ESTHER SEGAL, individually and as Administratrix of the ESTATE OF RABBI SEGAL and RABBI ZEV SEGAL, deceased, Plaintiff-Appellant,
COUNTY OF HUDSON, HUDSON COUNTY PARK COMMISSION, and DEE-JAY DEPOT, Defendants-Respondents, and THE CITY OF JERSEY CITY, THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, RICH TRANSPORTATION and FIRST STUDENT INC.,
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued May 13, 2013
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Docket No. L-1259-10.
Robert M. Mayerovic argued the cause for appellant (Zemel Law Firm, P.C., attorneys; Fred M. Zemel and Kevin Campbell, on the brief).
Michael L. Dermody, First Assistant County Counsel, argued the cause for respondents County of Hudson and Hudson County Park Commission (Donato J. Battista, Hudson County Counsel, attorney; Mr. Dermody, on the brief).
Laurel A. Wedinger argued the cause for respondent Dee-Jay Depot (Barry, McTiernan & Wedinger, attorneys; Ms. Wedinger, on the brief).
Before Judges Graves, Ashrafi, and Guadagno.
Rabbi Zev Segal was driving along Duncan Avenue in Jersey City when his vehicle reached the road's terminus and plunged into the Hackensack River. Rabbi Segal died. Plaintiff Esther Segal, Rabbi Segal's wife, filed a survival and wrongful death action individually and on behalf of Rabbi Segal's Estate, against six defendants. Plaintiff appeals from two orders entered by the Law Division: (1) the July 11, 2011 order dismissing plaintiff's complaint against defendant Dee-Jay Depot, Inc. (Dee-Jay); and (2) the October 11, 2011 order granting summary judgment to defendant Hudson County. We affirm.
On March 5, 2008, Rabbi Zev Segal, at the time aged ninety-one, was with his son, Yigal, in Jersey City at 8:15 a.m. Yigal gave his father directions to a school in Livingston where the Rabbi was going to pick up his mail. The Rabbi drove away in a green 1999 Mercury Marquis intending to meet his son later that morning.
When the Rabbi failed to appear, Yigal contacted the school in Livingston and learned that his father never arrived. A few hours later, Yigal filed a missing persons report with the Jersey City Police Department.
On March 6, 2008, a Jersey City Public Works employee was eating lunch at the end of Duncan Avenue near the Hackensack River when he spotted the Mercury upside-down in the river. The police were notified and responded to the scene.
The vehicle was found approximately thirty feet from the shore and roughly two hundred thirty feet south of the Duncan Avenue terminus. After a dive team removed part of the vehicle's side window, a body, later identified as Rabbi Segal, was discovered in the driver's seat.
Duncan Avenue is a city owned roadway, which runs in an east-west direction, perpendicular to the Hackensack River at the westerly end of the road. On the northbound side of the road is the property owned by Dee-Jay. There is no curb, barrier, or any other ...