NJ Law Review Update
Jersey Transit, a Public Entity, Required to Provide
Uninsured Motorist Coverage to an out-of-State Uninsured
Plaintiff Involved in a New Jersey Accident?
The Appellate Division on April 17, 2013, in the matter of
Robinson v. Zorn, opined that New Jersey Transit, a
public entity, is not required to provide uninsured
motorist coverage to an out of state uninsured plaintiff
involved in an accident in New Jersey with a third-party
individual who does not have third party liability
The Robinson matter arises from an
automobile accident which occurred when the plaintiff
Kevin Robinson was injured in New Jersey when riding a New
Jersey Transit bus. The other vehicle involved was driven
by defendant Angelo Lionelli. Mr. Lionelli had a special
automobile policy which provided coverage for personal
injury protection and death benefits but did not provide
third party liability insurance. The plaintiff did not
have any automobile insurance because he did not own an
automobile and did not live with a relative who did.
Since the plaintiff was a Pennsylvania resident he was
unable to receive compensation under the New Jersey
Property/Liability Guarantee Association Act and because
the accident occurred in New Jersey he did not qualify to
receive compensation under Pennsylvania financial
responsibility assigned claims plan.
The plaintiff during the course of litigation
filed a motion to amend his complaint to an uninsured
motorist claim against New Jersey Transit. This motion
was denied. Ultimately the co-defendant was Lionelli was
found solely responsible for the accident in the complaint
against New Jersey Transit and the bus driver were
dismissed. The Court held that the matter Ross v.
Transport of New Jersey 114 N.J. 132 (1989) ruling was
not disturbed by the 1987 amendment to NJSA 39:6-54a.
Pursuant to the two New Jersey Transit is not required to
provide UM coverage to out state uninsured residents like
the plaintiff. A motion to amend the complaint should be
liberally granted unless the amendment would be futile.
The Appellate Division agreed with the trial court in that
the proposed amendment would be futile because New Jersey
Transit was not obligated to provide UM coverage.
The Appellate Division in its reading of NJSA
39:6-54a noted that a use of the semicolon indicates that
the legislative intent was to separate the first group
available from the modifying cause and therefore it was a
legislative intent not to require public entity New Jersey
Transit to provide UM coverage.
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