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Attorney Eric Kahn settled $4.65M in drunk driving and dram shop claims

Javerbaum Wurgaft in Top 20 for Personal Injury Award

Personal Injury Attorney Eric Kahn Recognized for $4.65 Million Combined Settlement in Drunk Driving and Dram Shop Claims

By JW Law

Eric Kahn, the managing partner at Javerbaum Wurgaft, was recently recognized in the August 28, 2017 edition of the New Jersey Law Journal for obtaining one of the top 20 personal injury recoveries in New Jersey in 2017.

Each year, the American Lawyer Media’s New Jersey Law Journal ranks the top 20 personal injury recoveries in a special edition of its publication. With a combined total settlement of $4.65 million, the award achieved by Mr. Kahn ranked 11th overall as the largest in the State.

The case, Tulli v. Feist, involved a head-on collision caused by a drunk driver. Mr. Kahn and Javerbaum Wurgaft have a long history of successfully holding drivers, bars, and restaurants responsible in dram shop and drunk driving cases.

Mr. Kahn represented Deborah Tulli, one of three victims involved in the June 4, 2013 crash. On that date, after being served while intoxicated at Ciro’s Ristorante Italiano in Monroe Township, Ernest Feist, driving over 100 mph on Hoffman Station Road, struck Ms. Tulli head-on causing her tocollide with a third vehicle. As a result of the forceful collision, Ms. Tulli suffered multiple fractures and underwent several surgeries.

Attorney Eric Kahn settled $4.65M in drunk driving and dram shop claims

The passenger in Mr. Feist’s vehicle and the driver of the third vehicle were also injured as a result of the crash. At the time of the collision, Mr. Feist had a blood-alcohol concentration of .204, more than twice the legal limit of .08 for operating a vehicle. Mr. Feist was driving a vehicle registered to his business, Feist Engineering.

Suits by Ms. Tulli and the other two plaintiffs were consolidated and the subject of two settlement conferences before Superior Court Judge Jessica Mayer in Middlesex County. On Nov. 4, 2016, the case settled for $4.65 million, with $3.9 million paid by insurance carriers for Mr. Feist and Feist Engineering, and another $750,000 paid by the carrier for Ciro’s Ristorante Italiano.

“While my client will never fully recover from her injuries, it was important to hold both the drunk driver responsible as well as the restaurant that over-served him on the afternoon of the accident. Our dram shop laws are designed not only to compensate victims of accidents involving drunk drivers but also to act as a deterrent to establishments that are more concerned about profits from selling alcohol rather than the safety of others,” said Mr. Kahn.

Tulli received $3.1 million under the settlement.

Javerbaum Wurgaft was also recognized in the special edition of the Law Journal for the firm’s $2.7 million settlement in a products liability case. David Wikstrom, a partner at Javerbaum Wurgaft, represented the plaintiff, Tulio Martinez-Carassco, who lost his arm while cleaning food preparation equipment at a sausage plant in 2013.
[Read Related: Javerbaum Wurgaft Attorneys Answer the Call for Victims of Drunk Driving]

Honest belief rule

What Happens When an Employer Honestly (but Mistakenly) Believes Its Employee Has Misused Medical or Family Leave? Read on

By JW Law
We’ve all heard the saying that “honesty is the best policy.” Well, what about an honest mistake? What happens when an employer discharges an employee because it honestly (but mistakenly) believes the employee has misused leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? Can an honest mistake defense be enough to fend off an employee’s FMLA retaliation claim? In one word- Yes.

 
In a recent ruling, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals stated that an employer’s honest belief- even if mistaken- is sufficient to defeat FMLA retaliation claim.

 

In an article titled “Employer’s ‘Honest Belief’ Is Complete Defense to FMLA Retaliation Claim,” for the New Jersey Law Journal, Javerbaum Wurgaft employment attorney Andrew Moskowitz discussed the Honest Belief rule with regards to Capps v. Mondelez Global.

 
To Read the full article: Click Here

 
In this particular case the plaintiff employee, Fredrick Capps, suffered from Avascular Necrosis, which was a “loss of blood flow, severely limiting oxygen and nutrient delivery to the bone and tissues, essentially suffocating and causing death of those cells.” Capps developed arthritis in both hips which necessitated bilateral hip replacement in 2003. He experienced severe pain, sometimes lasting for days or weeks at times. He was continuously re-certified for intermittent FMLA leave until 2014 when his employer at Mondelez, terminated his employment for violating a policy concerning dishonesty.

Honest belief rule
The employer claimed that Capps had used FMLA leave for dates related to his conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. Capps argued that Mondelez: (1) interfered with his rights under the FMLA; (2) acted in retaliation to Capps’ proper use of FMLA leave; and (3) violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 
The court found that Mondelez had provided a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for terminating Capps. In so holding, the Third Circuit agreed that when an employee is discharged because of an employer’s “honest mistake,” employment laws “offer no protection.” The Court gave employers who purport to terminate employees because they are misusing their FMLA leave an ironclad defense. As long as the employer asserts that it “honestly believed” that the employee was misusing his or her leave, this defense is sufficient as a matter of law to defeat an FMLA retaliation claim.

 

The lesson from the Capps case for employees is dot your ‘i’s and cross your ‘t’s. If you are requesting a leave, make sure that you submit your documentation to your employer in a timely fashion. Respond promptly to any requests for additional information and, most importantly, do not make any false statements.

 
[Read Related: Javerbaum Wurgaft Attorney Andrew Moskowitz Obtains $375,000 Settlement in Age Discrimination Lawsuit]

Annabelle Steinhacker - Personal Injury Attorney New Jersey

Steinhacker honored by New Jersey Law Journal

Annabelle Steinhacker was recently honored by the New Jersey Law Journal as a “Leader of The Bar”. This honor, bestowed on only 47 attorneys in the entire state, recognized Annabelle for her appellate work and seminar presentations to members of the New Jersey bar.