Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Morris v. T.D. Bank

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

April 10, 2018

DWIGHT MORRIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
T.D. BANK, AMERICA'S MOST CONVENIENT BANK, and TOWNSHIP OF UNION POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendants-Respondents.

          Submitted February 26, 2018

          On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County, Docket No. L-0796-15.

          David H. Kaplan, attorney for appellant.

          White and Williams LLP, attorneys for respondent TD Bank, N.A. (Andrew I. Hamelsky and Zaara Bajwa Nazir, on the brief).

          Before Judges Messano, O'Connor, and Vernoia.

          OPINION

          MESSANO, P.J.A.D.

         Plaintiff Dwight Morris appeals from the Law Division's January 6, 2017 order granting summary judgment to defendant TD Bank, N.A., and dismissing plaintiff's complaint asserting claims of negligence, false imprisonment, assault and violation of the Law Against Discrimination (LAD), N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 to -49.[1]Plaintiff contends the judge erred in deciding as a matter of law that defendant did not breach the duty owed by a business owner to its customers to maintain reasonably safe premises or the duty to exercise reasonable care in the supervision of its employees. He also argues that the judge failed to apply proper summary judgment standards in considering his LAD claim by failing to view the motion evidence in a light most favorable to plaintiff. R. 4:46-2(c). Neither argument is persuasive. We affirm.[2]

         I.

         Contrary to plaintiff's assertion, the facts are essentially undisputed. Plaintiff, a fifty-nine-year-old African-American male, was wearing a striped collared shirt, black jacket, and grey baseball cap when he entered defendant's Union Township branch to make a withdrawal. Surveillance video shows a second African-American man, wearing white coveralls and a hardhat, entered the bank, stood near plaintiff, who thought the man was also completing a withdrawal slip, and approached the teller immediately ahead of plaintiff. This man handed the teller a slip, at which point the teller handed the man a stack of bills, and the man walked out of the bank. Plaintiff advanced to the counter; however, unbeknownst to him, the other man had handed the teller a note saying, "[b]ig bills please this is a hold up."

         While plaintiff was standing before the teller, another bank employee exited the break room, saw the note and discerned that it said something "in reference to a robbery." She walked back to her desk and called 9-1-1. Under the misimpression that plaintiff was the robber, she told police the robber, an African-American man, was still in the bank. While she was on the phone with the operator, two employees locked the bank's doors. Meanwhile, in this commotion, plaintiff took a seat in the bank's lobby area.

         Critical to plaintiff's common law negligence claim was the employee's admitted departure from defendant's policy regarding procedures to be followed in the event of a robbery. The employee handbook provided: "FOLLOWING A ROBBERY only AFTER the Robber has left . . . Call Police to Report Robbery."

         Within four minutes of the 9-1-1 call, police arrived and defendant's employees unlocked the doors. Although plaintiff testified at deposition that police had "their guns pointed towards" him when they were "outside, " the video shows their guns were not drawn when they entered the bank. Police asked defendant which way the robber went and plaintiff responded, "[h]e went that way, " pointing with his left arm.

         Union Township Police Officer, Teon Freeman, testified at deposition that he never arrested plaintiff, but interviewed him as a witness. Plaintiff remained calm during the interview and provided information about the suspect, leading Freeman to believe plaintiff "knew he wasn't under arrest."

         Plaintiff left the bank and returned home approximately ninety minutes after the incident. He recalled during his deposition testimony being "pretty upset about the situation" and "kind of emotional." In February 2015, six months after the robbery, plaintiff sought counseling from Patricia Delgado, a social worker, because he was experiencing ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.