In a first-of-its-kind ruling in New Jersey—where courts remain under COVID-19 pandemic lockdown orders—Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Bruce Kaplan issued an order compelling a plaintiff in a slip-and-fall case to submit a remote deposition using videoconferencing technology, dismissing the plaintiff’s vigorous efforts to avoid the deposition and delay discovery.
Goldberg Segalla partner John M. McConnell and associate Earyn J. Edwards, members of the General Liability and Retail and Hospitality practices based in Princeton, represented the defendant. Understanding that moving the case into discovery was essential for the client, but presented with an unprecedented challenge in the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdown orders, John and Earyn moved to compel discovery after the plaintiff canceled an earlier scheduled virtual deposition and refused remote questioning. John and Earyn sought to have a “flight pack” consisting of videoconferencing equipment delivered to the plaintiff, and arranged for a court reporter to remotely assist with setup, at a nominal cost borne by the defendant, and cited an April 24 state Supreme Court order that “to the extent practicable,” depositions “should continue to be conducted remotely using necessary and available video technology.”
Judge Kaplan agreed, ordering that “this case must move forward and the defendant is entitled to take the plaintiff’s deposition.”
The GS win quickly caught the attention of legal media, with reports on the novel ruling appearing in The New Jersey Law Journal and The Legal Intelligencer.
This isn’t the first time that John and Earyn have teamed up to win significant victories for clients in situations that called for innovative and cost-effective lawyering. Last year, their combination of savvy discovery tactics and aggressive motion practice secured an early dismissal for a major national hotel and property management company facing a premises liability suit.
Goldberg Segalla offers strong defense, comprehensive counsel, and long-term strategic guidance to all types of retail, hospitality, and commercial development businesses. With the knowledge and resources to handle complex litigation and arbitration and provide sound risk-avoidance counsel, Goldberg Segalla also offers clients all the benefits of a relationship with a firm that values teamwork and professionalism.
With a roster stacked with seasoned litigators and nationally recognized authorities in several critical legal disciplines, Goldberg Segalla brings exceptional strength and savvy to the defense of a wide range of liability claims. Our attorneys have a wealth of experience defending companies of all sizes in various industries, along with municipalities, school districts, and other public entities, in a broad spectrum of matters—including premises liability, property damage, security, automobile liability, construction accidents, civil rights, and dram shop claims.