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Sunday, November 24, 2019

RAYMOND NESBY, ET AL. VS. SHERYL FLEURMOND, ET AL. (L-1923-16, MIDDLESEX COUNTY AND STATEWIDE) (A-0958-16T4)

In this automobile insurance coverage action, plaintiff sought recovery of his unpaid medical expenses from the defendant carriers that issued policies to the tortfeasor's mother and sister, with whom the tortfeasor resided. Plaintiff had exhausted his personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. And, he settled his claims with the tortfeasor and owner of the vehicle by accepting the policy limit under the owner's policy. Because plaintiff was not a named insured under the tortfeasor's relatives' policies, did not reside with the named insureds nor occupy a vehicle insured under those policies – and released the tortfeasor from any and all claims arising from the accident – the court held his claims against the defendant insurers fail.

NEW JERSEY TRANSIT CORPORATION VS. CERTAIN UNDERWRITERS AT LLOYD'S LONDON, ET AL. (L-6977-14, ESSEX COUNTY AND STATEWIDE) (CONSOLIDATED) (A-1026-17T

For the period from July 2012 to July 2013, New Jersey Transit (NJT) had insurance policies that provided up to $400 million in coverage for property damage, but included a $100 million sublimit for losses generally "caused by flood." The damage to NJT property sustained during Superstorm Sandy came within the specific definitions in the policies of damage caused by "wind driven water" or a "storm surge" associated with a "named windstorm." Therefore, NJT's Sandy-related property damages do not fall within the general definition of losses "caused by flood," and are not subject to the $100 million flood sublimit.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

JOSEPH JARDIM VS. MICHAEL EDWARD OVERLEY (L-2341-18, UNION COUNTY AND STATEWIDE) (A-1073-18T3)

This appeal calls for the court to revisit the application of traditional constitutional principles of personal jurisdiction and due process in the context of a retail sale contract made over the Internet.
After viewing an Internet posting that advertised a vintage car for sale, a New Jersey customer sent an email to the California owner offering to buy it. The seller responded with a counteroffer, and the parties swiftly agreed on a price. The buyer arranged to have the purchased car shipped from California to New Jersey. When the vehicle arrived here, the buyer discovered it was in poor condition. He sued the seller in the Law Division. The seller moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of in personam jurisdiction. The judge granted the motion, and the buyer now appeals.
The court affirms the dismissal of the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction over the California seller. The seller in this one-time-sale scenario did not "purposely avail" himself of this State's retail market to a degree that rises to the level of "minimum contacts" needed to support personal jurisdiction under the Due Process Clause.
The parties' follow-up communications that occurred after they agreed on the car's price were insufficient to create a jurisdictional nexus to New Jersey. In addition, their simple contractual documents lacked a forum selection clause, which could have specified New Jersey as an agreed-upon forum.
The court does not foreclose a finding of specific jurisdiction in future Internet retail sale contexts in which more extensive transactional activities connected to this State occur.

C.R. VS. M.T. (FV-08-0021-19, GLOUCESTER COUNTY AND STATEWIDE) (RECORD IMPOUNDED) (A-0139-18T4)

The trial judge found, in this action under the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act (SASPA), N.J.S.A. 2C:14-13 to -21, that plaintiff's claim that she did not consent to a sexual encounter, or that she submitted out of fear, was in equipoise with defendant's contention that the sexual encounter was consensual. But, in entering a restraining order in plaintiff's favor, the judge determined that plaintiff was extremely intoxicated and incapable of consenting. Applying the definition of "mentally incapacitated" in N.J.S.A. 2C:14-1(i), the court determined that the intoxication required to render the alleged victim incapable of consenting could have been voluntarily consumed. And the court held that the intoxication level required to render an alleged victim incapable of consenting must have caused a prostration of faculties. Because the judge did not apply the prostration standard, the court remanded for further proceedings.

BRENDA MILLER V. STATE-OPERATED SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE CITY OF NEWARK (A-0078-16T3)

BRENDA MILLER V. STATE-OPERATED SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE CITY OF NEWARK (A-0078-16T3)
Petitioner, a former employee of the Newark school district, appealed from a Commissioner of Education decision finding that time she was employed in various classified Civil Service secretarial positions could not be used to calculate her entitlement to tenure under N.J.S.A. 18A:17-2. The statute provides that board of education employees holding secretarial or clerical positions obtain tenure after employment for three consecutive years and the beginning of the next succeeding school year. Although petitioner was employed in secretarial positions for more than three consecutive years, the Commissioner determined petitioner did not obtain tenure because under N.J.S.A. 18A:28-2 petitioner's employment in classified Civil Service secretarial titles did not satisfy the requirements of N.J.S.A. 18A:17-2.

KEVIN BLANCHARD VS. NEW JERSEY DEPARMENT OF CORRECTIONS (NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS) (A-3834-17T4)

In this Department of Corrections disciplinary appeal, the court holds that the Department acted arbitrarily, capriciously or unreasonably in denying a confirmatory laboratory test of a powder, seized from the inmate, which a field test indicated contained cocaine. The court reaches this conclusion in light of the field test's inherent limitations; the lack of other direct or circumstantial evidence that the inmate possessed drugs; the department's regulation compelling routine confirmatory tests of drug specimens; and the absence of any reasoned explanation for the Department's refusal to subject the seized powder to a confirmatory laboratory test.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

DAVID M. NAMEROW, M.D. v. PEDIATRICARE ASSOCIATES, LLC, SCOTT ZUCKER, M.D., JEFFREY M. BIENSTOCK, M.D., AND MELISSA CHISM, M.D.(C-000273-17)

Defendants filed a motion for partial summary judgment to which plaintiff responded with a cross-motion for partial summary judgment. On January 1, 2000, the parties entered into an Operating Agreement in order to form the limited liability company, PediatriCare. Subsequently, on March 12, 2001, the parties executed an amended and restated Operating Agreement, which was the operative document governing the relationship. In January 2016, plaintiff announced his intention to retire, which triggered Section 10 of the Operating Agreement. Section 10 provided the process for calculating the retirement purchase price, which required a net worth valuation methodology, in order to determine a value for a negotiated buyout price of plaintiff. However, various calculations of fair market valuation were done in order to effectuate a settlement as to a voluntary buy-out number, which the parties agree was never reached
Defendants then sought to invoke the net worth valuation of Section 10 of the Operating Agreement. Plaintiff argued that over a sixteen-year period, the Operating Agreement was modified to use the fair market value as opposed to a net worth valuation, based on the parties’ conduct over this time period. Defendants argue that the Operating Agreement is clear in its express provision concerning how to calculate the buyout price. Moreover, defendants note that the Operating Agreement also unambiguously states that it may be modified only through a vote of 80% of the membership interests in the company, and not through the course of conduct that plaintiff contends. The court found, upon reviewing the plain language of the Operating Agreement, and upon a lack of evidence that it was changed by the remaining members, that the net worth valuation methodology remained a part of the Operating Agreement and was the correct method for a retirement purchase price.
In addition, plaintiff suffered no oppression since the economic loss doctrine bars recovery when entitlement flows from the Operating Agreement. There was also no breach of fiduciary duty when the members acted in conformity with the provisions of the Operating Agreement. The court ultimately granted in part, and denied in part, defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment. As such, the court dismissed Counts I, II, and III of plaintiff’s second amended complaint.