All posts by Christopher G. Aiello

Electrocuted Sandy Cleanup Worker Gets $1.9M Settlement in Ocean County – New Jersey Law Journal

Photo Credit: NOAA/NASA

A Hurricane Sandy cleanup worker who was electrocuted on the job was paid a $1.9 million settlement on Nov. 14 in his Ocean County suit, Diem v. AshBritt Inc.

In December 2012, Bradley Diem was working on the 300 block of West 14th Street in Ship Bottom, as part of a boom truck crew. As he was standing on the ground, in contact with the truck, the boom came into contact with live overhead power lines, sending a charge through the truck and through Diem, according to his lawyer, Evan Mason Harris of Aiello Harris Marth Tunnero & Schiffman in Watchung.

Diem, whose body was left smoking, had to be resuscitated by emergency responders and sustained first- and third-degree burns, Harris said. He underwent surgeries, including fasciotomy and skin grafts, and has been cared for since his release by a burn specialist, according to Harris.

Diem developed an open wound on the top of his head—requiring him to wear a vacuum device—and requires a home health aide and daily pain medication, he claimed. He also has significant scarring and is under psychological care, according to Harris.

Several defendants were named, including: AshBritt Inc., the general contractor at the site; County Waste Inc., which was contracted to provide debris cleanup services; and Clay Mohon Mowing, which owned the boom truck and leased it to AshBritt.

Diem was employed by M&J Landscape Products, and his co-worker was operating the boom truck, Harris said.

Diem’s medical bills were paid by M&J Landscaping’s workers compensation carrier, according to Harris.

The personal injury lawsuit claimed AshBritt and the subcontractors were responsible for overall site safety, and wrongly allowed operation of the trucks in close proximity to power lines—which the suit contended amounted to a violation of federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations.

The parties reached a settlement in July, and it was executed in October, according to documents.

The documents indicate that 11 defendants paid into the settlement. The largest sums were: $945,000, paid by Clay Mohon Mowing; and $817,500, by AshBritt and County Waste, combined. The remaining defendants, including several government entities, paid sums ranging from $5,000 to $35,000.

Timothy P. Smith of Kinney Lisovicz Reilly & Wolff in Parsippany, counsel to AshBritt, declined to comment on the settlement.

Clay Mohon Mowing was represented by Francis McDevitt of Naulty, Scaricamazza & McDevitt in Marlton; County Waste Inc., by Walter Swayze III of Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney in Jersey City. Neither returned a call seeking comment.

Harris was assisted on the case by Christopher Aiello of the same firm.

Published in The New Jersey Law Journal

January, 23rd. 2017


Driving While Your License Is Revoked

Driving on the revoked list in New Jersey is a serious charge, and depending on the reasons for the revocation will determine the severity of the consequences.  For example, a driver’s license revocation as a result of an unpaid parking ticket is not nearly as serious as a driver’s license revocation as a result of a drunk driving or driving without an insurance charge.   If you depend on your driver’s license to get to work or school, only an experienced Revoked License attorney will be able to help.

Since most people rely so heavily on their driver’s license to support their livelihood, being a defendant in municipal court can be a nerve racking one,

Especially when faced with the prospect of losing your license for an additional period of time and/or even jail time.  Additionally, if you were pulled over when no one else in the vehicle possesses a valid driver’s license, your vehicle will most likely be towed and you will wind up having to call a friend or colleague to pick you up.  Unfortunately, the financial consequences of receiving a ticket of this nature will be felt immediately since there will be a towing fee and/or possible storage fee to retrieve your vehicle from the police impound yard.

Often times, when you receive a ticket for driving on the revoked list, you may not even be aware your license was revoked at the time your vehicle was stopped by law enforcement.  In these instances, a letter from the motor vehicle commission may have gotten lost in the mail or simply didn’t make it into your hands in time to be aware that your license was revoked.  By the time a driver is stopped by law enforcement, the damage is already done and they will be receiving a ticket for driving on the revoked list.

If you or someone you know was recently charged with driving on the revoked list in New Jersey, they need to speak with an experienced driving on the revoked list attorney who is familiar with the court procedures in New Jersey’s municipal courts.

