Saturday, March 01, 2008

Notice of Claim must be served on correct Public Entity or Personal Injury case dismissed

Leidy v. County of Ocean 02-28-08

In dismissing plaintiff's personal injury action against a public entity (County of Monmouth), the Court held that where the actual tortfeasor's identity has not been actively obscured and plaintiff has not been thwarted in his or her own diligent efforts to determine the responsible party, then plaintiff's misidentification does not constitute an "extraordinary circumstance" warranting relaxation of the Tort Claims Act 90- day time constraint, N.J.S.A. 59:8-8.

Prompt inspection of the area within a reasonable time following plaintiff's motorcycle accident would have led to identification of the County of Monmouth as the party responsible for maintaining the portion of the roadway, bordering Ocean County, where the incident occurred. Moreover, the delay in notice, occasioned by the lack of any reasonable efforts by plaintiff in the interim 90 days to ascertain ownership of the roadway, likely prejudiced defendant in its efforts to investigate the accident scene which, due to time and weather, may have changed.