New clients email us evenings and weekends go to www.njlaws.com/ContactKenV.htmKenneth Vercammen was included in the 2015 “Super Lawyers” list published by Thomson Reuters.

Kenneth Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications on litigation topics. He was awarded the NJ State State Bar Municipal Court Practitioner of the Year. He lectures for the Bar and handles litigation matters. He is Past Chair of the ABA Tort & Insurance Committee,GP on Personal Injury and was a speaker at the ABA Annual Meeting attended by 10,000 attorneys and professionals. To schedule a confidential consultation, email us at VercammenAppointments@NJlaws.com, call or

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Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C.

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Mortgage Grader, Inc. v. Ward & Olivo, LLP (A-53-14;

Mortgage Grader, Inc. v. Ward & Olivo, LLP (A-53-14; 075310) 

The requirement in Rule 1:21-1C(a)(3) that law firms organized as LLPs maintain malpractice insurance does not extend to the firm’s windup period when the law firm has ceased performing legal services, and does not require purchase of tail insurance. In addition, the violation of Rule 1:21-1C(a)(3) does not result in automatic conversion of a law firm organized as an LLP into a GP. As a result, Mortgage Grader had no vicarious liability claim against Ward. 

Tonique Griffin v. City of East Orange (A-32-14; 074937)

Tonique Griffin v. City of East Orange (A-32-14; 
074937) 

The trial court erred when it barred the testimony of a witness who claimed that her superiors instructed her to lie to the person investigating sexual harassment claims because the testimony was relevant to plaintiffs’ claims for compensatory and punitive damages arising from hostile work environment sexual harassment, satisfied an exception to the hearsay rule, and its relevance was not substantially outweighed by the risk of undue prejudice. 

Robert Smith v. Millville Rescue Squad (A-19-14; 074685)

 Robert Smith v. Millville Rescue Squad (A-19-14; 
074685) 

The protection that the LAD affords against discrimination based on marital status is not limited to the state of being single or married. The LAD also prohibits discrimination against a prospective or current employee based on their status as separated, in the process of divorce, or divorced. The evidence that plaintiff presented at trial suggests that defendant’s animus toward divorcing persons, based on stereotypical views, affected the decision to terminate plaintiff’s employment, and therefore created an inference of discrimination due to defendant’s marital status. The trial court erred in finding that plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case of marital-status discrimination in employment under the LAD. 

CAPITAL HEALTH SYSTEM, INC., ET AL. VS. HORIZON HEALTHCARE SERVICES, INC./ SAINT PETER'S UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL VS. HORIZON HEALTHCARE SERVICES, INC. A-2913-15T2/A-2929-15T2

 CAPITAL HEALTH SYSTEM, INC., ET AL. VS. HORIZON HEALTHCARE SERVICES, INC./ SAINT PETER'S UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL VS. HORIZON HEALTHCARE 
SERVICES, INC. 
A-2913-15T2/A-2929-15T2(CONSOLIDATED) 
These two back-to-back appeals are related to our June 7 opinion in Capital Health Sys., Inc. v. N.J. Dep't of Banking & Ins., ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2016), where we affirmed the Department of Banking and Insurance's decision approving Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey's (Horizon's) application to establish the OMNIA Health Alliance (OMNIA) network. Several of the hospitals in that case brought actions in the Chancery Division against Horizon alleging that the insurer breached its contracts with them by, among other things, not including them as Tier 1 hospitals in the new OMNIA network. The trial courts granted the hospitals' requests for discovery of a consultant's report Horizon used to select and tier the hospitals for the network, contracts between Horizon and the OMNIA hospitals, and other proprietary business information concerning the formation of the network. 

In our decision, we considered the relevancy of this material to the hospitals' claims, and then balanced it against Horizon's need to maintain the confidentiality of material which, if disclosed, could give plaintiffs a competitive advantage over other hospitals in each of their service areas and over the insurer in future negotiations concerning rates. As a result of this balancing, we ordered specific redactions to be made in the materials sought by the hospitals. 

ANDREA DAVIDOVICH VS. ISRAEL ICE SKATING FEDERATION, ET AL. A-0283-15T1

 ANDREA DAVIDOVICH VS. ISRAEL ICE SKATING FEDERATION, ET AL. 
A-0283-15T1 
Plaintiff is a teenage ice skater of dual United States-Israeli citizenship. She filed a complaint in the Law Division seeking to break free from the Israeli ice skating federation she represented in the pairs event at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Plaintiff, whose Israeli skating partner severed their relationship shortly after the Olympics, now wishes to compete internationally for the United States. 
Under the rules of the International Skating Union ("ISU"), plaintiff cannot skate for the United States without obtaining a 
release from the Israeli federation. The federation has declined to grant her such an unconditional release, contending that doing so will detrimentally encourage other skaters in whom it has invested substantial resources to switch their affiliations to other countries. 
The trial court granted partial summary judgment to plaintiff and ordered the federation to issue a release over its objection. We granted leave to appeal to defendants. 

We reverse the trial court's summary judgment ruling and vacate the court-ordered release because of (1) the strong general policies disfavoring judicial interference into the internal affairs of sporting organizations, (2) the need for possible non-judicial remedies to be exhausted with the ISU, and (3) the presence of genuine disputed issues of material fact and business justification. However, we affirm the trial court's denial of summary judgment to both sides on a separate count of the complaint alleging defendants' tortious interference with plaintiff's prospective economic opportunities. 

LISA R. WORTHY VS. KENNEDY HEALTH SYSTEM, ET AL. A-2698-14T1

LISA R. WORTHY VS. KENNEDY HEALTH SYSTEM, ET AL. 
A-2698-14T1 
In this medical negligence matter, we examine whether plaintiff met the requirements of Rule 4:26-4, the fictitious party pleading rule, to save her claims from being dismissed as untimely. Plaintiff consulted counsel less than two months prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations. A complaint was filed in time, in which the illegible signatures and professional designations of unidentified defendants, as taken from hospital treatment records, were used in lieu of typed names. The signatures were placed in the caption and included in the complaint's specific allegations of negligence. Counsel's post-complaint efforts to identify all defendants included correspondence, telephone calls, motions for enforcement, special interrogatories, and depositions. The hospital did not identify those professionals for approximately fifteen months after the complaint was filed. The judge dismissed the complaint, finding identification efforts prior to its filing were insufficient. We reversed. Not only must the court consider all facts and circumstances, but also must determine whether defendant suffered prejudice from any delay, which resulted from the hospital's lapses, not plaintiff's. 
We also reviewed facts supporting causation regarding another defendant, who argued despite his alleged failure to 

diagnose and treat plaintiff's condition, she would not have experienced a better outcome. Concluding the judge failed to apply the proper legal standard, we reverse. 

BRICK TOWNSHIP PBA LOCAL 230 AND MICHAEL SPALLINA VS. TOWNSHIP OF BRICK A-1979-14T3

BRICK TOWNSHIP PBA LOCAL 230 AND MICHAEL SPALLINA VS. TOWNSHIP OF BRICK 
A-1979-14T3 
The judge concluded that Michael Spallina, who retired as a police officer on accidental disability, was required by N.J.S.A. 40A:10-21.1, L. 2011, c. 78, § 42, effective June 28, 2011 (Chapter 78) to contribute to the cost of his health insurance provided as a benefit along with disability retirement payments. 

We held that Chapter 78 does not require ordinary or accidental disability retirees to make premium payments for health insurance benefits.