Warns NJ’s hospitality industry could be impacted by recent Court decision

WEST TRENTON, N.J. – During his keynote address at the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance’s annual Fall Membership Luncheon, Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan (D-Union) made the following remarks:

“As much as we try to help new businesses establish, hire people and flourish, we need to devote the same sort of efforts to making sure existing businesses and industries flourish. We all know that tort reform goes a long way to removing the obstacles that exist and actually prevent businesses and industries from growing.

“We’ve got to be able to give businesses and physicians and those who are impacted by what we [legislators] do some stability and some certainty in the marketplace. And hopefully together we can do that.”

Cryan told the audience about his personal experience with lawsuit abuse in Middlesex County. His family-operated establishment was the third and largest of three establishments visited by an intoxicated patron. The patron, who was refused service by Cryan’s establishment, fled as an employee attempted to call him cab and caused a fatal automobile accident. Cryan’s establishment – the only establishment to refuse him service – ended up paying out half a million dollars in claims.

“I look at this recent Voss decision, for example, and the Supreme Court is going to potentially take down the whole hospitality industry… Have we kind of lost our way a little bit in terms of who’s responsible for what?

The case refers to the New Jersey Supreme Court decision in Voss v. Tranquilino earlier this year, which permitted an Ocean County motorcyclist to sue the establishment which served him for bodily injuries he sustained while driving under the influence.

“Tort reform isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue – it’s an economic issue,” said Marcus Rayner, executive director of the Alliance.

“That’s why it’s important to urge the legislature to support measures like A-3333/S-2855, which would help protect honest businesses from frivolous litigation,” Rayner said.