Supreme Court of New Jersey Overturns Appellate Court Ruling Against Our Client

Richard Mirra, of counsel in the firm, successfully argued for his client in the Supreme Court of New Jersey, which voted to overturn the Appellate Court ruling in Beim v. Hulfish. In this case, the Court considered whether an effective decline in federal estate tax liabilities due to the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 in the years following an alleged wrongful death can give rise to a viable claim for damages under the Wrongful Death Act.  Richard argued for the appellants that, following a wrongful death arising from a motor vehicle accident, the beneficiaries of a decedent’s  estate are not able to claim that had the decedent lived his estate would have had to pay significantly less in federal estate taxes and that the difference should be recoverable as damages.  The Supreme Court reversed the appellate court decision and upheld the original trial court decision that the Wrongful Death Act does not authorize claims for damages based on estate taxes paid and that the potential federal tax liability of the estate had the decedent lived was too speculative to determine, therefore dismissing the Plaintiff’s suit.