Parker v. Esposito

CourtNew Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
Writing for the CourtD'ANNUNZIO
Citation291 N.J.Super. 560,677 A.2d 1159
PartiesChristopher PARKER and Elise Parker, his wife, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Vincent J. ESPOSITO and Frungillo Food Service, Inc. t/a Frungillo Caterers; Frungillo Caterers, Inc., Defendants-Respondents.
Decision Date28 June 1996

Page 560

291 N.J.Super. 560
677 A.2d 1159
Christopher PARKER and Elise Parker, his wife, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Vincent J. ESPOSITO and Frungillo Food Service, Inc. t/a
Frungillo Caterers; Frungillo Caterers, Inc.,
Defendants-Respondents.
Superior Court of New Jersey,
Appellate Division.
Argued June 10, 1996.
Decided June 28, 1996.

[677 A.2d 1160]

Page 563

John M. Blume, Newark, for appellants (Blume, Vazquez, Goldfaden, Berkowitz & Donnelly, attorneys; Mr. Blume, of counsel; Linda G. O'Connell, on the brief).

Sara A. Friedman, Basking Ridge, for respondents (Minichino & Mautone, attorneys; Anthony R. Mautone, West Orange, of counsel and on the brief).

[677 A.2d 1161] Before Judges D'ANNUNZIO, CONLEY and BRAITHWAITE.

The opinion of the court was delivered by

D'ANNUNZIO, J.A.D.

The mirror of defendants' van struck plaintiff, 1 Christopher Parker, while plaintiff was standing at a bus stop. Plaintiff sustained serious injuries and commenced this action for damages. His wife, plaintiff Elise Parker, sued for loss of consortium.

Defendants conceded liability. After a trial solely on the issue of damages, the jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff for the sums of $1,500,000 for his pain, suffering, disability, and impairment of enjoyment of life, $167,000 for past lost income, and

Page 564

$550,000 for future lost income. The jury awarded no damages to Elise.

On appeal, plaintiffs contend that the trial court: (1) erred in denying their motion for a new trial or additur regarding the failure of the jury to make any award to Elise for loss of consortium; (2) erred in denying their motion for a new trial or additur regarding the inadequacy of the jury's award for plaintiff's future lost income; (3) misinterpreted and misapplied N.J.S.A. 2A:15-97, the collateral source statute; and (4) improperly charged the jury on the manner in which it should treat testimony about plaintiff's receipt of Social Security and disability payments.

[At the request of the Appellate Division, a lengthy discussion of the evidence regarding damages contained in the filed opinion has been omitted from the published opinion.]

Regarding the collateral source statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:15-97, the judge granted defendants' request for a credit against future income for the disability benefits plaintiff would be receiving for the next three years and for the Social Security benefits which he was presently receiving. The court ordered that the sum of $133,920, representing $3720 per month from December 1994, through December 1997, that plaintiff was guaranteed from CIGNA Group Insurance, alone or in conjunction with Social Security, be deducted from the $550,000 award, and that the balance, $416,080, be placed into an interest-bearing court account. After December 1997, upon motion by either party, the court would conduct a hearing to determine whether or not plaintiff was entitled to any portion of the $416,080 under the collateral source statute.

Plaintiffs contend that the trial court misapplied the collateral source statute. It provides:

In any civil action brought for personal injury or death, except actions brought pursuant to the provisions of P.L. 1972, c. 70 (C.39:6A-1 et seq.), if a plaintiff receives or is entitled to receive benefits for injuries allegedly incurred from any other source other than a joint tortfeasor, the benefits, other than workers' compensation benefits or the proceeds from a life insurance policy, shall be disclosed to the court and the amount thereof which duplicates any benefit

Page 565

contained in the award shall be deducted from any award recovered by the plaintiff, less any premium paid to an insurer directly by the plaintiff or by any member of the plaintiff's family on behalf of the plaintiff for the policy period during which the benefits are payable. Any party to the action shall be permitted to introduce evidence regarding any of the matters described in this act.
N.J.S.A. 2A:15-97.

Our Supreme Court addressed this statute in Kiss v. Jacob, 138 N.J. 278, 650 A.2d 336 (1994). There, the Court held that the statute did not apply to the proceeds of a settlement with a defendant determined not to have been a tortfeasor. Id. at 282, 650 A.2d 336. The Court ruled that the statute focused on the types of benefits contemplated by the common-law...

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13 cases
  • Taransky v. Sec'y of the U.S. Dep't of Health & Human Servs., 13–3483.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • July 29, 2014
    ...from recovering damages from both a collateral source of benefits ( i.e., a health insurer) and a tortfeasor. Parker v. Esposito, 291 N.J.Super. 560, 677 A.2d 1159, 1162 (App.Div.1996). Second, it aims to shift the burden of medical costs related to tort injuries, whenever possible, from li......
  • Levine v. United Healthcare Corp., 04-1224.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • March 16, 2005
    ...200, 208, 709 A.2d 808 (App.Div.1998) (agreeing that purpose of statute is to shift burden to health industry); Parker v. Esposito, 291 N.J.Super. 560, 565, 677 A.2d 1159 (1996) (stating that purpose of collateral source statute is to prevent double recovery thereby giving relief from incre......
  • Waldorf v. Shuta, 97-5195
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • April 15, 1998
    ...leading case applying the collateral source set-off of future social security benefits under section 2A:15-97 is Parker v. Esposito, 291 N.J.Super. 560, 677 A.2d 1159 (App.Div.1996). In Parker, a pedestrian who was struck by a van received an award in court that included an amount for past ......
  • Mason v. Sebelius, Civil No. 11-2370 (JBS/KMW)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • March 23, 2012
    ...by a tort plaintiff from both a collateral source of benefits (such as a health insurer) and a tort defendant. Parker v. Esposito, 291 N.J. Super. 560, 566 (App. Div. 1996). Additionally, the NJCSS was enacted to shift the burden of medical costs related to tort injuries, wherever possible,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Narrowing Equity in Bankruptcy.
    • United States
    • American Bankruptcy Law Journal Vol. 94 No. 2, March 2020
    • March 22, 2020
    ...Inc., 289 N.J. Super. 602, 609 (N.J. App. Div. 1996) ("Statutes are to be read sensibly rather than literally."); Parker v. Esposito, 677 A.2d 1159,1162 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 1996) ("[T]he controlling legislative intent is presumed as 'consonant to reason and good (110) See Gargotta, s......

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