On August 10, 2022, partner Brian McAlindin, who is the Republican Municipal Chairman for Point Pleasant, served as host for the annual Republicans For Point Pleasant Golf Outing at Eagle Ridge Golf Club. Shown here with playing partner 2021 Republican Gubernatorial Candidate, Jack Ciatarrelli. Brian’s group won the scramble format golf competition with an impressive score of 58 (-14) with a round that included 2 eagles, 10 birdies, 6 pars and no bogeys.
Bathgate Wegener & Wolf, P.C. would like to congratulate one of our partners, Jonathan S. Fabricant, Esq. on his recent selection to the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Civil Plaintiffs list.
Bathgate Wegener & Wolf, P.C. would like to congratulate our newest associate, Nicholas L. Leider, Esq. on his recent selection as a Top 40 Under 40 civil trial lawyer in New Jersey by The National Trial Lawyers.
Bathgate, Wegener, & Wolf Partner, Ryan S. Malc, Esq., successfully represented a private mortgage lender in a long battle to recover the balance due on a mortgage that went into default in 2006, just two years after the loan was given. Over the course of 16 years since the loan went into default, the client made several attempts to collect the overdue balance, including the retention of two other law firms. In January 2022, the client finally came to Mr. Malc for assistance. Mr. Malc sent a demand letter to the debtor, followed by a foreclosure complaint. In just 5 months, through decisive litigation and negotiation strategies, Mr. Malc was able to recover the full balance due on the defaulted mortgage, which amounted to over $350,000.00. Mr. Malc also recovered all his attorneys’ fees from the debtor.
The Honorable Thomas E. O’Brien, P.J. Cv. (ret.) of Ocean County settled a motor vehicle accident case for the sum of $1.6 million. The plaintiff, now 65 years of age, was operating a motor vehicle, in her lane of travel, when the defendant, employee and son of a luxury car dealer took a high powered Dodge Viper on the roadway for a test ride. Defendant driver traveled recklessly and at an excessive rate of speed causing his “Viper” to spin out and enter the plaintiff’s lane of travel. Both plaintiff’s Hyundai and defendant’s Viper were totally destroyed. Both drivers were transported to the emergency room with loss of consciousness. Plaintiff remained in the hospital for three (3) days and experienced loss of consciousness for that period of time.
The accident was caught on a local business video camera so at mediation liability was not contested.
Plaintiff suffered neck, back, left hand and elbow and head injuries that were treated at the emergency room. Plaintiff had a pre-existing anterior cervical discectomy and fusion in 2020 involving C4 through C7. Post-accident MRI on 4/17/19 revealed a new HD at C3-4, and an EMG on 8/3/20 affirmed a left C5-6 radiculopathy.
Plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon opined that a future C3-4 discectomy and fusion would be needed above the pre-existing fusion.
On 7/14/21 plaintiff received an anterior and posterior lumbar discectomy and fusion with cages and screws at L2-3,3-4. Plaintiff had lumbar epidurals, facet injections and wore a brace for 10 months. Plaintiff also suffered a transverse process fracture at L1-2.
Plaintiff had pre-existing migraine headaches from 50 years ago. She has been diagnosed with concussion and post- concussion syndrome with reduced concentration and memory anxiety, depression and adjustment disorder. While the defendant claimed plaintiff’s head injuries were pre-existing, the defense IME neurologist admitted plaintiff suffered a concussion and post traumatic anxiety and needs future counseling.
The plaintiff presented no wage loss claim and assumed a medical lien in the approximate amount of $70,000.00. The plaintiff husband’s per quod claim was included in the settlement.
Brian W. McAlindin, Esq. successfully challenged a late-stage Will of a 94-year-old woman wherein the decedent had left nearly her entire estate to her two best friends in a prior Will. The decedent suffered a fall and deteriorating health requiring a home health aide. Another acquaintance’s daughter became her caretaker, and a new Will was executed less than two months before her demise resulting in nearly her entire estate (valued at approximately $800,000) being left to the caretaker. A Caveat was filed challenging the Will. Mr. McAlindin filed a Verified Complaint seeking to have the late-stage Will declared invalid and not admitted to Probate based upon the suspicious circumstances surrounding the late-stage Will and the undue influence placed upon the decedent by the caretaker. The case settled with the friends receiving two thirds of the estate shortly after the deposition of the caretaker. Brian W. McAlindin, Esq. successfully challenged a late-stage Will of a 94-year-old woman wherein the decedent had left nearly her entire estate to her two best friends in a prior Will.
