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Kuna v. Hollman

Decided: November 14, 1975.

LAWRENCE KUNA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HARRY T. HOLLMAN, DEFENDANT AND THIRD-PARTY PLAINTIFF, V. HERIBERTO VILLANUEVA, THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANT



Dwyer, J.s.c.

Dwyer

Plaintiff was a passenger on defendant's motorcycle when it ran into third-party defendant's automobile which was parked partially on, and partially off, a highway in New York State due to a mechanical failure.

Thereafter defendant sued third-party defendant in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Plaintiff was not a party to said action.

On December 23, 1974 defendant settled the action in the United States District Court for New Jersey with third-party defendant for $12,500, one-half of the face value of the liability policy. With advice of counsel he executed a printed form of general release which provided, in part:

More particularly arising out of an accident occurring July 28th, 1973. And the subject matter of a suit in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. [The underscored portion was typed in]

On the same date plaintiff, represented by other counsel, executed a similar release for $12,500. The following was added in typewritten language:

This release shall in no way be construed of a release of any claims the releasor, Lawrence Kuna, may have against Harry T. Hollman, arising from the aforestated accident. It is not intended by this release to release any claims the releasor may have against Harry T. Hollman arising from the same accident.

Plaintiff then instituted this action against defendant, who filed a third-party complaint against third-party defendant based upon rights under N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-1 et seq. , the Joint Tortfeasors Contribution Law. Third-party defendant filed an answer and reserved the right to move. Third-party defendant now moves for summary judgment based upon the release from Hollman, the third party plaintiff.

The complaint was filed by the counsel who advised plaintiff concerning the release. There has been a substitution of attorney for plaintiff.

Plaintiff has not sued, and cannot sue, third-party defendant because of the release. Kelleher v. Lozzi , 7 N.J. 17

(1951). There is no suggestion, or allegation, that the release was ...


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