On October 21, 2016, our client, a retired theatre teacher and volunteer director, exited the Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy located on MLK, Jr. Blvd in Elizabeth, after attending a school play. While proceeding across the school building sidewalk with a crowd, she tripped and fell on an exposed metal plate, which was bolted into, and protruding from, the sidewalk. It was later learned that this was the base to a street post and sign which had been removed by employees of the City, and never replaced. Evidence established that this dangerous condition was actually known by representatives of the City and BOE, who acknowledged their negligence during deposition testimony. An engineer hired by our office opined to the negligence of the public entities, and he was never challenged. Our client’s injuries included a comminuted acute fracture of the left patella with a transverse fracture and a vertical split fracture, with a significant separation. This required an open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) of the left patella fracture with installation of 2 cannulated 4.5 mm screws, and a cerclage wire. Multiple injections of lubricating gel have not alleviated her pain, and due to developed traumatic arthritis, a future total knee replacement will likely be needed. She further developed a pulmonary embolism following a blood clot (DVT), and was at risk for future embolisms. This was a difficult litigation due to a concern with the limitations of Title 59, Claims Against Public Entities, and the fact that the trial would have taken place in Elizabeth, with local residents and taxpayers likely on the jury.
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