Brian W. McAlindin, Esq. successfully obtained a settlement totaling $415,000 on behalf of a couple involved in a motorcycle accident following arbitration. Plaintiffs were travelling on a motorcycle when a motor vehicle operator failed to observe a Stop sign at a “Y” intersection causing the motorcycle operator to lose control and dump his motorcycle in an effort to avoid defendant’s vehicle. Defendant asserted no liability because no impact between the car and the motorcycle occurred. The motorcycle operator was airlifted to a local trauma center with a trimalleolar ankle fracture requiring open reduction and internal fixation surgery and multiple dermal “road rash” abrasions. His fiancé passenger sustained soft tissue neck and back injuries with an unoperated lumbar disc herniation, as well as road rash abrasions on her arms and legs.
We were successful in obtaining summary judgment on contributing liability on behalf of the motorcycle operator and his case settled for defendant’s per person policy limit of $250,000. His passenger’s case settled for $165,000.
William J. Wolf, Esq. of Bathgate, Wegener & Wolf, P.C., provided legal services that helped the Borough of Carteret achieve the second major component of its plan to develop the municipal waterfront along the Arthur Kill in Middlesex County. Previously, Bill Wolf and a team of professionals mounted a bureaucratic battle to obtain the federal and state permits that were required to construct a 185-slip municipal marina.
Now, the next part of Carteret’s waterfront project can begin. Recently, the Army Corps of Engineers issued the last permit required to build Carteret’s ferry terminal. As stated in a press release issued by Daniel Reiman, who is the Mayor of Carteret, “the permit follows years of work as well as fighting bureaucratic agencies at every level for the needed approvals.” The Mayor stated further that “soon commuters and others traveling to Manhattan will have a fast and direct route from Carteret, avoiding the high costs of gasoline and the frustrations of driving into the city through the tunnels or bridges.” Mayor Reiman also said in a statement “the permit grants approval for on-time construction dredging along the Arthur Kill for about 19,500 cubic yards to a maximum depth of 17 feet. The permit also allows Carteret to install about 130 feet of bulkhead, a 40-by-40-foot pier with two gangways for passengers to access the ferry, steel piling, bumpers and a 200-footlong wave screen.”
Carteret is confident that its “ferry service is slated to provide reliable, quicker and more environmentally friendly transportation service to New York City, cutting travel times to Manhattan to under an hour, while reducing traffic congestion on the New Jersey Turnpike and approaches to the Holland and Lincoln tunnels by getting more commuters out of their cars, according to Carteret officials.” That conclusion is supported by several studies and reports.
Bill Wolf is thankful for the opportunity that Mayor Daniel Reiman gave him to assist Carteret in reaching the two key elements of the rejuvenation of Carteret’s waterfront.
The Honorable Thomas E. O’Brien, P.J. Cv. (ret.) of Ocean County settled a sideswipe motor vehicle accident claim for a 64-year old plaintiff for the sum of $300,000.00. The collision involved a dump truck and plaintiff’s BMW Sedan. The liability and damages aspects of this case were highly contested.
The accident occurred when the vehicles were attempting to merge and exit from a main highway. Plaintiff contended she was rear-ended by the dump truck and defendant driver asserted that the plaintiff changed lanes, passed him on the right and that the rear driver’s side behind the wheel well was side-swiped by the front passenger side of the truck. The investigating trooper did not see the motor vehicle accident, heard the parties’ respective descriptions of how the accident happened, and did not issue any tickets.
Plaintiff insisted and answered in her interrogatories that she suffered a rear-end hit. The photos of the vehicles revealed that the Point of Impact was on the rear-side of plaintiff’s car and the front bumper of defendant’s truck. The accident could not be considered a “Big Hit”. All in all, comparative negligence was a big issue and at mediations the parties were conceding that this could be a 50/50 comparative negligence case.
As to the damage issue, this case involved the usual battle of the orthopedic experts. Plaintiff claims that her lumbar surgery involving a foraminotomy, laminectomy and discectomy, without hardware was caused by the motor vehicle accident. In addition, she claims to have suffered cervical herniated discs that will require future fusion surgery. Plaintiff’s surgeon also suggested she may need a second lumbar revision surgery at another segment. The defense IME ortho insisted degeneration existed and that the lumbar surgery was performed on the wrong side and unnecessary. He further opined that any future cervical or lumbar surgery was not needed. Plaintiff had no pre-existing injuries accept a T-12 thoracic fracture as a result of a 25-year old motor vehicle accident. Plaintiff had no viable wage loss or per quod claims.
Since this motor vehicle accident involved a truck, this mediation also involved resolution of PIP and property damage subrogation actions.
The Honorable Thomas E. O’Brien, P.J. Cv. (ret.) of Ocean County settled a trip/fall case today for the sum of $400,000.00. The plaintiff, an apartment complex tenant while parking her car in the lot servicing the demised premises, stepped off a curb adjoining the lot pavement into a “mini” pothole approximately 6” long and 3/4’” deep causing her to sustain a trimalleolar fracture of her left tibia, fibula and medial malleous. Plaintiff was 54 years old at the time of the fall on October 5, 2018.
