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Sunday, September 22, 2019

DAVID SCOTT LANDAU VS. STACY LANDAU (FM-14-1196-12, MORRIS COUNTY AND STATEWIDE) (A-1240-18T4)

The question presented by this appeal, here on leave granted, is whether the changed circumstances standard of Lepis v. Lepis, 83 N.J. 139, 157 (1980), continues to apply to a motion to suspend or terminate alimony based on cohabitation following the 2014 amendments to the alimony statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(n). We determine the party seeking modification still has the burden of showing the changed circumstance of cohabitation so as to warrant relief from an alimony obligation, see Martindell v. Martindell, 21 N.J. 341, 353 (1956), and hold the 2014 amendments to the alimony statute did not alter the requirement that "[a] prima facie showing of changed circumstances must be made before a court will order discovery of an ex-spouse's financial status." Lepis, 83 N.J. at 157. Because the trial court ordered discovery in this case without a prima facie showing of changed circumstances, we reverse.

Donna Rowe v. Bell & Gossett Company(081602)(Middlesex County and Statewide) (A-16-18;

The excerpts from the settling defendants’ interrogatory answers and corporate representative depositions were admissible as statements against interest under N.J.R.E. 803(c)(25). Those statements, in combination with other evidence presented at trial, gave rise to a prima facie showing that the settling defendants bore some fault in this matter. The trial court properly submitted to the jury the question of whether a percentage of fault should be apportioned to the settling defendants.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

DAVID SCOTT LANDAU VS. STACY LANDAU (FM-14-1196-12, MORRIS COUNTY AND STATEWIDE) (A-1240-18T4)


The question presented by this appeal, here on leave granted, is whether the changed circumstances standard of Lepis v. Lepis, 83 N.J. 139, 157 (1980), continues to apply to a motion to suspend or terminate alimony based on cohabitation following the 2014 amendments to the alimony statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(n). We determine the party seeking modification still has the burden of showing the changed circumstance of cohabitation so as to warrant relief from an alimony obligation, see Martindell v. Martindell, 21 N.J. 341, 353 (1956), and hold the 2014 amendments to the alimony statute did not alter the requirement that "[a] prima facie showing of changed circumstances must be made before a court will order discovery of an ex-spouse's financial status." Lepis, 83 N.J. at 157. Because the trial court ordered discovery in this case without a prima facie showing of changed circumstances, we reverse.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

IN THE MATTER OF THOMAS ORBAN/SQUARE PROPERTIES, LLC, FRESHWATER WETLANDS GENERAL PERMIT 6 NO. 1XXX-XX-0003.1 FWW070001, CHALLENGED BY SAVE HAMILTON OPEN SPACE (DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION) (A-3072-16T2)

Save Hamilton Open Space, a local citizens group, challenged the Department of Environmental Protection's issuance of a freshwater wetlands general permit 6 to Thomas Orban/Square Properties, LLC in connection with the construction of a shopping center in Hamilton Township
The court affirms the Commissioner's decision that SHOS is not entitled to an adjudicatory hearing. Because the court is unable, however, to discern where the agency has explained why Square Properties' use of the GSR-32 methodology to calculate recharge is consonant with the Department's regulations, which appear to expressly prohibit its use in these circumstances, it vacates the GP6 permit and remands for further fact-finding. In light of this disposition, the court does not address SHOS's argument that the agency needed to proceed through rulemaking.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. TEOSHIE WILLIAMS (14-09-0992, MIDDLESEX COUNTY AND STATEWIDE) (A-3944-16T2)

In this appeal, the court addressed whether police officers must inform the occupant of a residence that he or she has the right to refuse the officers' request to enter the residence. The court determined that while officers are required to inform the occupant of the right to refuse to consent to a search of the premises, a similar requirement does not apply to requests to simply enter the residence. Finding that the initial entry into defendant's apartment based on her consent to enter was permissible, the court affirmed the trial court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress evidence seized in a subsequent consent search of the apartment following a lawful protective sweep.

SCOTT ROGOW (DECEASED) V. BOARD OF TRUSTEES, POLICE AND FIREMEN'S RETIREMENT SYSTEM (A-1346-17T2)

Scott Rogow was a firefighter with the City of Paterson who retired on an accidental disability retirement allowance under N.J.S.A. 43:16A-7 and received his monthly accidental disability retirement allowance until his death approximately six years later. Approximately four years after his death, Rogow's widow, who had already received her survivor accidental disability benefits under N.J.S.A. 43:16A-7(3), filed a request with the Board to amend Rogow's pension status so that she could receive the enhanced survivor accidental death benefits under N.J.S.A. 43:16A-10.
N.J.S.A. 43:16A-10(1) provides for payment of survivor accidental death benefits "[u]pon the death of a member in active service as a result of . . . an accident met in the actual performance of duty at some definite time and place[.]" The court held that a PFRS member who is retired and receiving a retirement allowance from the PFRS at the time of his death is not a "member in service" and thus is not entitled to accidental death benefits under N.J.S.A. 43:16A-10.

MERRILL CREEK RESERVOIR C/O PROJECT DIRECT VS. HARMONY TOWNSHIP (TAX COURT OF NEW JERSEY) (CONSOLIDATED) (A-1498-16T3/A

Plaintiff Merrill Creek Reservoir c/o Project Direct, a consortium of electric utility companies and owner of the Merrill Creek Reservoir in Harmony Township, challenges three 2016 Tax Court judgments affirming the 2011-2013 tax assessments on its property. Harmony cross-appeals alleging error in adjustments the Tax Court made to value. Merrill Creek concedes the improvements should be valued using the cost approach the Tax Court employed but argues the Tax Court erred in accepting the Township's trend analysis, which it characterized as "a rarely used valuation methodology, discredited by New Jersey Tax Court precedent," instead of its own quantity survey method. Finding no error in the court's acceptance of a trend analysis in this case or its adjustments to value based on the evidence adduced at trial, we affirm the opinion of the Tax Court whose opinion is reported at 29 N.J. Tax 487 (Tax 2016).