In re Horizon Healthcare Services Inc. Data Breach Litig., ___ F.3d ___ (3d Cir. 2017).  [Dislcosure:  My firm, Lite DePalma Greenberg, LLC, is co-lead counsel for the successful plaintiffs in this appeal].  Horizon Healthcare Services, Inc. (“Horizon”) provides health care insurance to millions of New Jersey citizens.  Horizon kept insureds personal identifying information on laptop computers.  That information was password-protected but was not encrypted.  Two laptop computers, containing the personal identifying information of over 839,000 members, were stolen from Horizon’s offices. read more

Today is inauguration day for Donald Trump.  He and his designee to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson, might take a lesson from a decision issued on this date in 1983 by a unanimous Supreme Court of New Jersey.  That opinion is Southern Burlington Cty. NAACP v. Mount Laurel Tp., 92 N.J. 158 (1983), otherwise known as Mount Laurel II (Mount Laurel I having been decided in 1976, as discussed here). read more

Tisby v. Camden Cty. Correctional Facility, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2017).  Plaintiff, a corrections officer at the defendant correctional facility(“CCCF”) since 2002, became a Muslim in 2015.  She began to wear a khimar (also known as a hijab), which is a tight-fitting head covering that Muslim women are obligated by their religion to wear.  Her supervisor told her that she was not in conformance with the facility’s policy regarding uniforms, which allowed only “authorized headgear as prescribed by prevailing departmental regulations.”  After some intermediate events, including a two-day suspension, plaintiff was relieved of her position when she continued to wear the khimar. read more

In re Declaratory Judgment Actions Filed by Various Municipalities, ___ N.J. ___ (2017).  In the Appellate Division decision in this case, reported at 446 N.J. Super. 259 (App. Div. 2016), and discussed here, the panel faced the question of whether a municipality’s affordable housing need for the period of 1999-2015 (a time when the Council on Affordable Housing failed to adopt valid third-round rules for calculating municipal fair share obligations for low and moderate-income housing) needed to be accounted for, and how.  The panel reversed a Law Division decision that had mandated the inclusion of this “gap period” calculation as a “separate and discrete component.” read more

Royster v. New Jersey State Police, ___ N.J. ___ (2017).  Today’s decision is a unique one.  Writing for the majority of five Justices (Justices LaVecchia, Patterson, Fernandez-Vina, Solomon, and Timpone), Justice Solomon affirmed the decision of the Appellate Division that the New Jersey State Police could properly assert the doctrine of sovereign immunity for the first time in a seven-year litigation in a post-trial motion for judgment.  The jury had awarded plaintiff $500,000 on his claim under the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12101 to 12113 (“ADA”). read more

The Supreme Court announced today that it has granted review in two new cases.  The first, New Jersey Division of Child Protection & Permanency v. A.B., is before the Court by virtue of a dissent in the Appellate Division.  The question presented in that appeal, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, is “Did defendant abuse or neglect her sixteen-year-old daughter by refusing to permit her daughter to live in the family home after she ran away?”  The case got a lot of publicity at the trial level, where a finding of abuse and neglect was made.  The Appellate Division majority (Judges Yannotti and St. John) affirmed in a per curiam opinion.  Judge Guadagno dissented, which prompted this appeal as of right. read more

Kirkpatrick v. Hidden View Farm, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2017).  A boy who tagged along with his mother to a horse farm but did not himself take part in any horse-related activity there was barred from suing when he was bitten by a horse as he walked by its stall.  The reason for that, as explained in Judge Sabatino’s opinion for the Appellate Division in this case, was that the Equestrian Activities Liability Act, N.J.S.A. 5:15-1 to -12, provides immunity from suit not only by injured persons who engage in “equine animal activities,” but also by any “participant,” a term that the statute defines as including “anyone accompanying the participant, or any person coming on to the property of the provider of equine animal activities or equestrian area ….”  Also barred from suit are “spectators,” defined as persons “present in an equestrian area for the purpose of observing equine animal activities whether or not an invitee.” read more

Last Friday, the Third Circuit announced that it will begin to post on its website, www.ca3,uscourts.gov, “videos of oral arguments in select cases,” more specifically, those that are “deemed to be of significant interest to the public, the bar, or the academic community.”  The Third Circuit thus becomes the second Court of Appeals to make oral argument videos available to the public.  The Supreme Court of New Jersey has offered live webcasts of all oral arguments since January 2005. read more