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Thursday, November 21, 2013

JAMES J. PROCOPIO, JR. VS. GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY

JAMES J. PROCOPIO, JR. VS. GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
INSURANCE COMPANY, a/k/a and d/b/a GEICO
 A-2313-12T2

On leave granted, we reverse the trial court's
interlocutory order compelling production of an insurer's
claim file without first awaiting the outcome of the
insured's bifurcated claim to underinsured (UIM) benefits,
as premature, inefficient and potentially prejudicial to
the insurer. We hold that where the underlying UIM or UM
claim has been severed from the insured's bad faith claim
for trial purposes, discovery as to the latter should await
completion of the former in the insured's favor. 11-21-13

Monday, November 4, 2013

WILLIAM SUSER VS. WACHOVIA MORTGAGE, FSB, ET AL. A-1330-12T2


WILLIAM SUSER VS. WACHOVIA MORTGAGE, FSB, ET AL.
 A-1330-12T2

In this appeal, the court considered whether
plaintiff, who had foreclosed on a mortgage and obtained
ownership of the property in question at a sheriff's sale,
could maintain a quiet-title action against the holders of
two previously-recorded mortgages. The court held that
even though there was no dispute about the validity and
priority of the other mortgages, the quiet title action
could be maintained to resolve the limited question of
whether one of the defendants had the right to foreclose in
light of the factual disputes concerning the validity of
its assignment and, for that reason, the court reversed the
summary judgment entered in favor of that defendant.
Summary judgment as to the other defendant, which came into
ownership of its mortgage through a merger with the
original mortgagee, was affirmed. 11-04-13

ADVANCE AT BRANCHBURG II, LLC VS. TOWNSHIP OF BRANCHBURG


ADVANCE AT BRANCHBURG II, LLC VS. TOWNSHIP OF
BRANCHBURG BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT
 A-1840-12T2

This appeal presented the issue of whether a
residential development consisting primarily of market-rate
housing, but also including affordable housing units,
constitutes an inherently beneficial use for the purposes
of obtaining a use variance pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-
70(d)(1). Plaintiff sought to build the development in an
industrial zone. In the reported portion of the opinion,
the panel concluded that such a development is not an
inherently beneficial use. In the unreported portion of
the opinion, the panel concluded that the Board's decision
denying the variance was not arbitrary, capricious or
unreasonable. 11-01-13

JOSEPH OETTINGER, III VS. TOWNSHIP OF BEDMINSTER


JOSEPH OETTINGER, III VS. TOWNSHIP OF BEDMINSTER,
 ET AL.
 A-1838-11T3/A-3182-11T3, CONSOLIDATED

Although it was enacted in 1979, there are no
published opinions that interpret or apply the Subpoena
First Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:84A-21.9 to -21.13 (the Act), which
has been described as "narrowly circumscrib[ing] the
situations in which the State can properly search and seize
materials acquired in the course of newsgathering." In
this case, we consider the application of the Act to a
suspect in a criminal investigation who asserted a claim to
its protection based upon his status as an "internet
publisher" after a search warrant was executed and his
suppression motion was denied. We hold that plaintiff
waived any claim to protection; that the officers here were
not required to conduct an investigation to determine
whether plaintiff was protected by the Act prior to seeking
a warrant; and that, even if plaintiff had timely asserted
his claim, he was not entitled to the Act's protection
because the materials sought were not obtained in the
course of newsgathering activities. The order granting
summary judgment is affirmed. 10-31-13

HONORABLE DANA L. REDD, ET AL. VS. VANCE BOWMAN, ET AL.

 HONORABLE DANA L. REDD, ET AL. VS. VANCE BOWMAN,
ET AL.
 A-5731-11T4

After Camden's city clerk certified an initiative
petition pursuant to the Faulkner Act, N.J.S.A. 40:69A-1 to
210, the mayor and city council president sought relief
declaring the proposed ordinance invalid and restraining
its further submission to the city council or the voters.

 The proposed initiative sought to maintain the city's
police department and prohibit the city from joining an
anticipated, newly-formed county-wide police department.
The Law Division judge granted plaintiffs' requested
relief, concluding that the proposed ordinance created an
undue restraint on the future exercise of municipal
legislative power and was invalid on its face. We
reversed, noting that prior decisions adopting this
judicially-imposed restriction on the Faulkner Act's
initiative provisions preceded the Legislature's 1982
amendment. That amendment vested an ordinance passed by
initiative with a special characteristic: "No such
ordinance shall be amended or repealed within 3 years
immediately following the date of its adoption by the
voters, except by a vote of the people." N.J.S.A. 40:69A-
196(a). Additionally, in a series of recent opinions
regarding the Faulkner Act's referendum provisions, the
Court has signaled that, absent express legislative
restrictions, the power of the voters to exercise their
rights to initiative and referendum cannot be abridged. 10-29-13