In a lawsuit against a fatal amusement park accident during a school outing that claimed the life of a child, defendant amusement park cannot seek indemnification from the school. However, according to a recent New Jersey Supreme Court opinion, defendant will be allowed to seek a verdict that allocates fault to the school, meaning it plaintiffs could ultimately receive less.
The issue in Jones v. Morey’s Pier was that defendant amusement park failed to give proper notice of claim to the school under the state’s Tort Claims Act. Still, the park will be allowed to present evidence during the pending trial against it that the school was negligent and that this negligence was a proximate cause of the girl’s death. If the jury finds credible evidence of this, it can allocate a percentage of fault to the school, which would reduce the park’s overall liability and the amount it would have to pay the child’s parents.
This question of common-law indemnification against a public entity was one of first impression in New Jersey, and although it has no direct bearing on the court process in Florida, courts often look to the decisions of their sister courts in reaching conclusions about similar matters. Continue reading →