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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

EGG HARBOR CARE CENTER VS. PATRICIA SCHERALDI, ET AL. (L-0166-16, ATLANTIC COUNTY AND STATEWIDE) (A-2956-16T4)

After plaintiff Egg Harbor, a New Jersey nursing facility, commenced a collection action against various parties, the Californian defendant, Corey Pagano, moved to dismiss the case based upon a lack of personal jurisdiction. Defendant Pagano had not lived in New Jersey in over three decades and had not set foot in our state in seventeen years. Pagano's only connection to the forum stems from his mother, New Jersey and Egg Harbor resident Patricia Scheraldi, as he served as the payee for her incurred obligations, contacted plaintiff Egg Harbor surrounding her health care, and attempted to obtain her Medicaid coverage. In accordance with the purposeful availment requirement necessary to support minimum contacts, we conclude that it is inappropriate for a nonresident defendant to be subjected to personal jurisdiction based upon contacts with the forum state that cannot be reasonably prevented by the defendant. Based upon Pagano's contacts with New Jersey, it violates the longstanding principles of minimum contacts and reasonableness outlined in Int'l Shoe Co. v. Wash., 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) to hale him into our courts to defend this action. We affirm and remand with directions to amend the order to dismiss the case without prejudice.

JOY DESANCTIS, ET AL. VS. BOROUGH OF BELMAR, ET AL. (L-3550-15, MONMOUTH COUNTY AND STATEWIDE) (A-1074-16T3)

The mayor and council of the Borough of Belmar, in response to a protest petition seeking a referendum on an ordinance appropriating funds and authorizing the issuance of bonds and notes to construct a beach pavilion, passed a resolution to place the referendum on the ballot.
The court held a later-submitted permissive – not mandatory – interpretive statement of the ordinance was invalid because: 1) neither the borough administrator nor the borough attorney had authority to author and submit the interpretive statement to the county clerk without formal public approval of the mayor and counsel, and 2) the interpretive statement was misleading and contained extraneous language. The court also determined the interpretive statement's phraseology deprived plaintiffs of their substantive right of referendum protected by the New Jersey Civil Rights Act.
The court also upheld the trial judge's award of counsel fees and costs despite the absence of a retainer agreement between plaintiffs and counsel; and the judge's refusal to allocate fees and costs to beachgoers – not Belmar voters – as beneficiaries of plaintiffs' efforts.

MTK FOOD SERVICES, INC. D/B/A THE PALACE RESTAURANT VS. SIRIUS AMERICA INSURANCE COMPANY, ET AL. (L-1227-12, MONMOUTH COUNTY AND STATEWIDE) (A-1309-17T2)

The panel addresses whether New Jersey's six-year statute of limitations or Pennsylvania's two-year statute of limitations applies to a legal malpractice claim against a lawyer, who is licensed in both states and works in New Jersey, and his law firm, which has offices in both states. The legal services in question concerned a Pennsylvania lawsuit relating to a fire loss at a Pennsylvania restaurant. Applying the substantial-interest test for resolving statute-of-limitations conflicts, which our Supreme Court adopted in McCarrell v. Hoffman-La Roche, Inc., 227 N.J. 569, 574 (2017), we reverse the trial court's decision, which applied New Jersey law.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

MTK FOOD SERVICES, INC. D/B/A THE PALACE RESTAURANT VS. SIRIUS AMERICA INSURANCE COMPANY, ET AL. (L-1227-12, MONMOUTH COUNTY AND STATEWIDE) (A-1309-17T2)

The panel addresses whether New Jersey's six-year statute of limitations or Pennsylvania's two-year statute of limitations applies to a legal malpractice claim against a lawyer, who is licensed in both states and works in New Jersey, and his law firm, which has offices in both states. The legal services in question concerned a Pennsylvania lawsuit relating to a fire loss at a Pennsylvania restaurant. Applying the substantial-interest test for resolving statute-of-limitations conflicts, which our Supreme Court adopted in McCarrell v. Hoffman-La Roche, Inc., 227 N.J. 569, 574 (2017), we reverse the trial court's decision, which applied New Jersey law.

Continental Insurance Company v. Honeywell International, Inc. (078152) (Morris County and Statewide) (A-21-16; 078152)

New Jersey law on the allocation of liability among insurers applies in this matter, and the Court sets forth the pertinent choice-of-law principles to resolve this dispute over insurance coverage for numerous products-liability claims. Concerning the second question, on these facts, the Court also affirms the determination to follow the unavailability exception to the continuous-trigger method of allocation set forth in Owens-Illinois.

Mary Harz v. Borough of Spring Lake (078711) (Monmouth County and Statewide) (A-48-16; 078711)

The Borough’s zoning officer did not adhere to the precise statutory procedures for processing Harz’s appeal, and the Court does not take issue with Harz’s claims that the Borough could have responded in a more efficient way to her objections. In the end, however, Harz has not established that the Borough denied her the right to be heard before the Planning Board. She therefore cannot demonstrate that she was deprived of a substantive right protected by the Civil Rights Act.

Kean Federation of Teachers v. Ada Morell (078926) (Ocean County and Statewide) (A-84-16; 07892

There is no obligation to send Rice notices here, where the Board determined from the start to conduct its discussion about faculty reappointments in public session. Turning to the release of meeting minutes, the delay that occurred is unreasonable no matter the excuses advanced by the Board, but the Court modifies the Appellate Division’s holding requiring the Board to set a regular meeting schedule.