Suing a Municipality
In general municipalities have various immunities, protections and requirements that can affect your recover as a plaintiff in a personal injury action. In a recent case against Pine Hill Municipal Utilities Association, a plaintiff who had traveled to the defendant’s location to pay her water bill slipped on ice in the parking lot and sustained injuries to her back requiring more than $83,000.00 in medical treatment. Plaintiff initiated a premises liability action and during the course of the case believed that she had entered into a settlement agreement with one of the defendant’s representatives. When no settlement payment was made she filed a motion to compel the settlement with the lower court. The lower court stated that municipal entities can only act by adoption of an ordinance or resolution at a public meeting and that in her case no such resolution was made concerning the acceptance of her settlement proposal. Therefore, the judge denied her motion and held that the plaintiff failed to satisfy her burden of demonstrating that the parties had actually entered into a settlement agreement. If you believe that you have a claim against a municipal defendant or entity, it is strongly recommended that you seek out the services of an experienced attorney to assist you with your claim. There are a number of prerequisite actions that must be taken before a municipal entity can be sued. For example, in New Jersey prior to filing any action against a municipal entity or defendant the plaintiff must serve a notice of tort claim and then wait for a period of time before the suit is filed. Failure to file a notice of tort claim can result in your claim being dismissed.