Articles Posted in New Jersey Lawyers

According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), nearly five million people are bitten by dogs in the U.S. every year, many of them children bitten by pets. Dog bites can cause severe puncture wounds and lacerations, and even serious tissue and nerve damage if the bite is deep enough, and transmit diseases including rabies.

In most personal injury cases, the onus is on the person who brings the lawsuit to prove that the defendant’s negligent acts caused them measurable harm. Dog bite cases are among the few exceptions. Dog owners in New Jersey are subject to strict liability for bite injuries caused by their dogs, which means that the bite victim doesn’t have to prove the owner neglected to use reasonable care to successfully sue for damages in most instances.

New Jersey Statutes section 4:19-16 imposes automatic liability on the dog’s owner 1) when the person bitten is in a public place or lawfully in a private place, 2) regardless of any prior aggression by the dog or its owner’s knowledge of it. The owner is liable even if he or she took reasonable steps to leash or restrain the dog and even if it has never bitten or hurt anyone before.

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.

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.

In New Jersey and across the United States, nursing home abuse cases have been on the rise. In fact, at Boonton Care Center in Morris County, NJ, a patient was recently pulled off of the toilet by her hair at the hands of an abusive CNA (certified nursing assistant). As with many nursing home abuse cases, witnesses can be intimidated and refrain from reporting the poor behavior. To complicate matters, many victims of nursing home abuse are incoherent and suffer from degenerative diseases such as Alzheimers and dementia that can make it difficult for them to recall traumatic abuses. Typically, residents without regular visits from loved ones and friends are most susceptible to nursing home abuse.

Nursing Home Abuse in New Jersey

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “abuse related citations nationwide are on the rise, jumping from 3,083 in 2016 to 4,107 in 2018”. Last year alone, there were over 350 complaints filed to the hotline controlled by New Jersey’s long term care ombudsman. Clocking in at 364 reported incidents, the bulk of nursing home abuse cases in New Jersey in 2018 are classified as “resident-to-resident physical or sexual abuse”. Notably, verbal abuse is another popular mechanism of mistreatment at long-term care facilities.

A wrongful death lawsuit was recently filed by the fiancée of treasured New Jersey school principal Derrick Nelson, following his April 7, 2019 death. Nelson, 44, was the principal of Westfield High School in Westfield, New Jersey, and died while receiving bone marrow transplant surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center. Nelson was undergoing the surgery in order to donate his bone marrow to a 14-year old boy suffering from cancer in France, when the procedure went awry. Nelson’s fiancée Sheronda Braker has sought the counsel of New Jersey wrongful death attorneys to litigate this matter.

Nelson perished after falling into a coma during the transplant surgery. According to his family, Nelson should have not been administered anesthesia during the surgery due to preconditions such as sleep apnea and being overweight, which medical personnel should have recognized. The lawsuit acknowledges that Nelson had an oxygen level of 91 when he was administered anesthesia, which is not considered medically appropriate.

According to the suit, filed by Nelson’s fiancée Sheronda Braker, the eleven defendants breached the standard of care by taking too long to recognize the bradycardia that Nelson was suffering from, and failing to provide adequate ventilation, eventually leading to Nelson’s coma.

Aretsky Law Group, P.C., is proud to announce the addition of Christen Kohut Gross, Esq., to our staff.

Christen Kohut Gross, Esq., who recently joined the staff at Aretsky Law Group, P.C., earned a B.A. from Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT, and a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark, NJ. She served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Harry G. Carroll, P.J.S.C., Superior Court of New Jersey, Criminal Division, Bergen Vicinage for the 2005/2006 term.

In 2016, Ms. Gross was selected as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers. No more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in New Jersey are named to the Rising Stars list. Their selection process can be viewed at In addition, in 2016, the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys selected her to their exclusive list of the 10 Best Under 40 Family Law attorneys in NJ. Their selection process can be viewed at

chat_natalieIn October 2015, Natalie Esposito Capano was awarded with The Peter W. Rodino, Jr. Society Seton Hall University School of Law Excellence in Achievement Award. Our many congratulations go out to her on this incredible achievement.

Natalie is skilled in negotiation and mediation and is an experienced litigator with 12 years of experience in complex legal research, including not only divorce law, but workers compensation and real estate law.

You can see Natalie’s biography here.

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