State of New Jersey, Department of Env. Protection v. North Beach 1003, LLC, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2017).  Beach access has long been an important and controversial issue in New Jersey.  After Superstorm Sandy in 2013, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) partnered with the federal Army Corps of Engineers, pursuant to the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, Public Law 113-2, 127 Stat. 4, to replenish beaches and construct dunes in order to protect the shoreline.  The DEP had the responsibility of obtaining properties or easements necessary for that work.  If property owners did not agree to convey property or grant easements, the DEP sought to take property rights by eminent domain. read more

Abboud v. National Union Fire Ins. Co., ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2017).  This opinion by Judge Ostrer interpreted an “insured vs. insured” exclusion in a directors and officers liability insurance policy.  That exclusion generally bars coverage for claims by one insured against another, such as counterclaims brought against plaintiff by his fellow officers of a limited liability company and that LLC itself.  After the insurer denied coverage, plaintiff brought this declaratory judgment action against the insurer.  The Law Division granted summary judgment to the insurer, and the Appellate Division, applying the de novo standard of review applicable to summary judgment decisions and to contract interpretation, affirmed that ruling today. read more

Paff v. Galloway Tp., ___ N.J. ___ (2017).  In this OPRA case, as discussed here, plaintiff sought to obtain copies of fields in e-mails sent by the Galloway Township Clerk and the Township’s Police Chief during a two-week period in 2013.  Plaintiff did not seek the e-mails themselves, but only the “sender,” “recipient,” “date,” and “subject” fields of those e-mails.  The Township rejected the request on the ground that it would require the Township to create new records. read more

Gil v. Clara Maass Medical Center, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2017).  This was a medical malpractice case.  The appeal, however, resulted from the Law Division’s grant of summary judgment in favor of certain insurers, which threw out plaintiff’s claim that the allegedly negligent physician, Dr. Copur, was the covered hospital’s “employee” or a “leased worker,” or that the doctor’s limited liability company, FirstChoice OB/GYN LLC, was “affiliated or associated” with the hospital.  Judge Fisher’s opinion today evaluated the language of the governing insurance policies and concluded that those policy terms could not validly be read as plaintiffs wished.  Under the standards of Brill v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 142 N.J. 520 (1995), summary judgment was properly granted to the insurers. read more

The Supreme Court has granted review in four more cases.  In Cherokee LCP Land, LLC v. City of Linden Planning Bd., the question presented, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, is “Do plaintiffs have a sufficient interest in the property adjacent to the property to be developed (the development property), such that they have standing to challenge the municipal planning board’s site plan approval for the development property?” read more

Larkins v. Solter, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2017).  The Office of the State Comptroller (“OSC”) was established by the Legislature in 2007, in order to subject governmental financial activities to uniform, meaningful, and systematic public scrutiny.  N.J.S.A. 52:15C-1 et seq.  Among the OSC’s powers is the ability to audit, among other agencies, units of local government. read more

Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., LLC v. County of Bergen, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2017).  The Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 to -13 (“OPRA”), permits suits for access to public records covered by OPRA.  A successful OPRA litigant is entitled to attorneys’ fees.  But can an OPRA plaintiff sue and get fees if suit is not filed until after requested documents have already been made available?  That was the question in this case.  Writing for the Appellate Division, Judge Leone said “no.” read more

Ten years ago today, the Supreme Court decided Gallenthin Realty Development, Inc. v. Borough of Paulsboro, 191 N.J. 344 (2007).  It was the first time that the Court focused on the meaning of the term “blighted areas” in Article VII, section 3, paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution,a provision that allows such areas to be taken by eminent domain for redevelopment purposes. read more