The attorneys at the law firm of Aiello Harris have represented thousands of clients in the last few decades in New Jersey. The attorneys at Aiello Harris are available to speak with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week regarding your driving on the revoked list charge.


Possible New NJ DUI Laws

New Jersey may have new driving under the influence (DUI) laws coming into effect soon. State Senators Nicholas Scutari and Jim Whelan and Assemblywoman Linda Stender introduced new NJ DUI legislation, S 385/A 1368, to have convicted drunk drivers prove their sobriety via an ignition interlock device before operating a car.

Currently, NJ law requires the installation of interlock devices for all repeat and first-time DUI convictions with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 percent or greater. The new law would require a person convicted of their first DUI charge with a BAC of .08 percent to .14 percent to use an ignition interlock device for 3 to 12 months. However, it’s up to a judge’s discretion. A judge may deem a license suspension is more appropriate.

Additionally, the time of the ignition interlock device may be extended if the offender attempts to drive while drunk during the last one-third of the three to 12 month period.

At the current time, it is unlawful to operate a vehicle in New Jersey with a BAC of .08% or higher.

What is an ignition interlock device?

An ignition interlock device connects to a vehicle’s dashboard. Before starting the car, the driver must blow into the device, which detects the driver’s BAC. If the driver’s BAC is above the legal limit, the car will not start. Additionally, the interlock device may force the driver to blow into the device while he or she is driving to prove continuous sobriety while operating the vehicle.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, interlocks reduce repeat offenses by 67 percent.

First-time versus repeat offenders: New Jersey’s penalties

The penalties for repeat DUI offenders under current New Jersey state laws are significantly harsher. Additionally, the penalties are more severe if you are caught with a BAC of .10% or more:

First Offense

  • Three months license suspension
  • $250–$400 fine
  • $230 Intoxicated Driving Resource Center (IDRC) fee
  • $100 to drunk driving fund
  • $100 to Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund (AERF)
  • $1,000/year (for 3 years) surcharge
  • $75 to Neighborhood Services Fund
  • Up to 30 days imprisonment
  • 12-48 hours of time at IDRC

First offense with a BAC of 0.10% or greater

  • Seven months –one year license suspension
  • $300–$500 fine
  • $230 IDRC fee
  • $100 to drunk driving fund
  • $100 to AERF
  • $1,000/year (for three years) surcharge
  • $75 to Neighborhood Services Fund
  • Up to 30 days imprisonment
  • 12-48 hours of time at Intoxicated Driving Resource Center (IDRC)
  • **For BAC of 0.15% or greater– ignition interlock device during license suspension and six months to one year after restoration

Second offense within 10 years

  • Two years license suspension
  • $500–$1,000 fine
  • $280 IDRC* fee
  • $100 to drunk driving fund
  • $100 to AERF*
  • $1,000/year (for three years) surcharge
  • $75 to Neighborhood Services Fund
  • 48 hours–90 days imprisonment
  • 30 days community service
  • 12-48 hours IDRC
  • Ignition interlock device during license suspension and 1-3 years following restoration

Third offense within 10 years

  • 10 years license suspension
  • $1,000 fine
  • $280 IDRC* fee
  • $100 to drunk driving fund
  • $100 to AERF*
  • $1,500/year (for three years) surcharge
  • $75 to Neighborhood Services Fund
  • 180 days imprisonment
  • Up to 90 days of community service
  • 12–48 hours IDRC
  • Ignition interlock device during license suspension and 1-3 years following restoration

A DUI lawyer can help defend you against DUI charges. Make sure to enlist the aid of an experienced DUI / DWI lawyer. Some of the best DUI lawyers are former municipal prosecutors. It is critical that you speak with a knowledgably and experienced DUI attorney as they may be able to get your charge reduced.

About Christopher G. Aiello, Esq.

Christopher Aiello is a former municipal prosecutor, is an experienced New Jersey DUI lawyer.  Mr. Aiello has been practicing law since 1983.


