Publication Details

John V. Mallon, Ryan J. Gaffney and Richard W. Fogarty Defend Appeal

John V. Mallon, Ryan J. Gaffney and Richard W. Fogarty successfully defended an appeal before the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division on behalf of a driver insured by Allstate New Jersey Insurance Company.  In the matter of Paramel v. Martinez, plaintiff alleged personal injuries following a motor vehicle accident which occurred on Route 7 in Jersey City, New Jersey.  On the night of the accident, a truck driven by a third-party defendant leaked hazardous sewage onto the roadway, which created a slippery condition.  The Firm’s client later slipped on this material, causing her to lose control of her vehicle and strike plaintiff’s car.  At the Trial Court level, the claim against the Firm’s client was dismissed by way of Summary Judgment.  On appeal, plaintiff sought to overturn the Summary Judgment, arguing that there was sufficient evidence to maintain a claim against the other driver.  Mr. Mallon, Mr. Gaffney and Mr. Fogarty successfully persuaded the Appellate Court that pursuant to the seminal case of Mockler v. Russman, the mere fact that driver loses control of a vehicle on a slippery roadway does not establish negligence of that driver if he or she is operating his car in a reasonable manner under the circumstances. Since there was no evidence that the Firm’s client knew or should have known of the sludge-like material in the roadway or could have engaged in any evasive maneuvers to avoid the accident, the Summary Judgment ruling was affirmed.