Cashin v. Bello, ___ N.J. ___ (2015).  The cardinal principle of statutory interpretation is that plain language controls and ends the need for any further inquiry.  In this opinion by Justice Fernandez-Vina, speaking for a unanimous Supreme Court, the issue was whether the Anti-Eviction Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1 et seq., which allows an “owner of a building of three residential units or less” to remove a tenant if the owner intends to occupy personally that tenant’s unit, would permit removal of a tenant from a two-story single-family house (actually, a converted garage) where the owner also owned a multi-unit apartment building on the same parcel of land.  In short, the issue was whether “‘building’ denotes a single, unattached physical structure– an interpretation that would permit ouster of the tenant in this case– or whether ‘building’ includes all structures owned by an individual that are located on the same parcel of land.” read more

The Supreme Court announced yesterday that Justice Fernandez-Vina recently had eye surgery and is scheduled for another operation “in the near future” as well.  Accordingly, he will not be participating in oral arguments for “a number of months.”  As a result, he will not take any role in those cases, though he will continue to participate in cases that have already been argued, and in the Supreme Court’s review of petitions for certification.  Until Justice Fernandez-Vina resumes his full duties, the Court will handle its docket with six jurists (five Justices and Judge Cuff) sitting. read more

Yesterday, October 1, and the day before, September 30, the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, the Appellate Division Clerk’s Office, and other Clerk’s Offices in the Hughes Justice Complex in Trenton were closed due to “a facilities-related issue” involving the HVAC system at the Justice Complex.  Chief Justice Rabner has announced that “in the computation of time periods under the Rules of Court and under any statute of limitations, for purposes of filing deadlines,” both September 30 and October 1 “shall be deemed the same as a legal holiday.”  The effect of that is to extend applicable filing deadlines by two days. read more

In re Revel AC, Inc., ___ F.3d ___ (3d Cir. 2015).  “We seldom focus on how to balance the four factors that determine whether to grant a stay pending appeal despite the practical and legal importance of these procedural standstills.  So we take this opportunity to do just that.”  So began Judge Ambro’s majority opinion, for himself and Judge Krause in this opinion, issued yesterday.  The case is an outgrowth of the bankruptcy of the Revel casino in Atlantic City. read more

Chief Justice Rabner announced yesterday that Judges Karen Suter and Francis Vernoia are being temporarily assigned to the Appellate Division.  For the period of October 19 through December 27, 2015, Judge Suter will be assigned to Part A and Judge Vernoia to Part G.  Such temporary assignments often lead to permanent elevation to the Appellate Division.  Judge Suter is currently the Presiding Judge, Chancery, in Burlington County, while Judge Vernoia sits as Presiding Judge, Criminal, in Monmouth County. read more

As discussed here, the Third Circuit Clerk’s Office will be closed from September 24-28, reopening on September 29, due to the visit to Philadelphia of Pope Francis.  The Court has now posted information on the front page of its website about how to initiate emergency motions during that time.  The notice states that for emergency motions, that is, motions requiring action before October 1, 2015, applicants are to call 267-299-4903 or -4904 and leave a message.  The message must detail the nature of the emergency and provide a contact telephone number so that the attorney on duty can respond.  No administrative stays will be issued in immigration cases during the closure period, but if an emergency stay is needed, the emergency number should be called. read more

Kaye v. Rosefielde, ___ N.J. ___ (2015).  Kaye v. Rosefielde, 432 N.J. Super. 421 (App. Div. 2013), discussed here, seemed destined for Supreme Court review.  The Court did grant review, but limited to the issue of whether a court may order an employee who has breached a duty of loyalty to his employer, but without causing the employer any damages, to disgorge the employee’s compensation, in whole or in part.  Today, in a unanimous opinion by Justice Patterson, the Court ruled that courts have the ability to award that relief as an equitable remedy in proper cases.  The Court applied the de novo standard of review to the purely legal issue at hand.  The result reversed the Appellate Division and remanded the case to the trial court to determine whether the remedy was appropriate here. read more

A.A. v. Gramiccioni, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2015).  It is unusual for a plaintiff to be permitted to use only initials in filing a complaint.  As Judge Simonelli explained in this opinion, “[a]bsent a statute or court rule mandating anonymity in court proceedings, a litigant must show good cause to proceed anonymously or by pseudonym.”  Here, A.A., a requestor of records under the Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 to -13 (“OPRA”), filed suit using only his initials.  The Law Division dismissed the case sua sponte because OPRA cases must be filed on a summary basis under Rule 4:67, with an order to show cause and a verified complaint, and plaintiff did not provide either of those papers.  The Law Division also ruled that plaintiff could not proceed anonymously.  A.A. appealed, and the Appellate Division affirmed. read more