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Marcus Rayner
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For many years this website has hosted the blog of the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute, formerly the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance, but it is time for a change. From now on all NJCJI content will only be posted on the NJCJI website: http://www.civiljusticenj.org/ We encourage you to check out our new website, and to subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter so you continue to be in the know about civil justice reform in New... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of April 26 - May 2. Woman Sues Live Nation After Seat Full of Splinters Julia Marsh | New York Post A woman got a rude surprise when she politely slid to the other side of a bench to make room for a fellow Westbury concertgoer — a backside full of splinters. Linda Vanston, a schoolteacher from New Jersey, is suing the NYCB Theater... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
Marcus, Alida, and Emily are hitting the road this summer in an effort to spread the word about the need for civil justice reform in New Jersey! If your organization would like a briefing on legal reform, or an update on pending court cases and legislation that would expand employer liability, please let us know. We would be happy to give a presentation tailored to meet your organization’s needs at one of your upcoming meetings.... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
The New Jersey Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Expedited Civil Actions has released its recommendations for speeding the resolution of civil actions in state courts. The report recommends the court approve a mandatory pilot program for all Track 1 and Track 2 cases (which include property and contract disputes and insurance suits) that focuses on streamlining pre-trial procedures and limiting some in-court proceedings. The New Jersey Civil Justice Institute is hosting a teleforum on the... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
While this newsletter often focuses on NJCJI’s efforts in the legislature, we are also keenly attuned to what is going on in the court system. In fact, NJCJI is the only organization that systematically reviews every case taken up by the state’s Appellate Division courts and the New Jersey Supreme Court to determine what impact each case might have on the state’s civil justice system. NJCJI can often provide or coordinate amicus curiae briefs in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) has released a new white paper examining the evolution of state consumer protection acts, including the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. Consumer Protection Acts or Consumer Litigation Acts? A Historical and Empirical Examination of State CPAs, was written for ATRA by Professor Joanna Shepherd-Bailey of the Emory University School of Law. In the article, Shepherd-Bailey demonstrates that what she calls a steady “devolution” of CPAs since the 1980s ̶... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
Each day seems to bring additional news confirming what we already know: New Jersey needs to restart its economic engine. The state took a tremendous hit during the recession, and has yet to fully recover. The state’s unemployment rate remains high, and the budget gaps continues to widen as revenue collections miss their targets. While the government does not and cannot create the jobs needed to buoy the economy in and of itself, it does... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
The New Jersey Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Expedited Civil Actions has released its recommendations for speeding the resolution of civil actions in state courts without sacrificing due process. The report recommends the court approve a mandatory pilot program for all Track 1 and Track 2 cases (which include property and contract disputes and insurance suits) that focuses on streamlining pre-trial procedures and limiting some in-court proceedings. The court’s notice to the bar summarizes the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
On April 15th, the New Jersey Civil Justice Council hosted the first in a new series of policy teleforums designed to give NJCJI supporters an inside look at some of the most pressing policy issues and court cases in New Jersey. David Kott, a partner at McCarter & English LLP and member of the NJCJI Board, was the featured speaker at the first teleforum. Kott gave call participants some background information on business litigation in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
On April 10, the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Working Group on Business Litigation released its report analyzing the needs of the state’s business community and proposed actions by the court system that could address those needs. The New Jersey Civil Justice Institute will be holding a teleforum on the report with working group member David Kott, a partner at McCarter & English LLP and member of the NJCJI Board, on Tuesday, April 15th from 1:30-2:00... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
The New Jersey Supreme Court’s Working Group on Business Litigation has released its report analyzing the needs of the state’s business community and proposed actions by the court system that could address those needs. As Chief Justice Rabner mentioned at our Spring Luncheon, he opposes the creation of a separate business court within the judiciary. Bearing that in mind, the committee’s report recommends that an existing pilot program in the Bergen and Essex vicinages targeting... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
New Jersey was one of the first jurisdictions to recognize the increasing importance of expert testimony in modern litigation, one of the first to stress the importance of judicial gate keeping, and one of the first to adopt a more structured multi-factor test for examining the validity of expert testimony. Unfortunately, New Jersey can no longer claim it is on the cutting edge when it comes to ensuring bad science is barred from the courtroom.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of March 29-April 4, 2014. Credit Card Receipt Spawns Class Action “There was no foul. No one had a problem until a lawyer saw this and he filed a suit against us,” Friedman said. “But if we fight it, we’re not going to win.” This is becoming a common refrain from small business owners in New Jersey thanks to an increasing number of state... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