She underwent a “closed reduction” first surgery at the ER. However, seven (7) days later she had a second open reduction internal fixation surgery. The medial malleolar fragment was reduced and fastened with a 4.5 lag screw and washer and the left distal fibula was stabilized with a plate and eight (8) screws. Plaintiff was placed in a short leg cast. Nine months later the plaintiff was still wearing an ankle brace and contemplating the removal of her ankle hardware in September 2019.
Plaintiff was a student of dance and was taking one lesson per week at the time of the accident. She had medical expenses of approximately $58,000.00. Thankfully, there was only a lien of $3,700.00 in letters of protection. Plaintiff was unmarried with no per quod claim. She also suffered a minor loss wage claim. She had no pre-existing injuries to her left ankle. She had significant scarring on both the inside and outside of her left ankle. Plaintiff’s life expectancy is 29 years and a work-life expectancy of 8 years. The apartment complex and management company are paying the settlement.
Now that the courts are open, Judge O’Brien is most interested in helping litigants resolve their cases pre-trial.
The Honorable Thomas E. O’Brien, P.J.Cv. (ret) of Ocean County, settled a medical malpractice case on February 2, 2022 for the sum of $350,000.00. A doctor specializing in pediatric medicine while working at a hospital emergency room treated a 10-year old plaintiff for severe pain he was experiencing in his left hip as a result of being involved in a competitive wrestling match.
On the day of his injury, he arrived at the ER at approximately 5:00 p.m. The defendant doctor examined him, took a history, and read a regular x-ray as “normal” and then discharged him at approximately 7:00 p.m. with a diagnosis “groin pain”. The next day plaintiff’s pain was so bad that he consulted with his primary care doctor who immediately directed him to a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon. The Ortho immediately diagnosed plaintiff with a “dislocated left help”. The Ortho then reduced the dislocation after ordering and reading a more appropriate “frog leg” x-ray that led to him making the quick and correct diagnosis of “hip dislocation”.
The plaintiff claimed that the improper diagnosis by the defendant and a 24 hour delay in receiving proper treatment caused him to suffer avascular necrosis in the left hip joint. The plaintiff endured several months of pain, PT, and wheelchair use before and enduring a second open surgery involving decompression of the left hip necrosis. A further consequence of the delay in treatment makes plaintiff, now 14, more subject to further necrosis for which he must be checked every 6 months and a possible candidate in the future for a “total hip replacement”.
The plaintiff’s medical expert opined that the defendant ER doctor deviated from the accepted standards of medical care imposed on an ER doctor. It is interesting that even the defense expert ER doctor opined that the defendant misdiagnosed the injury, that the 24 hour delay caused plaintiff additional injury, a second surgery and future medical complications. The defense expert only asserted that the plaintiff’s recovery was “good”. There were no liens affecting this settlement. The settlement now only needs to be approved at a “Friendly Hearing” by the court.
Judge O’Brien mediates all types of cases and would be most happy to help all litigants resolve their cases.
The Honorable Thomas E. O’Brien, P.J. Cv. (ret.) of Ocean County settled a motorcycle accident case on January 26, 2022 for $1.250,000.00. Plaintiff suffered a left mid tibia displaced fracture of his left leg that was repaired with an open reduction internal fixation surgery. He also had four (4) toes on his left foot repaired with pins. Repair of his left ankle open wound was partially effectuated after four (4) plastic surgeries. The ankle wound remains unhealed to this date since plaintiff is a diabetic. He also suffered a mildly displaced left clavicle fracture. The 60-year old plaintiff handyman is now unable to work.
The liability portion of the case was originally in dispute, but a thorough review of the police report and traffic light sequencing revealed that while the defendant/operator did see two (2) green lights thinking he had the right-of-way, there was a controlling green left-turn arrow that had not activated hence giving the motorcycle operator the right-of-way. So, when the defendant proceeded to make the left-hand turn through the intersection the motorcycle was unable to stop and crashed into defendant’s car with the plaintiff being thrown ten (10) feet into the air and on to the roadway. Thankfully, plaintiff only suffered lower extremity injuries because he was wearing a helmet.
Defendant was insured with both a primary policy of $300,000.00 and an excess policy in the amount of $1,000,000.00. The plaintiff’s settlement reflected his recovery for pain and suffering, loss wages of approximately $82,800.00 and medical expenses. Medical expenses were incurred in the amount of $3,840,451.35. However, plaintiff’s personal automobile insurer paid $250,000.00 in PIP benefits towards the medical expenses and after fee scheduling the remaining and outstanding medical expenses were reduced to $362,000.00.