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Olivares v. Olivares

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

October 25, 2013

MARIA OLIVARES, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
KEVIN OLIVARES, Defendant, and MIDDLESEX BUILDERS and LONDON TERRACE APARTMENTS, Defendants-Respondents, and DURHAM WOODS, Defendant

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued September 18, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Docket No. L-6143-09.

Randi S. Greenberg argued the cause for appellant.

Lori Brown Sternback argued the cause for respondents (Methfessel & Werbel, attorneys; Ms. Sternback and Kyle Vellutato, on the brief).

Before Judges Waugh and Nugent.

PER CURIAM

Plaintiff Maria Olivares appeals the Law Division's October 17, 2012 order dismissing her claims against defendant London Terrace Apartments (LTA), [1] based on claimed error in the judge's decision granting a partial involuntary dismissal and the denial of her pre-trial motion to exclude certain evidence. We affirm.

I.

We discern the following facts and procedural history from the record on appeal.

On June 9, 2009, at approximately 10:30 p.m., Olivares was a passenger in her Ford Explorer, which was being driven by her son, defendant Kevin Olivares.[2] They were leaving the grounds of the apartment complex at London Terrace, in the Parlin section of Old Bridge, where Olivares and Kevin resided. Kevin drove along Gorniak Drive, a roadway within the grounds of London Terrace, heading toward the exit at Westminster Boulevard.

According to Olivares and Kevin, [3] they saw another vehicle coming toward them on Gorniak Drive. Because Kevin had been driving on the left-hand side of the road to avoid a bumpy area on the right, he moved quickly to the right to avoid the oncoming vehicle. He hit a bump and lost control of the Explorer, which eventually turned over onto the passenger side. Olivares was seriously injured as a result.

In July 2009, Olivares filed her initial complaint against Kevin and LTA, as well as a series of fictitious defendants. She eventually settled with Kevin. Following further pleading, discovery, and an unsuccessful motion for summary judgment by LTA, the case was called for trial on September 24, 2012.

Shortly before the scheduled trial date, Olivares moved to bar testimonial and photographic evidence concerning the posted fifteen-mile-per-hour speed limit on Gorniak Drive, arguing that there was no witness who could testify that signs reflecting such a fifteen-mile-per-hour speed limit had been posted prior to the accident. The motion was argued on September 24. Defense counsel represented to the trial judge that a witness would testify that the signs, including the one photographed after the accident, were in place prior to the accident. The judge denied the motion on that basis, and also because Olivares sought to remove ...


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