Summary Judgment Achieved after Attorneys Discover the Complaint Was a Legal Nullity
Case Study

Summary Judgment Achieved after Attorneys Discover the Complaint Was a Legal Nullity

The Goldberg Segalla team of John M. McConnell, Bryan P. Regan, and Matthew E. Selmasska executed a successful legal strategy that led to the granting of summary judgment for our client in a New Jersey motor vehicle case in Middlesex County. Here, when the plaintiff’s discovery responses were overdue, the attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint for failure to answer discovery. This was not granted, but counsel learned that the plaintiff had passed away before the complaint was filed.

However, the complaint was not filed in the name of an executor, administrator, or heir of the plaintiff. The plaintiff also did not seek leave to amend the complaint at any point after filing the complaint. Thus, Goldberg Segalla filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the complaint filed on behalf of the deceased plaintiff was the operative pleading, and because the complaint was filed on behalf of a deceased person, it was a legal nullity. They also argued that the statute of limitations had run out, and it was too late to amend the complaint to name an executor, administrator, or heir of the plaintiff.

The court agreed, granting summary judgment and dismissing all claims against our clients, with prejudice. No appeal was filed. The litigation strategy employed by the Civil Litigation and Trial team combined a thorough investigation with a reliance on the New Jersey Rules in order to obtain a fantastic result for the client.

 

MORE ABOUT GOLDBERG SEGALLA’S CIVIL LITIGATION AND TRIAL GROUP:

Founded by a group of renowned trial attorneys, Goldberg Segalla has a reputation as one of the country’s top firms for high stakes litigation and trials. Our national Civil Litigation and Trial practice group handles complex and challenging damages cases throughout the country. With dedicated and experienced trial attorneys in all of our offices, our reputation is built on a strong record of victories over aggressive plaintiffs’ lawyers in some of the country’s toughest jurisdictions. We are the go-to firm for many corporations and insurer clients, and frequently are asked to parachute in to the most complex cases for trial.