Associate Jesse D. Lubin attains favorable verdict in Bergen County Law Division, Fernandes v. Chavez BER-L-719-16.

This motor vehicle accident case was tried as to liability only before Judge Mary F. Thurber, in Bergen County from March 27, 2018 to verdict on March 28, 2018. Prior to being assigned to Judge Thurber, Presiding Judge Polifroni bifurcated the trial as to liability and damages over defendant’s objection; Plaintiff’s medical expert was unavailable for trial. Liability for the accident was the central trial issue and factual dispute between the parties. The accident occurred on January 23, 2014 at the intersection of Summit Avenue and Essex Street, in Hackensack. Plaintiff, traveling northbound on Summit Avenue, alleged that she came to a complete stop at a red traffic signal and had begun to turn left when the traffic signal changed to green. The defendant contended that he had the green light while driving southbound on Summit Avenue, and the plaintiff suddenly turned in front of him, causing him to strike her rear passenger side door. The New Jersey Police Crash Investigation Report was silent as to which party had the green light. However, it did indicate that the defendant told the police officer that plaintiff suddenly turned in front of him. The responding police officer testified that had the plaintiff told him of the green turn signal, he would have recorded it in his report. The jury agreed with defendant’s version of the events, and after deliberations, the jury returned a unanimous 6-0 verdict in the defendant’s favor.