Articles Posted in Law in the News

Declaring that the Covid-19 crisis exposed and exacerbated pre-existing, longstanding problems within New Jersey nursing homes, two Democratic state legislators have introduced a series of bills designed to ensure long-term care facilities are better prepared to weather future emergencies and deliver “the highest quality care possible.”

State Senator Joseph Vitale and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle on July 31 announced legislation that is intended to put into effect recommendations made in an independent organization’s report on New Jersey nursing homes and their response to Covid-19. The bills’ backers reportedly hope to get the legislation fast-tracked through the senate and assembly and to the governor’s desk.

The bills seek to impose better protections for staff and residents in the event of public health emergencies, as well as improve resident care and the working environment.

In the recent Middlesex County NJ case Gaguancela v. BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc, Norma Gaguancela was awarded a net verdict of $850,000 after falling and slipping at a BJ’s store location in East Rutherford, NJ. The floor at this particular location became slippery after a broken pipe led to water accumulation. According to reports, Gaguancela slipped and fell in the frozen food section on June 27, 2016. Gaguancela’s knee injuries include damage to both the meniscus and cartilage, and tears in her hip and shoulder. Medical expenses such as knee and ankle surgery were accrued in order to help Gaguancela recover. 

According to court records, Gaguancela, who is 64, stopped working as a bus driver due to impediments sustained from these injures. As such, the total suit claims $230,000 in medical bills and $122,000 in wage loss.  

In response, BJ’s claimed that Gaguancela’s pre-existing medical conditions are also causative factors that lead to her injuries. Accordingly, the Court allocated 15% of the blame to Gaguancela, reducing the total sum awarded from $1,000,000 to $850,000. 

A prominent New Jersey personal injury case, Tomasi v. ShopRitewas recently settled on February 25, 2019. As the case details, Woodbridge resident Michael Tomasi slipped on grapes in the produce department of ShopRite in Woodbridge, NJ in December of 2015. While he did not directly fall onto the ground, Tomasi had to contort his body in an unnatural position in order to brace himself from further injury. Following the slip, Tomasi immediately experienced strong neck pain.

Since Tomasi already suffered from a pre-existing neck injury, the slip escalated his current conditions. As a result, he needed two surgeries. One of these surgeries was a spinal fusion surgery, which is known to be particularly intensive. According to the plaintiffs (Michael Tomasi and his wife Alison), ShopRite was responsible for cleaning the aisles of the store in order to maintain the safety of shoppers.

As with other tort and negligence cases, assessing the legal liability of the accused party can be accomplished by evaluating four critical elements of a personal injury case. These elements are duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.

Following a spike in the number of pedestrian strikes and personal injuries, North Haledon in Passaic County recently reduced speed limits on numerous roads in mid-February. The new ordinance dictates speed limit reductions on Belmont Avenue, High Mountain Road, North Haledon Avenue, and Squaw Brook Road.

Despite adequate notice being provided to local motorists, speeding violations have increased significantly since the ordinance was put into effect nearly six months ago. In fact, the amount of speeding tickets issued on those roads has increased from 13 to 148 during the year. Drivers who are issued speeding tickets typically pay between $85 and $420 in fines, depending on the particular incident and its severity. Contrary to assumption, these fees are usually allocated amongst the municipality, county government, and state government.

Officials reiterate that safety is the cornerstone of this new ordinance, citing over 200 car accidents in a 1.2 mile radius. Last year, an elderly man was hit on the road’s busiest stretch, and was seriously injured. Despite hospitalization, he has never recovered fully and still suffers from these personal injuries.

Law Day 2017 & The Fourteenth Amendment : Transforming American Democracy

May 1 has been proclaimed Law Day by every President of the United States since Dwight D. Eisenhower. It is observed throughout the nation as a day to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy, to reflect upon the ideals of liberty and justice that we hold dear, and to instill—especially in young people—an abiding respect for the law.

Every year the American Bar Association chooses a different theme for the observation. This year’s choice is “The Fourteenth Amendment: Transforming Democracy.”

marcia-werner-award-200x300Marcia K. Werner of Aretsky Law Group, P.C., located in Hackensack, NJ, has been named Professional Lawyer of the Year for 2016 by the Bergen County Bar Association and the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law. This prestigious award is bestowed annually upon lawyers throughout the state whose “conduct, competence and demeanor set a positive example for others in the legal profession.” It is presented in the memory of the Honorable Peter Ciolino.  The award is granted in memory of the distinguished jurist and attorney whose nearly 50-year career left an indelible impression on the legal profession in New Jersey.  The award presentation dinner was held on October 20, 2016 at Seasons in Washington Township, New Jersey.

Ms. Werner received the Commission on Professionalism in the Law’s Professional Lawyer of the Year Award during a ceremony on November 3, 2016 at the Imperia in Somerset. N.J. The Commission bestows the Professional Lawyer of the Year award annually to one lawyer from each county bar association across the state, as well from each affinity bar association in the state.

Ms. Werner is widely respected, having served as President of the Bergen County Bar Foundation, as Vice-President of Women Lawyers in Bergen, and as a Trustee of the Bergen County Bar Association.

aretsky attorney natalie esposito capanoAretsky Law Group is honored that one of its dedicated attorneys, Natalie Esposito Capano, will be volunteering her time and expertise to neighboring New Jersey schools as a way to encourage this year’s observance of Law Day. Law Day is not a government holiday, but beginning in 1958, the first of May has been officially declared Law Day by every President of the United States.

On May 2nd, Ms. Capano will speak to various groups of students at Brookside School in Allendale, NJ, as well as with justice-studies students at Montclair State University. The subject of both presentations will be Miranda: Not Just Words, which is the theme of Law Day 2016. It was selected to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that resulted in the requirement that law enforcement officials warn those in custody of their rights.

Ms. Capano was quoted in the press release as saying, “Nothing is more important than our kids and their education. I am honored to speak to the students and provide information which will not only help my own children but also bring value to all children in our district. Taking part in Law Day observances offers me a way to share my knowledge and give back to my community.

lawday-300x150What is Law Day? Law Day is observed in many communities throughout the United States as a day to appreciate our American heritage of liberty, justice and equality under the law. It is a day to reflect on the importance of the rule of law in our society and to reflect on how fortunate we are to live in a nation that affords us the rights and protections under those laws. This 2016 year, Law Day will focus its theme on our “Miranda” Rights.

Law Day is not a holiday; it is an observance. Banks, post offices, and government offices do not close. Neither do schools. In fact, many Law Day activities focus on education. We see yearly writing contests, art contests, and other competitions and activities centered around the theme of the law for that year. Special Law Day programs are also held. An example is the one sponsored yearly by the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex Vicinage. Some school districts invite attorneys to their classrooms to discuss their particular area of expertise: Criminal Law, Domestic Violence issues or other Family Law matters, etc.

The first Law Day was observed on May 1, 1958. It was proclaimed by President Eisenhower to celebrate our legal system and honor the importance of the rule of law in the founding of our nation. Three years later–in April 1961—the United States Congress passed a joint resolution recognizing May 1 as Law Day.

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