reduced earnings.

OS’s client was a late addition to the case via an amended complaint. Despite this, the firm spearheaded the defense to the benefit of all defendants, demonstrating that its client reasonably performed its property management duties and did not cause harm to the plaintiff. The case was then postured for summary judgment, highlighting that there were no defects in the property and plaintiff’s evidence was completely lacking. The trial court agreed, finding that the evidence presented to support plaintiff’s case was not credible. On appeal, the Appellate Division affirmed, finding that plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence to permit a rational factfinder to find the existence of a dangerous condition. While rare, this decision demonstrates that defendants can prevail on summary judgment due to a lack of proofs, if the defense is handled appropriately from the outset.

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