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ROAD POORLY FIXED? YOU CAN SUE IN N.J.

SHARE ROAD POORLY FIXED? YOU CAN SUE IN N.J.

New Jersey public employees have an added incentive to do their job well. They can now be sued as individuals for shoddy repairs - on roads, for example.

The state Supreme Court ruled Monday that a man injured when a truck hit a pothole in Camden can sue the workers responsible for maintaining the street.In a 4-3 vote, the state's highest court overturned two lower court rulings and ordered a trial of a lawsuit filed by Eddie Chatman.

Chatman was seriously injured in 1986 when a pickup going 5 mph hit a big pothole, causing the passenger door to swing open and hit him in the back.

In 1988, Chatman sued the driver and unidentified city maintenance workers. He couldn't sue the city because the statute of limitations had run out. In 1989, the city gave him the names of the employees responsible for maintaining the street.

Lower courts dismissed the case on the grounds that state liability law shields workers from such lawsuits.