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Philip Odett Obtains Dismissal with Prejudice by Way of Summary Judgment

June 4, 2018

Philip J. Odett represented an extermination company who contracted with a hotel to perform monthly extermination activities.  Plaintiff alleged he was bitten by a bug in the hotel and initiated suit against the hotel as well as Odett’s client.  Plaintiff was hospitalized for a week after the alleged bug bite in the hotel and alleged serious injuries.  Plaintiff was treated by an infectious disease physician in the hospital where he was diagnosed with prepatellar bursitis and Staphylococcus aureus.  A severe infection after the alleged bug bite led to plaintiff’s lengthy hospitalization.  Plaintiff also alleged permanent limitations as a result of the incident. 

Upon the close of discovery, Odett prepared and filed a motion for summary judgment arguing the extermination company was not liable.  Odett argued the extermination company was not negligent and plaintiff failed to set forth any evidence to establish Odett’s client was negligent.  Odett relied on the cases of Scafidi v. Seiler, 225 N.J. Super 576 (App. Div. 1988) and Overby v. Union Laundry Company, 28 N.J. Super 100 (App. Div. 1953).  The above cited cases specify that a plaintiff seeking to recover for another’s negligence must prove that the alleged negligence was a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.  The case law also established that the proof of the mere circumstance that a person is injured does not warrant any inference that the mishap was caused by negligence.  Pursuant to New Jersey case law, the mere happening of an accident is not itself evidence of negligence.

Odett’s client was never retained to specifically treat the room where plaintiff’s incident allegedly occurred for bugs or insects, nor did they ever receive any complaints by the hotel of bugs in the room where the incident allegedly occurred.  After oral argument in Hudson County, Judge Rose agreed with Odett’s arguments and granted summary judgment in favor of Odett’s client.  Judge Rose dismissed all claims and cross-claims against Odett’s client with prejudice.  Plaintiff subsequently filed a motion for reconsideration which Odett vigorously opposed.  Judge Rose denied plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration.

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