The New Jersey Civil Justice Institute is currently accepting applications for a paid summer internship at our Trenton office. The ideal candidate will be a current law student that is supportive of NJCJI's legal reform efforts, comfortable with legal research, and able to write for both a legal audience and the general public. Applicants should send a cover letter, writing sample, list of references, and resume to info@civiljusticenj.org by April 30. NJCJI is a 501(c)(6),... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
The New Jersey State Bar Association’s Task Force on Judicial Independence held the first of its four public hearings on April 1, 2014, at the New Jersey Law Center. Though over 20 people testified at the three-hour hearing, few offered concrete suggestions for how the court system could be improved. The majority of the testimony focused on perceived problems with the system. The majority of the complaints centered on the interaction between the judicial branch... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
“There was no foul. No one had a problem until a lawyer saw this and he filed a suit against us,” Friedman said. “But if we fight it, we’re not going to win.” This is becoming a common refrain from small business owners in New Jersey thanks to an increasing number of state laws that encourage regulation by litigation. While the judicial system is well suited for settling disputes between parties; it is not well... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
The Star-Ledger editorial, "Bullying: If schools are liable, parents can be, too" (March 31), appropriately raised warnings about using courts to hold parents of child bullies liable, but I disagree with the conclusion that some good can come from the threat of litigation. The judicial system is well-suited for settling clearly defined disputes where a legal remedy is an adequate end to the situation. It is ill-prepared to establish and enforce standards of moral behavior... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
NJCJI played host to the New Jersey contingent of the Accredited Snow Contractors Association this week when ASCA came to the New Jersey State House to lobby legislators on the need for liability reform that protects their businesses from frivolous slip and fall lawsuits. ASCA members provide snow and ice management services to business and homeowners, often in conditions many would deem the worst winter has to offer. They are our heroes during the worst... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
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On Wednesday, March 26, 2014, NJCJI hosted a training session on civil justice reform for legislative staff, government affairs professionals, and other interested parties. The event featured remarks from NJCJI staff, practicing attorneys, and the business community, all focusing on what civil justice reform actually is and why it is important. Seth Lamont, CNA Insurance, Inc. and Chairman of NJCJI kicked off the training with a discussion of the real world implications of having a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
Fee-shifting provisions are showing up in proposed legislation in New Jersey with increasing frequency. These provisions, which allow prevailing plaintiffs to recover attorney’s fees and court costs, encourage frivolous litigation, discourage settlement, and drive up the cost of lawsuits. Proponents argue that fee-shifting provisions enhance access to the courts for plaintiffs who might lack the resources to hire an attorney. However, for bills with largely regulatory objectives, consumers can obtain redress far more efficiently, via... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
The New Jersey Civil Justice Institute has filed a motion to participate as amicus curiae in DeMarco v. Stoddard. The issue in the case is whether the rule for third party recovery that applies in the automobile context should be extended to medical malpractice absent statutory foundation, thereby requiring a malpractice insurer to underwrite a claim against a doctor who lied in order to get insurance coverage. Thomas DeMarco was a patient of the defendant,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner was the featured speaker at NJCJI’s Spring Luncheon on March 19. During his remarks, Rabner stressed the administrative role of the courts and discussed ways in which the business community can get more involved with the justice system. Rabner began his speech with an overview of the New Jersey court system, and a reminder for attendees that the supreme court not only hears cases, but also is responsible for administering the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of March 8-14, 2014. Flushability of Wipes Spawns Class-Action Lawsuit U-Jin Lee | ABC News A New York doctor has filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the makers of "flushable" wipes after experiencing what he claims were major plumbing and clogging issues in his home. “The defendants should have known that their representations regarding flushable wipes were false and misleading,” the complaint states. The... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
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This week we moved into our new office building at 112 W. State Street in Trenton. Stop by and say hello the next time you are in the area! Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch
Amending New Jersey’s law governing the appeal-ability of class certifications has long been a priority of the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute because the current practice of allowing appeals only by permission of the court emphasizes economics over justice, and invites plaintiffs to file weak claims. A rule change permitting interlocutory appeal of class certification decisions would enhance the predictability and fairness of the judicial process, and increase the likelihood that courts reach decisions based... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2014 at Lawsuit Reform Watch