What is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

Enacted on July 2, 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Under the Civil Rights Act, voter registration requirements were relaxed, and racial segregation of schools, public facilities, and the workplace was ended. The effects of this act have far-reaching implications to this day. A skilled New Jersey employment attorney can help you understand how this legislature may apply to you.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – Equal Opportunity Employment

Under Title VII, an employer is forbidden from discriminating against an employee on the basis of sex, national origin, disability, age, or race when hiring, promoting, or firing. The bill also created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to help with implementation of the law.

Specifically, the bill provides protection against:

  • Discrimination in compensation – Race, sex, religion, color, or national origin cannot form the basis for differences in pay, benefits, assignments, or evaluations.
  • Discrimination in recruiting, hiring, and advancement – The requirements of a job must be uniformly applied and cannot exclude any racial group or color.
  • Harassment – Offensive verbal and physical conduct is prohibited.
  • Hostile work environments – Employers must take steps to prevent and correct harassment and avoid escalation.
  • Retaliation – Employees are protected from retaliation should they file charges against their employers.

Understanding your rights under the Civil Rights Act may seem daunting, but the experienced attorneys at NJ employment law firm Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. are available to help. Contact us today online or at (908) 561-5577.


What Factors Are Used to Determine Negligence in a Negligence Liability Case?

In legal terms, negligence can be defined as a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary caution would have exercised under the same circumstances. Proving liability for negligence in a court of law can require through investigation and preparation. Contacting a New Jersey negligence liability lawyer is very important if you think your injury might have been caused by someone else’s negligence.

Typically, a handful of factors must be considered when determining if someone can be held liable for negligence:

• Duty: Under the circumstances of the case, does the relationship between the two parties obligate the defendant to act in a certain way toward the plaintiff?
• Breach: If there was a duty between the two parties, did the one responsible for exercising it fail to do so?
• Cause: The person claiming harm must prove that the actions of the defendant actually caused injury.
• Proximate Cause: This is slightly more complicated, but basically, a defendant can only be held responsible for harm they reasonably could have foreseen had they done what they were expected to do.
• Harm: Were there actual damages suffered by the person making the claim?

Here’s an example to help you better understand negligence:

Say you were involved in a rear-end car accident – a drunk driver behind you crashed into your vehicle. Firstly, that driver had the duty to exercise caution on the road and ensure other drivers, pedestrians, and passengers don’t get harmed. He has the duty to obey all New Jersey traffic laws. He breached that duty by driving while intoxicated and then causing harm to you and your vehicle.

Your lawyer can prove cause by showing evidence of the accident, including police reports, your medical bills, your insurance claims, an arrest record, and more. Finally, your attorney will add up the total damages to you and your property to show actual harm was done.

A statute of limitations, or time limit, can apply to negligence liability claims. If you believe you might have suffered an injury because of the negligence of someone else, you have a limited amount of time in which to file a case and seek damages.

Contact a New Jersey negligence liability lawyer at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. at (908) 561-5577 or contact us online at any of our North and Central New Jersey law offices for a free consultation.


What are Typical Premises Liability Claims?

It is first important to understand what we mean when we discuss “premises liability.” When you suffer an accident either on public or private property that might have been caused by its owner’s failure to keep it in proper condition, this is a premises liability situation. You have a reasonable expectation not to be injured while on someone’s property and you might be entitled to compensation if an accident occurs.

Typical premises liability claims can include:

  • Accidents including trips, slips, and falls. This includes accidents occurring because of defective pavement in shopping centers, retail outlets, footpaths and supermarkets.
  • Accidents at private residences, including swimming pools
  • Accidents at schools, or in amusement parks or playgrounds
  • Food Poisoning/Bacteria/E-Coli
  • Escalator and elevator injuries
  • Snow and ice accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Inadequate building security
  • Water leaks and flooding
  • Toxic fumes or chemicals

Some examples include:

  • You slipped on icy pavement outside of a supermarket
  • You were robbed in an apartment building because of poor security
  • You fell down a flight of stairs due to bad lighting
  • You were injured on a rollercoaster at a theme park
  • You became ill after breathing in toxic fumes at your workplace
  • You trip on a fallen object at a shopping mall

You need to understand that in most cases, only someone who is invited or licensed (like a salesman) to be on the property will be able to seek compensation.  A person who is trespassing does not receive similar consideration in most situations. These situations can become complicated and do vary from state to state, so seeking out a qualified New Jersey premises liability lawyer is very important.

