New Jersey High Court Clears County in Bicyclist’s Death

January 23, 2012

New Jersey’s Supreme Court says Essex County cannot be held liable for the 2001 death of a bicyclist who suffered a massive head injury while riding on the shoulder of a county-owned road.

Mathi Kahn-Polzo and four friends were riding on Parsonage Hill Road in Millburn when she rode into a dip and fell off her bike. The 45-year-old West Orange resident, who was wearing a helmet, died 26 days later without regaining consciousness.

Her husband sued the county, claiming it knew about the about the 1 1/2-inch-deep, 2-foot-wide depression and failed to repair it. But a lower court rejected those claims, and the justices concurred.

The high court said last Wednesday that the county could not be considered liable according to the state’s tort laws, which restrict the liability of public entities.

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