Lawyers, and their clients, often want to file longer appellate briefs than the rules allow, or than judges desire.  When the length of appellate briefs was governed by page limits, some briefs began to appear with text, which had to be double-spaced, loaded into very lengthy single-spaced footnotes.  Others used wider than permitted margins in order to cram more words onto each line.  Now that page limits have been replaced by word limits, it has become harder to cheat.  Earlier this week, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit cracked down on a creative, and stubborn, cheater and dismissed that party’s appeal. read more

State v. K.P.S., ___ N.J. ___ (2015).  Two defendants who had been charged in the same indictment with many of the same crimes sought to suppress certain evidence.  The Law Division denied their application.  Both defendants were found guilty.  Both appealed the ruling on the suppression motion.  The two appeals were heard by different panels.  The panel that heard the first defendant’s appeal affirmed the Law Division’s refusal to suppress the evidence.  When the appeal of the second defendant, K.P.S., came before the second Appellate Division panel, those judges affirmed the ruling below on the ground that the decision of the first panel was the law of the case.  The second panel declined to address the issue on its merits because the appeal involved “the same trial court decision issued after the same evidentiary hearing, and the controlling law has not changed.” read more

In re Appeal of Z.L. From Denial of Firearms Purchaser Identification Card and Handgun Permits, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2015).  Z.L. applied for a firearms purchaser identification card and permits to purchase a handgun.  Applications for such permits go first to the local police chief.  After an investigation into Z.L.’s background was done, the police chief denied the application for the permits.  He explained that the investigation had “revealed a past history of domestic violence.  This in itself may indicate a public safety concern.”  The history was that in 1998, Z.L.’s wife had called police and charged Z.L. with simple assault, though she did not follow through on her complaint so the charge was not sustained.  Moreover, between 2003 and 2011, police responded five times to other domestic dispute complaints by Z.L.’s wife. read more

Llewelyn v. Shewchuk, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2015).  Orders directing that one parent in a divorce provide payments of child support terminate once the child become emancipated.  Yesterday’s opinion by Judge Rothstadt addresses some of the specific legal principles applicable in this area.  read more

Orders of Chief Justice Rabner that temporarily assigned three judges to the Appellate Division, in addition to any other assignments, were released on Friday, April 10.  The three judges are Judge John Tassini, who currently sits in Monmouth County, Judge Heidi Wills Currier, who currently sits in Middlesex County, and Judge Robert Gilson, who currently sits in Morris County.  Judge Tassini is temporarily assigned to Part E, Judge Currier to Part C, and Judge Gilson to Part A.  The temporary service period for all three jurists will run from April 13 through June 21. read more

In re Failure of the Council on Affordable Housing to Adopt Trust Fund Commitment Regulations, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2015).  The Fair Housing Act, N.J.S.A. 52:27D-329.2(a), states that the Council on Affordable Housing (“COAH”) “may authorize a municipality that has petitioned for substantive certification … to impose and collect development fees from developers of residential property.”  That section also provides that municipalities “may not spend or commit to spend any affordable housing development fees … without first obtaining [COAH's] approval of the expenditure,” and further requires that COAH “shall promulgate regulations regarding the establishment, administration and enforcement of the expenditure of affordable housing development fees by municipalities.”  read more

In re Blood Reagents Antitrust Litigation, ___ F.3d ___ (3d Cir. 2015).  In Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 133 S.Ct. 1426 (2013), discussed here, the Supreme Court reversed the 2011 decision of the Third Circuit in Behrend.  In that decision, the Third Circuit had stated that if a plaintiff’s damages model could “evolve to become admissible evidence,” challenges to that damages model under Daubert v. Merrelll Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), need not be resolved before certifying a class.  The District Court in this case had relied on the Third Circuit’s Behrend decision in certifying this matter as a class action.  In today’s opinion by Judge Scirica, the Third Circuit ruled that its own ”‘could evolve’ formulation of the Rule 23 standard did not survive” the Supreme Court’s decision in Behrend.  Accordingly, the panel reversed class certification and remanded for reconsideration. read more

Burgos v. New Jersey is a case that asserts that the State’s failure to make the full amortization payment required by statute as part of the State’s contribution to the pension system for fiscal year 2015 violates the constitutional rights of state employees.  The State asserted that a revenue shortfall led to and justified the decision not to make the full payment.  read more