In a typical premises liability claim, your lawyer first determines who is at fault, who damages and injuries you incurred, and whether you were legally allowed to be on the property. Your attorney reviews medical records, the place where the accident occurred, interviews witness, and gathers all necessary proof to build a strong case. In a typical premises liability case at our firm, your attorney operates on a contingency fee basis – meaning you owe no upfront legal fees and your lawyer only gets paid if he or she recovers money on your behalf.

Contact a New Jersey premises liability lawyer at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. at (908) 561-5577 or contact us online at any of our North and Central New Jersey law offices for a free consultation.


Timothy Broking Named Top 40 Under 40 Attorneys by the National Trial Lawyers Association


The Law Firm of Aiello Harris congratulates attorney Timothy
Broking on being named Top 40 Under 40 Attorneys by the National Trial Lawyers Association for the second year in a row.  Mr. Broking was recently named partner in June 2014 and has been with the firm since 2006. In the first half of calendar year 2015, Mr. Broking has settled nearly $750,000 in personal injury and workers compensation settlements consisting of settlements in the amount of $110,000, $230,000 and $325,000 along with many others.

Among his other awards, Mr. Broking has been named Top 10
Best Attorney by the American Institute of DWI Attorneys and Top 1 per-cent Attorney by the National Association of distinguished counsel.   Mr. Broking’s achievements and accolades has earned him a perfect 10.0 attorney rating by the AVVO website rating community.
Mr. Broking is admitted to practice law in New Jersey, New York, the District of Columbia, the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, and the United States Supreme Court.

Visit Timothy Broking’s profile to read up on his bio and/or to contact him at the firm.

Contact Us

If you or someone you know requires legal assistance, contact our firm 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 908-561-5577.  Our
attorneys are made up of certified civil trial attorneys and former prosecutors.  The law firm of Aiello Harris maintains several offices through North and Central New Jersey including offices in Bergen County, Essex County, Morris County, Somerset County and Middlesex County.

American Institute of DUI AttorneysThe National Top 40 Under 40 Trial LawyersThe National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Attorney Under 40


What are Common Hospital Medical Malpractice Errors?

Our health care system requires us to place our faith in doctors and nurses, often during the most challenging times in our lives. Their training and experience guide hundreds of decisions every day. While many of those help us, some mistakes happen. When they do, hiring a medical malpractice lawyer might be an option to hold negligent providers accountable.

Some common hospital medical malpractice errors include:

  • Failure to diagnose or to properly diagnose an illness, heart attack, or stroke
  • Failure to treat an illness
  • Incorrect treatment of a diagnosed illness
  • Improper use of anesthesia
  • Improper administration of drugs
  • Failure to order proper tests
  • Failure to consult with a specialist
  • Failure to monitor a patient
  • Failure to stabilize a patient
  • Improper use of a medical device
  • Surgical errors and anesthesia errors
  • Failure to obtain the informed consent of a patient
  • Birth injury or birth trauma due to obstetrical physician, nursing, or hospital negligence
  • Injury to mother or child during a VBAC (vaginal birth after C-Section)
  • Failure of hospital staff to properly interpret doctors’ orders on patient charts, resulting in incorrect administration of medications or treatments
  • Unnecessary surgical procedures
  • Hospital malpractice
  • Nursing home abuse

The most common of these errors are misdiagnosis, failure to accurately diagnose, and delayed diagnosis. Many of these cases involve cancer and heart attacks. For example, a doctor may diagnose a patient with a less serious condition and by the time the real condition is realized, the patient’s condition has worsened. When looking for a New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer to handle these situations that often are difficult to prove, it is important to look into how much experience the attorney has with similar cases.

