AGAINST ALL ODDS – A Case of Negligent Security by an Employer and a Public Entity Property Owner
This Essex County matter involved the severe beating suffered by our 62-year-old plaintiff and catechism worker at the hands of a criminal assailant while at work. The matter was settled by V&S partner, John M. Vlasac, Jr. who proved that the criminal who attacked the plaintiff was able to gain entrance to the building in which the plaintiff worked because of both negligent security measures and intentional conduct on behalf of the plaintiff’s employer.
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation law typically prevents suing one’s employer in a civil matter such as this which leaves only one venue – workers’ compensation court. However, after an elongated discovery period which required the discovery of fact witnesses who could provide testimony about the employer’s conduct and the evidence Mr. Vlasac was able to procure from the defendants themselves; the Court ruled in favor of our client allowing her to pursue her employer in this civil suit. Also, a workers’ compensation matter was allowed to be filed, given the involvement between the other public entity defendant and the plaintiff’s employer. This issue, dealing with a public entity defendant, is one which stymies most law firms and plaintiffs from being successful. This is due to the harsh requirements of the New Jersey Tort Claims Act and specific immunities that protect public entities like some hospitals, churches, and state and local bodies. Additionally, our attorneys had to fight off multiple attempts by the defense which alleged that all or most of the liability for our client’s injuries were the fault of the criminal defendant and not that of the employer or the public entity property owner defendant. Mr. Vlasac achieved rulings by the Court all but dismantling this defense tactic as well.
Our client suffered multiple injuries because of this attack. The most serious of which being a traumatic brain injury. The defense counsel highly contested this because of a preexisting brain disorder which the plaintiff allegedly suffered from called ADEM (Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis). Once more, however, through the procurement of high quality medical experts in the fields of neurology and neuropsychology, as well as functional capacity, Mr. Vlasac was able to prove to the defendants and their insurers that their argument of the preexisting brain disorder would fail at trial. Thus, the astounding award of $917,500 was achieved by Mr. Vlasac and his team against tremendous odds. The plaintiff and her family will be able to continue to have access to the treatment she will need to lead a normal life as well as have financial security despite not being able to work. In addition, the plaintiff will still receive a monetary award from her workers’ compensation matter which is still pending.
Partner John M. Vlasac, Jr.