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Young v. Gilbert

Decided: October 26, 1972.


Milmed, J.s.c.


[121 NJSuper Page 80] Defendant King Pin Alleys, a bowling establishment, cocktail lounge and snack bar, located in West Nyack, New York, served with summons and a copy of the amended complaint by certified mail, return receipt requested, moved to dismiss this personal injury auto negligence action for lack of jurisdiction in personam and for failure of the complaint to state "a cause of action" against it.*fn1 On the same grounds it also seeks summary judgment dismissing crossclaims against it for indemnity and contribution. Annexed to the notice of motion is the affidavit of Louis Pasternak, vice-president of Ripvan Corporation, a corporation of the State of New York, trading as King Pin

Alleys, the gist of which is that the corporation has no business contact or any type of contact with New Jersey and that its sole business is the operation of a bowling alley, restaurant and bar at its only location, i.e. , at 20 Virginia Avenue in West Nyack, New York.

By their amended complaint plaintiffs, passengers in an automobile owned and operated by defendant Edith Eileen Gilbert, claim damages from all defendants for injuries sustained by them as a result of a collision between the automobile in which they were riding and an automobile owned by defendant Thomas Finland and operated at the time by defendant James Zimmerman. The collision occurred on Knickerbocker Road in Demarest in Bergen County in this State late on the night of December 12, 1969. In regard to defendants Cedar Tavern Corporation, a New Jersey corporation trading as Frontier Room, and King Pin Alleys, the amended complaint alleges, among other things, that they "were the owners and operators of certain premises engaged in the selling and serving of alcoholic beverages to the public"; that they

and that they

The depositions of Louis Pasternak and James Zimmerman were taken upon oral examination and used on the motion. It appears that defendant James Zimmerman, 20 years of age at the time of the collision, was driving defendant Finland's car when it was involved in the collision on the night of December 12, 1969. He and defendant Finland, who was 21 years old at the time, had been together continuously that

night from about 7 P.M. They both lived in Bergenfield. Starting at defendant Zimmerman's home, each had two cans of beer. They then proceeded to New York, stopping along the way for about 20 to 30 minutes at the Frontier Room, a tavern, in Dumont in Bergen County, and having while there four or five glasses of beer. They then left for New York, arriving at the King Pin Alleys in West Nyack at about 8 o'clock in the evening.

It further appears from the deposition of defendant Zimmerman that King Pin Alleys was well known in the Bergenfield area; that during the course of the evening on December 12, 1969 about 30 people were in the cocktail lounge, about half of them from the Bergenfield area; and that the "approximate age group" of those in the cocktail lounge at the time he was there was "Seventeen through twenty." While he and defendant Finland were at the cocktail lounge of the King Pin Alleys, each consumed between 12 and 14 bottles of beer, each bottle containing 12 ounces of beer. At this cocktail lounge they also engaged in a "chug-a-lug" contest, which involved attempting to consume the contents of a bottle of beer by one uninterrupted long drink. Neither had anything to eat at the Frontier Room or at King Pin Alleys, and neither of them was refused service by either of the two bartenders on duty at the cocktail lounge of King Pin Alleys.

At about 11:30 that night when they left King Pin Alleys to go home to Bergenfield, each was intoxicated. Defendant Finland drove the car for about ten minutes to Knickerbocker Road, in Norwood in Bergen County, when he said he was too intoxicated to drive and turned the car over to defendant Zimmerman. After taking over the driving of the car, Zimmerman drove south from Norwood into Demarest, where the accident occurred. He drove "in excess of a hundred, to a hundred and twenty miles an hour" on Knickerbocker Road, a two-lane roadway, one lane for traffic in each direction, the posted speed limit being 40 miles an hour. He drove the car back and forth from one lane

to the other and "made a three car pass just prior to the accident and almost had a head-on collision" with a car going in the opposite direction. He approached the intersection where the collision occurred traveling at 100 miles an hour.

As previously indicated, defendant King Pin Alleys contends that the court has no in personam jurisdiction over it since it is a New York corporation and has no business contacts with New Jersey. Mr. Pasternak, vice-president of Ripvan Corporation trading as King Pin Alleys, resides in Fair Lawn in Bergen County in this State. He testified that King Pin Alleys has only one business location and that is at 20 Virginia Avenue in West Nyack, New York, and that he is the accountant for the business and also manages its day-to-day operations. Alcoholic beverages are served on the premises to anyone over 18 years of age. Some of the supplies for the bar are purchased from an establishment in Fort Lee in Bergen County. Life insurance coverage for the employees and officers of the corporation is provided by an insurance company in Newark. King Pin Alleys does no advertising for business in New Jersey. Pasternak's residence in Fair Lawn is 22 miles from the King Pin Alleys in ...

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