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Kelly v. Geriatric & Medical Centers

New Jersey Supreme Court


December 19, 1996

JOAN P. KELLY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
GERIATRIC & MEDICAL CENTERS, INC. T/A COOPER RIVER CONVALESCENT CENTER, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT, AND JOHN DOES (1-5), JOHN DOES (6-10), AND JOHN DOES (11-15), J/S/A, DEFENDANTS.

On certification to the Superior Court, Appellate Division, whose opinion is reported at 287 N.J. Super. 567 (1996).

Chief Justice Poritz and Justices Handler, Pollock, O'hern, Garibaldi, Stein, and Coleman join in this opinion.

(This syllabus is not part of the opinion of the Court. It has been prepared by the Office of the Clerk for the convenience of the reader. It has been neither reviewed nor approved by the Supreme Court. Please note that, in the interests of brevity, portions of any opinion may not have been summarized).

Joan P. Kelly v. Geriatric and Medical Services, Inc. T/A Cooper River Convalescent Center (A-53-96)

Argued November 19, 1996 -- Decided December 19, 1996

PER CURIAM

In this appeal, the Court addresses the propriety of an order granting summary judgment in behalf of an employer, dismissing a temporary employee's suit for personal injuries sustained during the course of her employment.

Kelly, a licensed practical nurse, was injured when she slipped and fell on a wet floor while working at Cooper River Convalescent Center (CRCC). At the time, she was employed by a labor services company in the business of supplying skilled nursing personnel to health care facilities on a temporary basis.

Following her injury, Kelly filed a personal injury negligence complaint against CRCC, alleging that she was a business invitee at CRCC and that the facility had a duty to provide her with a safe place to work. CRCC filed an answer to the complaint in which it asserted that Kelly was an employee of CRCC at the time of her injury and that her exclusive remedy against it, therefore, was under the New Jersey Workers' Compensation Law. After the completion of discovery, CRCC filed a motion for summary judgment, alleging that Kelly was its "special employee" and that her claim was barred by the New Jersey Workers' Compensation Law.

The trial court found Kelly to be CRCC's "special employee" and granted its motion for summary judgment. Kelly appealed the trial court's ruling to the Appellate Division. The Appellate Division affirmed the trial court's ruling in a reported opinion. 287 N.J. Super. 567, 671 A.2d 631 (1995). The Supreme Court granted Kelly's petition for certification.

HELD: The judgment of the Appellate Division is affirmed substantially for the reasons expressed in the reported opinion below. Kelly's voluntary acceptance of work at CRCC gave rise to an implied contract of employment, making her a "special employee" of the center. Her personal injury suit against CRCC was, thus, barred by the New Jersey Workers' Compensation Law.

CHIEF JUSTICE PORITZ and JUSTICES HANDLER, POLLOCK, O'HERN, GARIBALDI, STEIN and COLEMAN join in this opinion.

PER CURIAM

The judgment is affirmed, substantially for the reasons expressed in the opinion of the Appellate Division, reported at 287 N.J. Super. 567, 671 A.2d 631 (1996).

CHIEF JUSTICE PORITZ and JUSTICES HANDLER, POLLOCK, O'HERN, GARIBALDI, STEIN, and COLEMAN join in this opinion.

19961219


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