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Career Biography

Debra A. Goldstein has been an Associate with Zarwin Baum since October 2001, focusing her practice on insurance defense, PIP liability, insurance coverage issues and commercial litigation.

Debra was admitted to the Bar of the States of New Jersey and New York in 1988. From 1988 to 1995, she was an Associate with the firm of Edward P. Papalia, Jr. in Parsippany, NJ, practicing in the field of insurance defense. During her employment, she handled numerous bench and jury trials with the majority of the latter reaching jury verdicts.

From 1995 to 1998, Debra worked for a variety of attorneys on a per diem basis while beginning to raise a family then joined the firm of Kalmus & Martuscello in New York City where she handled New Jersey and New York insurance defense, contract and credit cases. In 2001, Debra left the firm of Kalmus & Martuscello to work for Zarwin Baum.

Debra attended Pace University in Pleasantville, New York, graduating in 1985 with a BBA Degree, and Pace Law School, graduating in 1988.

Representative Matters

Defended a major retailer and distributor of propane heaters.  Plaintiffs alleged property damage as a result of a defect in the heater used during Hurricane Sandy in plaintiffs’ home.  Debra successfully showed that the damage was caused by plaintiff’s improper use of the heater.  The court encouraged plaintiffs to settle for nuisance value.
Retained by a California law firm to subpoena the records of a New Jersey company in a restrictive covenant matter.  When the New Jersey company provided deficient responses, Debra successfully moved for attorney’s fees for failure to comply.  
Defended a property owner in a lawsuit brought by a driver who claims she was struck by another car due to the insured property owner’s failure to maintain bushes and shrubbery at the intersection. Debra argued at arbitration that the township had a right of way and the responsibility to maintain the area.  The arbitrator found 60% liability upon the town and 10% upon the insured property owner.
Assisted at trial with Ted Schaer in Hudson County, defending bus driver.  Plaintiff alleged the bus struck her parked vehicle while she was sitting in it.  Bus driver alleged he was cut off by a phantom vehicle.  The jury no-caused the plaintiff.
Represented a supermarket chain.  After the case settled, plaintiff’s counsel advised he wanted to structure the counsel fees.  Debra filed a motion to enforce the settlement as did plaintiff’s counsel.  At oral argument, Debra argued that the case had been settled prior to counsel’s request to structure the fee, which is improper.  Counsel withdrew his motion and accepted the original settlement amount.
Represented a supermarket chain.  Plaintiff allegedly tripped on a rolled up mat.  The store alleged that the night cleaning crew did not unroll the mat after cleaning.  The co-defendants consisted of various cleaning companies who subcontracted the work at the store.  Each contract contained an indemnification agreement.  Each defendant planned to file a summary judgment motion.  At a status conference, Debra orchestrated an early settlement with each co-defendant contributing, prior to depositions taking place.
Represented a supermarket chain.  Plaintiff left the store during icy conditions and fell, requiring a knee replacement.  At the time she fell, store employees were applying de-icing materials at one of the store’s two doors.  Debra assisted Joseph Toddy at trial.  The jury found plaintiff was 50% liable.
Represented a truck rental company.  Plaintiff claimed he was injured when he tripped over a wire at one of the company’s retail facilities.  At plaintiff’s deposition he was shown surveillance video where no wire was seen.  After his deposition, plaintiff agreed to settle for nuisance value.
Represented an insurance company that no longer writes policies in New Jersey.  Several cases were brought against the insurance company.  The accidents occurred in New Jersey.  The plaintiffs had basic out of state policies and wanted to reform the PIP benefits to the New Jersey limits.  Debra successfully argued in each case that the Deemer Statute does not apply as the company no longer writes in New Jersey and the plaintiffs’ PIP limits applied.
Represented a snow contractor brought in as a third party defendant by the property owner where plaintiff allegedly slipped and fell.  The third party defendant was brought in just prior to the arbitration hearing.  Debra successfully argued that the insured should be severed from the case as the case was scheduled for arbitration.  The case against the snow plow contractor was dismissed.
Represented a supermarket chain.  Plaintiff, an elderly woman, tripped over a case of water in the middle of an aisle.  During investigation, Debra learned that an employee of a bank located in the supermarket moved the cases of water to surround a prior spill.  The bank was brought into the case and it settled 50/50.

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Debra A. Goldstein

P: 267.765.7342
F: 267.223.2463
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Jersey City, NJ

Automobile Insurance Coverage & Liability
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