Join Our Telegram Channel


A lawsuit was just filed naming Township of Jackson, County of Ocean, and JCP&L, over the death of a frum woman while crossing the street. A few months ago, a judge ruled that a lawsuit can be filed in this matter.

On February 27, 2022, Mrs. Sabrina Ben-porat, a therapist and social worker who worked at CHEMED, tragically passed away while walking across White Road near its intersection with Whitesville Road/ Route 527 in Jackson Township.

The police report indicates that at the time of the crash the decedent was wearing a black coat, black dress and carrying a black pocketbook while wearing no reflective garments of any kind for safety." The report also indicates that there were numerous cars parked along the shoulders of the roadway due to a gathering at a nearby residence, and that this created blind spots to both the driver and pedestrian.

The New Jersey Tort Claims Act (TCA) provides that before any Tort Claim litigation against a governing entity begins, a potential plaintiff must - within 90 days of the accident - comply with the statutory requirements of notice to the proper governing entity regarding the claim.

Once proper notice of the Tort Claim is provided, the government entity is allowed at least a six month period to review the claim before a lawsuit can be filed.

In this instance, her husband did not file a TCA within the Statutory 90 days.

On August 17, 2022, represented by Attorney Abraham N. Milgraum, her husband filed a Motion for a waiver to be permitted to file a late TCA notice.

Mr. Milgraum wrote:

At the time of the accident her husband was in Israel teaching. None of the family members live in New Jersey. A few weeks after the accident, a son went to visit the scene of the accident to see if there was anything that could have contributed to the accident other than the automobile that struck Mrs. Ben-porat. He went to the area of the accident and saw a utility light near the accident location that was illuminated. He did not see any cause of the accident other than the automobile and since the light was illuminated, he did not consider it a contributing factor.

As this was a fatal accident which required additional investigation and reporting, the police report was not released until June 10, 2022.

The police report makes clear that on the evening of the accident, the utility light at this intersection was not working. It appears that the subject utility light was repaired or replaced shortly after the accident.

When the son went to visit the scene of the accident in the weeks following the accident, the light was operational and he did not know that it was not operational at the time of accident nor could he have known that the utility light could have had anything to do with the accident.

Tort Claims Act notices were sent within 90 days of the police report being released to the family.

The Motion named the Township of Jackson and County of Ocean as defendants.

Only Jackson Township attorney Patrick F. Varga opposed the motion for a waiver from serving TCA notices within the Statutory 90 days, writing, "had the Plaintiff acted promptly and filed a Tort Claim Notice within 90 days of the accrual date, the Township of Jackson would have been made aware and could have taken steps, if needed, to mitigate the alleged damage. The Township of Jackson would have been able to perform a more fruitful investigation that now, if Plaintiff’s motion is granted will be met with more challenges and road blocks set up by simply by the fact that an excessive amount of time has passed and the involved individuals have more likely than not responded to hundreds, if not thousands of other calls, impacting their ability to accurately recall the facts. " 

In response, Mr. Milgraum retorted "Jackson Township was actually the Defendant which delayed releasing the police report for months until after the 90 day period. Our case law instructs that when the defendants themselves thwart discovery of information they cannot then go and take the position that the plaintiff should have had the information. 

"Our case law has established that cases should be heard on their merits, and any doubts should be resolved in favor of the application for late tort notice filing. The fact of delay alone does not give rise to the assumption of prejudice; the public entity must present a factual basis for the claim of substantial prejudice which Jackson Township did not do here. 

"Nothing has changed from during the 90 day time period in terms of liability or damages and so Jackson Township is in the same position to make an evaluation of this matter as they would have been if they would have provided the police report in a timely fashion shortly after the accident. Certainly, Jackson cannot argue prejudice when it itself delayed the police report from being released until after the 90 day timeframe."

On September 23, 2022, Ocean County Superior Court Judge Valter Must agreed with Mr. Milgraum and waived the TCA's 90 day timeframe and permitted the case to continue.

Following this prerequisite ruling, Mr. Milgraum has just filed now a formal lawsuit, naming Township of Jackson, County of Ocean, JCP&L, as well as the driver as defendants.

The first count alleges that the driver "controlled, maintained and/or operated a motor vehicle in a careless, negligent and reckless manner and caused a serious automobile accident. As a result, the decedent was caused to suffer severe bodily injuries, which caused her death."

The second count alleges that "at all times relevant herein, the area of the subject incident was dangerously dark because a utility light in the area of the crash was not illuminated which was a substantial contributing factor to the subject incident. The defendants, Township of Jackson, County of Ocean, & JCP&L owned, operated, designed, constructed, maintained, managed, cared for, possessed and controlled the subject utility light. It then and there became the duty of the defendants aforementioned by and through their agents, servants and employees, to use reasonable care in the performance of their duties to maintain the subject utility light.

"Notwithstanding said duty, the defendants, by and through their agents, servants, and employees, carelessly, recklessly, and negligently caused and/or permitted the premises to be in a dangerous condition by acting in a palpably unreasonably manner by leaving an already poorly lit road with a non-working light making the road extremely dangerous for pedestrians.

"As a direct consequence of the Defendant’s actions or inactions, decedent, Sabrina Ben-Porat, was caused to be struck by a motor vehicle sustaining fatal injuries.

"The decedent’s familial survivors have suffered the loss of her companionship, advise, guidance, and counsel as well as pecuniary damages. Prior to her demise, the decedent also endured severe pain and suffering. Wherefore, Plaintiff, Eliezer Ben-porat, as the Administrator Ad Prosequendum of the Estate of Sabrina Ben-porat, demands judgment against the Defendants for all wrongful death and survivorship damages, together with interest and cost of suit," the suit concludes.

The Township, County, JCP&L, and the driver have 35 days from the day served to Answer the Complaint.

To join a FAA WhatsApp Group, click here.

To join the FAA WhatsApp Status, click here.

No comments: