In this legal-malpractice case, the corporate plaintiff and its president appeal from an order granting defendants' summary-judgment motion. The trial court found plaintiffs' expert had failed to analyze how defendants' alleged breaches of the standard of care would have impacted a potential jury verdict or settlement and had not opined that defendants' alleged malpractice proximately caused any damages. The judge also dismissed the president's individual claim because the undisputed facts showed she and defendants did not have an attorney-client relationship.
Sunday, August 27, 2023
Sunday, August 20, 2023
Defendant appeals from Family Part orders enforcing provisions of a marital settlement agreement (MSA). A critical area of dispute centered on plaintiff's desire to obtain a get—a divorce recognized under Jewish religious law through a process known as a beis din proceeding. Before a verdict was reached in the Family Part divorce trial, the parties reached an agreement on all issues, including each party's obligations with respect to participation in beis din proceedings.
Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at a federal prison located in New Jersey, wants to marry someone who is incarcerated at a federal prison located in a different state. He sued the New Hanover Township Municipal Clerk and Registrar, claiming she had violated his civil rights contrary to the New Jersey Civil Rights Act, N.J.S.A. 10:6-1 to -2, by applying the requirement in N.J.S.A. 37:1-7 and -8 that couples appear in person to obtain a marriage license. He appeals an order denying his motion for a preliminary injunction and granting defendant's cross-motion to dismiss the complaint. He argues the enforcement of the in-person requirement was unconstitutional and contends the motion judge should have used his equitable powers to enjoin enforcement of the requirement.
Sunday, August 6, 2023
On February 23, 2017, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a flood hazard area applicability determination (FHA Determination) to Hampton Farm, LLC (Hampton Farm). Shortly thereafter, appellant Musconetcong Watershed Association (MW Association) requested the DEP to conduct an adjudicatory hearing so it could challenge the FHA Determination. Four years later, on April 6, 2021, the DEP denied that request. MW Association timely appealed from the April 6, 2021 decision. It also sought leave to appeal from the February 23, 2017 FHA Determination, contending it had become final when the DEP denied MW Association's request for a hearing. On an interlocutory motion, a two-judge panel of the court denied leave. The court now reconsiders, reverses that interlocutory ruling, and grants leave to appeal.
Plaintiff, who had been terminated from his position as assistant commissioner for the Department of Health, filed a complaint against the State, alleging a claim under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), N.J.S.A. 34:19-1 to -8. In his second amended complaint, plaintiff asserted a defamation claim against Governor Philip D. Murphy. A Law Division judge granted defendants' motion to dismiss the defamation claim, concluding plaintiff had not pleaded the element of actual malice with sufficient specificity.In his fourth amended complaint, plaintiff again asserted a defamation claim against Governor Murphy, referencing in particular statements made during May 29, 2020 and June 1, 2020 press briefings. Defendants moved to dismiss the defamation claim pursuant to Rule 4:6-2(e). The judge denied the motion, concluding plaintiff had pleaded sufficient facts in the fourth amended complaint to demonstrate actual malice.
The court reversed, concluding the judge had misapplied the actual-malice standard. After conducting a de novo review, the court held plaintiff's conclusory allegations did not meet the actual-malice standard and, as a result, plaintiff's defamation claim failed. Reversing the denial of defendants' motion to dismiss, the court remanded the case with a direction that the judge enter an order dismissing the defamation claim.
Plaintiffs sued defendants, a law firm and three individuals associated with the firm, claiming that their rights of privacy had been violated when defendants failed to redact their personal identifiers contrary to the directive of Rule 1:38-7. Plaintiffs also contended that defendants violated one plaintiff's right of privacy by including records of that plaintiff's arrest and criminal charges. The court holds that Rule 1:38-7 did not create a private cause of action for a violation of the Rule. Instead, the remedy for a violation of Rule 1:38-7 is set forth in the Rule, which states that a party or other interested individual can move, on an expedited basis, to replace documents containing unredacted personal identifiers with redacted documents. R. 1:38-7(g). The court also holds that plaintiffs failed to state viable causes of action for invasions of privacy or infliction of emotional distress. Accordingly, the court affirms the dismissal of plaintiffs' complaint.
Sunday, July 30, 2023
510(k) evidence is generally inadmissible because the 510(k) clearance process solely determines substantial equivalency, and not safety and efficacy. However, in a products liability claim premised not only on principles of negligence, but particularly on the reasonableness of a manufacturer’s conduct in not performing clinical trials or studies, evidence of 510(k) clearance has significant probative value under N.J.R.E. 401 that is not substantially outweighed by the risk of prejudice and potential juror confusion under N.J.R.E. 403. Therefore, under the specific facts and circumstances of this case, the Court affirms the judgment of the Appellate Division. However, the Court parts ways with the Appellate Division’s decision as to its suggestion that the scope and admissibility of 510(k) evidence should be determined in a Rule 104 hearing. Instead, the scope and admissibility of 510(k) evidence should be resolved at the hearing on a motion in limine, which is how the issue was and, presumably, will be raised. Section 5 of the PLA does not bar plaintiffs’ recovery of punitive damages, and because evidence of 510(k) clearance should have been admitted in the first stage of trial as relevant to the reasonableness of Bard’s conduct in not performing clinical trials or studies, it would also be admissible in the second, punitive damages stage.