Injury Attorney Shrubbery Case In New Jersey

Generally, an injury attorney representing a car accident victim sues the other driver. Occasionally, though, there may be other responsible parties. In fact, a recent New Jersey Supreme Court decision arose from such a case.

Alvin Townsend was riding a motorcycle in Willingboro. He approached an intersection. At the same time, Noah Pierre was driving a car into that intersection. Pierre intended to turn left.

A dental office occupied the corner to Pierre’s left. The dental premises was bounded by high shrubbery.

Pierre made the turn. His car struck Townsend, killing him.

Dangerous shrubbery case

Property Owner Sued By New Jersey Injury Attorney

Accordingly, Townsend’s family retained an injury attorney in New Jersey. The attorney sued Pierre. The attorney also sued the dental office. The injury attorney claimed that the shrubbery blocked Pierre’s view. Under a municipal ordinance, the shrubbery should have been trimmed. Therefore, the dental office was partially at fault.

The dental office asked the trial judge to dismiss it from the case. It noted that Pierre testified that nothing obstructed his view.

The injury attorney hired an engineer as an expert witness. The expert’s report claimed that Pierre’s view would have been blocked.

The trial judge agreed with the dental office. Thus, the judge removed the office from the case. The injury attorney appealed. An appeals court reversed the trial judge. The dental office was back in the case.

Now the dental office appealed. The New Jersey Supreme Court reversed the appeals court. Therefore, the dental office will not have to face a jury.

The Supreme Court premised its decision on Pierre’s testimony that his view was not blocked. No witness testified to the contrary.

However, there was a silver lining for future victims in the ruling. Imagine the expert had stated a more specific factual basis for his conclusions.  The Court implied that the result may have been different in such a case. Consequently, the injury attorney bar must be mindful of this requirement.

In my view, the New Jersey Supreme Court was wrong. A defendant’s self-serving testimony should not deny an injury victim’s family their day in court. If you find yourself in need of an injury attorney in the New Jersey area, please feel free to contact me.

The New Jersey Supreme Court decision may be found here.


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