Image of Nicole Ortiz

Nicole Ortiz

/ New Jersey's Best Lawyers 2018

IN THE HEADLINES

► Connell Foley: Kevin J. Coakley (eminent domain and condemnation law; litigation – real estate, 1999) represented developer Shipyard Associates in a lawsuit against the City of Hoboken. Shipyard laid out a project where they intended to build two 11-story towers with 78 residential units, but the city wanted the area to include three tennis courts and a tennis pavilion as per a 1997 plan. The Superior Court of NJ Appellate Division ruled in favor of Shipyard, saying that the city waited too long to sue.

► Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla: Paul H. Schneider (environmental law; land use and zoning law; litigation – construction; litigation – environmental; litigation – land use and zoning; litigation – real estate, 2009) is representing SBC Holdings in a lawsuit where the construction of a ShopRite has been held up in Shrewsbury. A former resident filed a lawsuit against the Shrewsbury zoning board and SBS Holdings, questioning whether the sewer and water service on the property can handle the demands of the store.

► Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman: Adam M. Slater (medical malpractice law – plaintiffs; personal injury litigation – plaintiffs, 2007) was a co-lead counsel alongside Christopher L. Coffin for the plaintiffs in a suit against Japanese pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo. SNJ Today reports that “approximately 2,500 claims by individuals who allege they have suffered severe and sometimes life-threatening gastrointestinal injuries while using medications containing the active ingredient olmesartan medoxomil.” Users of the blood pressure drugs Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor, and Tribenzor have reached a $300 million settlement with the company, which will settle thousands of federal and state lawsuits.

► Smith Mullin: Nancy Erika Smith (employment law – individuals, 1987) is defending public works employee Mark Garcia, a U.S. citizen of Mexican heritage, who has filed a lawsuit against the township due to racist remarks and harassment that his employers did not stop. Garcia alleges a white man without proper licensing was given a promotion over him and that he and others employees were subjected to racist taunts and slurs and were the victims of racially charged harassment. After complaining, he says he and a coworker were suspended for a day and no supervisors or other employees were disciplined.

► Youngblood Sampoli & Coombs: L. Anthony Gibson (arbitration; mediation, 2005), retired Superior Court judge, oversaw the mediation on a case where Gregory Wieboldt was injured after slipping on an icy sidewalk in front of Palumbo Appliance Hardware in Point Pleasant Beach six years ago. Following the incident, Wieboldt broke his left leg and ankle and triggered a pre-existing hip condition that led to a hip replacement surgery. Wieboldt settled with the business for $900,000.

HONORABLE MENTION

► Ballard Spahr: John B. Kearney (commercial litigation; product liability litigation – defendants, 2013) received the Walliam A. Dreier Award from the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Products Liability and Mass Tort Section.

► Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo has partnered with Kids’ Chance of New Jersey (KCNJ) for the fourth year in a row to award a student facing financial strife with a “Doctorate Degree” scholarship.

ITN FEATURE

Superintendent in Toms River Accused of Sexual Harassment

Selikoff & Cohen: Steven R. Cohen (employment law – individuals; labor law – union, 1989) is representing the Toms River Education Association, which is the teachers’ union district, in a claim again Superintendent David Healy of the Toms River Regional Schools.

An employee says that Healy made remarks about her legs to her on many occasions that made her uncomfortable. A letter sent to the Toms River Regional Board of Education on June 22 details the claim, which Cohen sent on behalf of the union.

The letter highlights four instances where the employee says Healy commented on her legs. At times, the comments were made in front of other employees. The principal of Toms River High School East was reported to feel very uncomfortable after such comments as well, says NJ 1015.

The victim says the comments affected her and her family, causing her to lose sleep and suffer illnesses due to the distress she faced.

According to The Patch, the woman wrote, “I feel like I want to hide and I cannot wait for the school year to end. … I want the comments from Mr. Healy to stop and I want to be treated and respected like the professional I am.”

Healy was hired as superintendent in 2014 under a five-year contract due to expire in 2019. He was hired hastily as the district attempted to move forward after an insurance fraud and bribery scandal that involved former superintendent, Michael J. Ritacco.

Cohen says the district may have violated the New Jersey Law against Discrimination since administrators witnessed Healy’s comments but did not try to stop him and also because the district did not implement or enforce anti-harassment policies.