Cranford Development Associates v. Cranford Tp., ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2016).  This Mount Laurel litigation resulted in a builder’s remedy for construction of a 360-unit residential development in Cranford.  The Township and other defendant municipal agencies appealed, but the Appellate Division affirmed the ruling below.  Near the outset of the Appellate Division’s opinion, Judge Reisner, writing for the panel, said “Judge Lisa F. Chrystal issued a series of lengthy, comprehensive and correct opinions over the course of the litigation.”  Those opinions included a 106-page oral opinion granting the builders’ remedy. read more

Sackman v. New Jersey Manufacturers Ins. Co., ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2016).  [Disclosure:  I represent New Jersey Manufacturers in certain litigation, but not in this case].  This opinion, issued today, involved an underinsured motorist claim against an insurance company.  The case was tried for three days, and the jury, after deliberating for twenty minutes, returned a verdict in favor of defendant and against plaintiffs.  Plaintiffs appealed and the Appellate Division affirmed.  Judge Fuentes wrote the panel’s opinion, which applied the standard of review, applicable to jury verdicts, that there was sufficient evidence and legitimate inferences therefrom to permit the jury to find as it did. read more

With breathtaking speed, Walter Timpone, whom Governor Christie, in a surprise move, nominated to the Supreme Court on April 11, and who cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday with a unanimous vote, was today confirmed by the full Senate.  The vote was 32-1.  There was no floor debate.  Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) was the only one to vote against the nomination. read more

As expected, the Senate Judiciary Committee today took up Governor Christie’s nomination of Walter Timpone to the Supreme Court.  Though there was some questioning of the nominee about his decision to recuse himself from the Election Law Enforcement Commission’s consideration of an issue relating to Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, as promised by certain Senators, Timpone emerged from the Judiciary Committee with a unanimous vote in his favor.  Senators from both parties praised him effusively. The full Senate is expected to vote on the nomination next week. read more

There is the potential that Governor Christie’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Walter Timpone, could appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee as early as tomorrow.  Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) said that is “the goal,” but that arrangements for an appearance then had not been solidified.  “One of his hometown senators has not yet had the opportunity to meet with him and to sign off on his application,” Scutari said, according to a report in the Star-Ledger. read more

Robertelli v. New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics, ___ N.J. ___ (2016).  As today’s decision by Chief Justice Rabner describes in exquisite detail, the Supreme Court has established two different bodies to regulate attorneys:  the District Ethics Committees (“DECs”) and the Office of Attorney Ethics (“OAE”).  Today’s ruling addresses the interplay between those two agencies, which are both governed by Rule 1:20. read more

In re NFL Players Concussion Injury Litig., ___ F.3d ___ (3d Cir. 2016).  Too often, objectors to settlements of class action litigation “risk making the perfect the enemy of the good,” to quote Judge Ambro’s opinion for the Third Circuit in this case today.  But “perfect” is not the test.  Instead, class action settlements need only be “fair, reasonable, and adequate” for the class.  Applying the abuse of discretion standard, today’s opinion upholds a $1 billion settlement for a class of professional football players against challenges to the adequacy of the settlement and the certification of a class.  (The Third Circuit had earlier ruled, as discussed here, that preliminary approval of the settlement in this case was not immediately appealable). read more

Paff v. Galloway Tp., ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2016).  John Paff is a frequent litigant under the Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq. (“OPRA”).  In this case, he sought logs of all emails sent by the Galloway Township Clerk and its Chief of Police for a two-week period in June 2013.  Paff did not request the emails themselves, but instead wanted “an itemized list showing the sender, recipient, date, and subject of all emails” between those two officials during that time.  There were no such logs or itemized lists.  They would have to be created.  The request was denied and Paff then sued.  He prevailed in the Law Division, but today the Appellate Division reversed.  Judge Hoffman wrote the panel’s opinion. read more