News Brief

Neff and Riina Score for NBA Team to End 15-Year Litigation

February 1, 2023

Madison, New Jersey, Of Counsel Robert Neff and William Riina prevailed in a fraudulent concealment matter against their client, an NBA basketball team, after 15 years of litigation involving three lawsuits and two appeals.


In the original case, the plaintiff alleged permanent injuries caused by high school students at a game; she sued the team, the arena and the high school. We obtained summary judgment, with the case against the remaining defendants resulting in a defense verdict.

The plaintiff then filed a suit against the same defendants and included the team’s insurance carrier and the arena’s in-house counsel, alleging their refusal to timely provide documents led to the defense verdict. Following years of discovery, motions for summary judgment by all defendants were denied.

With trial imminent, the Appellate Division agreed to consider the denials on an interlocutory basis, directing the motion judge to reconsider his denials, with instructions on the law. The motion judge granted the motions, dismissing all claims of negligent misrepresentation. The plaintiff appealed, and the Appellate Division affirmed the decision, holding that a putative defendant has no pre-suit obligation to assist an adverse party in developing a claim against them. The appellate court concurred.

The plaintiff then filed a third suit, again claiming fraudulent concealment, arguing that the court in the prior suit improperly refused to allow plaintiff to make that allegation. The court granted Robert and Bill’s initial motion to dismiss and dismissing the suit on res judicata grounds and failure of substantive proofs. The plaintiff appealed, and after briefing and oral argument, the Appellate Division upheld the dismissal in a unanimous written decision. The time to seek the New Jersey Supreme Court’s discretionary review has now expired, effectively ending this lengthy battle.

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