In some cases, a doctor or medical specialist may be at fault while in others, a nurse, midwife, or other medical assistant may bear responsibility. You may also be able to pursue legal action against a hospital, nursing home, or other medical facility. In any event, medical malpractice claims can be difficult to prove, as you must show that an error occurred and you suffered damages because of that error.

Contact a New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. at (908) 561-5577 or contact us online at any of our North and Central New Jersey law offices for a free consultation.


What Types of Injuries Are Common For Accidents Due To Improperly Maintained Roads

Steering clear of potholes in New Jersey after this past winter is like dodging land mines on a battlefield – and with potentially the same risk of injury or death.  In fact, driving on deficient roads costs New Jersey motorists nearly $12 billion annually.  But the biggest cost by far is the potential for injuries that can change your life, or cause the death of a loved one.  If you are the victim in a car accident on an ill-maintained road, a New Jersey personal injury lawyer can find the responsible party and get the compensation you deserve.

Thirty-five percent of New Jersey’s major roads are in poor condition, providing motorists with a bumpy ride. Improper maintenance can include conditions such as:

  • Missing guardrails
  • Pot holes
  • Uncovered man holes
  • Road erosion wheel ruts
  • Shoulder drop-offs
  • Steep “berm” drops
  • Blind curves
  • Poorly painted road lines
  • Missing, damaged or confusing road signs
  • Obstructive landscaping
  • Problematic road lighting
  • Debris or dead animals on the road

Car accident injuries stemming from the above conditions are wide ranging and can be as treatable as whiplash and other soft tissue injuries, or as catastrophic as a spine injury, or even death.  Here are the some common car accident injuries:

Because poorly maintained road and defective highway design lawsuits may involve city, county, and state governmental agencies as well as engineering firms and construction contractors, these claims are more complex than conventional traffic accident cases. Your case may not even involve another vehicle, so you might not even know you have the right to file a lawsuit.

When you retain a lawyer, your attorney explains what damages you might be entitled to and launches a full investigation to prove who was at fault for your injuries. Don’t try to take on such a complex legal endeavor on your own – get knowledgeable counsel on your side to ensure you obtain maximum recovery.

The New Jersey car accident lawyers at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. have experience representing clients with the above injuries and more. Call us today at (908) 561-5577 or contact us online to secure the skilled representation and fair compensation you deserve.


Rutgers Quietly Settles Two Whistleblower Cases

When the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Rutgers University merged, Rutgers inherited the legal problems that faced the medical school. Last month, Rutgers settled the last of two high-profile cases that highlighted the rights of whistleblowers. Both of these lawsuits charged UMDNJ with wrongful termination following accusations of fraud and illegal bidding practices. In total, New Jersey whistleblower discrimination attorneys won almost $2 million for the two former employees.

In 2014, Rutgers reached a $700,000 settlement with Eileen Casey. Ms. Casey was a purchasing official with UMDNJ who claimed that she was wrongfully terminated after she discovered that millions of dollars worth of telecommunications contracts were being awarded without public bids.

In the second case, Edward Burke, former chief financial officer of UMDNJ’s University Hospital in Newark, claimed he was terminated after he accused top UMDNJ administrators of defrauding Medicaid. In early April, Rutgers settled with Mr. Burke for $1.2 million.

Although Rutgers has imposed tight restrictions on the disclosure of terms of the settlements through attorneys in the cases, the details of both settlements are available through the Open Public Records Act.

Are whistleblowers protected under New Jersey law?

Under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), employees who report illegal or unethical behavior at their workplace are protected from retaliatory actions. In other words, if you report such illegal practices as discrimination or fraud, or refuse to participate in fraud or illegal behaviors at work, you cannot be fired, demoted, or face other negative consequences.

Examples of fraud might include misrepresentation to, any shareholder, investor, client, patient, customer, employee, former employee, retiree or pensioner of the employer or any governmental entity.

Additionally, the law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who participate in investigations or legal cases involving illegal actions taken at the company.

Whistleblowers should not be afraid to speak up if they witness wrongdoing at work. A skilled New Jersey whistleblower discrimination attorney can inform you of your rights and help you understand what you should do if you are a witness to misconduct. For more information, contact Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. online or at (908) 561-5577.