Plaintiff?estate sued Defendant?Postal Service on behalf of a deceased 78?year?old man who fell on his way into the post office. Plaintiffs also included the man's 40?year?old son, who witnessed the accident while sitting in his father's car and made an emotional distress claim pursuant to Portee v. Jafee, 417 A. 2d 521 (N.J. 1980). Plaintiffs asserted that Defendant?Postal Service failed to adequately attend to the icy conditions stemming from the alternatively freezing and melting temperatures in the three days prior to the accident. Plaintiff contended that when the decedent fell, he struck his head; although there were no fractures, Plaintiff maintained that a subdural hematoma developed. The decedent was taken to the hospital after the accident by helicopter where it was determined that he suffered a midline shift in the brain, reflecting that the pressure from the subdural hematoma had already caused extensive brain damage. The physicians performed a craniotomy which was largely unsuccessful. Plaintiff maintained that over the course of the ensuing two?year period, the decedent was intermittently conscious and was aware of the nature of his plight. Further, Co?Defendant?automobile dealership, located next to and uphill from the post office, was named in the suit for failing to clear snow and ice from the vehicles it kept parked on the sidewalk, which contributed to the icy conditions on which the decedent slipped and fell.
SETTLEMENT: $1,500,000. Breakdown: $1.064 million to the decedent's estate, $75,000 to the decedent's children, and $25,000 for the decedent's son's emotional distress Portee claim.
Fogelson v. U.S.A., et al.