Confirmation for obtaining the grant of summary judgement in a premises liability case.
Our defense team successfully obtained an affirmance of the grant of summary judgment in a premises liability case. The plaintiff asserted he tripped and fell in our client’s supermarket and that the fall exacerbated his epilepsy. The discovery period ended without the plaintiff producing an expert opinion that causally connected the medical complaints to the fall. The plaintiff claimed that his treatment for cancer caused his inability to be timely examined and to obtain an expert opinion. After the trial court denied the plaintiff’s motion to extend discovery, we moved for summary judgment on the grounds the plaintiff was required to provide an expert opinion linking his fall to his allegedly worsened epilepsy. The plaintiff filed a cross-motion for additional time. At the hearing on the motions, the judge expressed a willingness to consider further extension if the plaintiff had presented some indication that the report would be produced. But in the absence of such an indication, the judge found that fairness to the defense required that summary judgment be granted. On reconsideration, the plaintiff presented a “preliminary summary” from his doctor, which relied on the plaintiff’s wife’s statements to link the epilepsy to the plaintiff’s fall. The trial court denied reconsideration. On appeal to the Appellate Division, the court found no error in the decision of the Law Division judge. The court found that the plaintiff failed to show exceptional circumstances to justify a further extension of discovery and discounted the “preliminary summary” submitted on reconsideration as an improper attempt to expand the record and re-argue the motion.