On this date in 2003, the Appellate Division decided Seacoast Builders Corp. v. Rutgers, 358 N.J. Super. 524 (App. Div. 2003).  This was a relatively rare case in which the Appellate Division exercised original jurisdiction under Rule 2:10-5 to decide a discovery issue.  It was an even more rare result, since the panel ordered that documents otherwise protected by privilege be disclosed as a sanction for attorney misconduct. read more

Rippon v. Smigel, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2017).  This opinion by Judge Haas today reverses a dismissal that was based on lack of personal jurisdiction, forum non conveniens, and res judicata.  The main reason was the state of the motion record, which Judge Haas labeled as “sparse,” “thin,” and “meager.”  The lesson of this decision is that discovery is generally required in order to make an adequate record on which a court can decide a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction or forum non conveniens. read more

The Supreme Court has granted review in five cases.  One of them is an appeal as of right, by virtue of a dissent in the Appellate Division.  That case is State v. Twiggs.  The question presented there, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, is “When addressing the statute of limitations in a criminal matter, is N.J.S.A. 2C:1-6’s tolling provision- which applies when ‘the actor’ is identified by means of DNA evidence- triggered where the DNA analyzed belongs to a third party, rather than the defendant?”  The Appellate Division’s opinion, which was discussed here, limited “the actor” to the defendant, excluding any third party.  Judge Leone dissented from that result, which led to Supreme Court review. read more

The Supreme Court has announced that it has adjourned the oral arguments scheduled for tomorrow.  One of the cases to be argued was a major consumer class action case, Dugan v. TGI Friday’s, 445 N.J. Super. 59 (App. Div. 2016) (discussed here). read more

Acevedo v. Flightsafety International, Inc., ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2017).  In this opinion by Judge Reisner, the Appellate Division held that it was error for the Law Division to offset a back pay award under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. 10:5-12 to -49 (“LAD”) with a portion of the unemployment benefits that plaintiff received after having been fired for a disability.  The panel ruled that the collateral source statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:15-97, does not apply to LAD cases. read more

The Supreme Court announced today that it has granted leave to appeal in two criminal cases, each of which addresses the suppression of evidence.  In State v. Atwood, the question presented, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, is “Was the seized evidence properly suppressed based on defendant’s challenge to police conduct occurring prior to the issuance of the warrant?” read more

175 Executive House, LLC v. Miles, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2017).  A tenant who receives a rent subsidy under the federal “Section 8” voucher program, 42 U.S.C. §1437 to 1437z-9, cannot be evicted for non-payment of amounts not defined as rent, or for amounts that are “additional rent,” if the tenant is current with his or her share of the rent payments.  That was the holding of Sudersan v. Royal, 386 N.J. Super. 246 (App. Div. 2005).  Today, the Appellate Division was “tasked with deciding whether [New Jersey’s State’s Rental Assistance Program, known as] S-RAP, which ‘provide[s] rental assistance grants comparable to the federal [S]ection 8 program, N.J.S.A. 52:27D-287.1, is analogous to the Section 8 voucher program in prohibiting the eviction of a tenant solely for non-payment of additional rent charges.”  In an opinion by Judge Suter, the Appellate Division found that S-RAP requires the same result as does Section 8. read more

Due to a major Appellate Division argument of my own in a mass tort case on Tuesday of this week, I missed the announcement that five trial level judges are receiving additional temporary assignments to the Appellate Division.  The Appellate Division anticipates some retirements at the fast-approaching end of the term.  The untimely death of Judge Higbee, and the fact that Judge Guadagno has reached the mandatory retirement age, has already reduced the roster of the Appellate Division.   But the cavalry is coming to the rescue. read more