An Attorney in Trouble After a Woman Whose Family Died in Turnpike Sues Him for Negligence

A woman who lost her spouse and daughter in a car accident that occurred on February 22nd, 2016 has come forward and sued her previous attorney of what she terms as a breach of contract and negligence of duty. In her affidavit sworn before a Hudson County headquarters Superior Court on January 29th, Pam O’Donnell claims that her former attorney failed to present a notice of tort claim to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA) which effectively prevented her from getting a fair and rightful compensation in her case.

Her late Husband, Mr. Timothy O’Donnell who was a tutor at the County Preparatory High School, and her 5-year old daughter, Bridget crashed into oncoming eastbound traffic as they were fast-approaching the 14C toll plaza on the infamous NJ Turnpike Hudson county headquarters extension.

No Barriers

No barriers were separating the eastbound and westbound highway lanes at the time the accident occurred. Her husband died on the spot while her daughter died shortly after while undergoing medication at the Jersey City Medical Center.

According to the lawsuit, Pam O’Donnell hired Peter Cresci as her lawyer immediately after the tragic accident that led to the death of her 48-year old husband and her 5-year old daughter. However, Mrs. O’Donnell claims that Cresci intentionally sent a notice of tort claim intended for the NJ Turnpike to a wrong address which ended up denying her a fair compensation.

The Lawsuit

The lawsuit lists Peter Cresci, various law firms registered in his name, and some of the John Doe attorney firms as the principal respondents in the case. The complainant has raised three complaint charges of malpractice against Cresci and also seeks different compensatory damages.

Pam has retaliated that she hired Cresci to legally represent herself, the estates of her late partner and daughter Bridget, and her daughter Ali. He was supposed to file the necessary civil litigation proceedings against all the relevant authorities including the NJTA but failed to do so.

State Law

According to the state law, all complainants who wish to file a notice of tort claim are required to first present a notice of tort claim directly to the party in question within ninety days of the cause of action which in Pam’s case was the 22nd car crash. If the complainant fails to do so, then the complaint is automatically dismissed. Pam claims that Cresci didn’t serve the required notice of tort claim until May 16th, 2016, a few days to the deadline. However, instead of sending the claim directly to the NJTA, he chose to send it to the Tort Contract Unit based at the state Department of Treasury.

After discovering the mistake, Pam hired a new attorney in early-August 2016 to try and save the already-worse situation by filing a new complaint several months beyond the deadline day, but NJTA immediately filed a motion seeking to dismiss the complaint.