Chief Justice Rabner has announced that Judge Patrick DeAlmeida is being temporarily assigned to the Appellate Division.  The assignment runs from January 16, 2018 “until further order.”  Judge DeAlmeida “shall serve on such Part(s) as ordered by the Appellate Division Presiding Judge for Administration.”  There is a slot for an unnamed “Temporary Assignee” on Part A, so Judge DeAlmeida might readily fit there. read more

On this date in 1956, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in In re Pennsylvania R. Co., 20 N.J. 398 (1956).  Along with Romano v. Maglio, 41 N.J. Super. 561 (App. Div. 1956), discussed here, this opinion remains a leading authority regarding motions for leave to appeal. read more

Conley v. New Jersey Department of Corrections, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2018).  This was an appeal brought by a pro se prisoner under the Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 to -13 (“OPRA”).  He sought certain monthly reports from the Department of Corrections.  He had been able to get those reports in the past.  But this time the Department responded that it had begun using “a new database system in which the above requested monthly reports (as  provided to [appellant] in previous requests are no longer generated or available.”  Thus, the Department would not produce the reports to plaintiff.  Plaintiff asserted that state and federal regulations required the Department to prepare and maintain the reports, but the Department maintained its position. read more

Hayes v. Delamotte, ___ N.J. ___ (2018).  Today saw the issuance of the Supreme Court’s first opinion of 2018.  The case, a personal injury matter arising out of an auto accident, was a procedural mess.  In summary, however, plaintiff lost after a jury trial, which featured an attempt by her counsel to play during summation a portion of the videotaped deposition of a defense expert.  The Law Division denied that request.  Plaintiff moved for a new trial, and the Law Division granted that motion, not because of the videotaped deposition issue but because the jury had given greater weight to the defense expert than to the expert for plaintiff. read more

All the Way Towing, LLC v. Bucks County International, Inc., ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2018).  Today’s opinion by Judge Fisher reaffirms a fundamental principle: on summary judgment, a court must view the facts most favorably to the opponent of the motion.  The panel in this case found that the Law Division failed to do that here.  Accordingly, the decision below, which had granted the defense’s motion for summary judgment, was reversed.  But that failure of the Law Division was not the most important aspect of today’s decision, or the reason for its publication.  The panel clarified an area of consumer protection law that has plagued consumer claims in certain contexts. read more

Green v. Monmouth University, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2018).  Today’s opinion by Judge Leone affirmed summary judgment in favor of defendant Princeton University under the Charitable Immunity Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-7 to -11 (“the Act”).  Judge Ostrer joined in that opinion, which applied the de novo standard of review.  Judge Fisher, however, dissented.  The case is thus ripe to go to the Supreme Court as of right, due to the dissent. read more

M.C. v. G.T., ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2018).  Judge Fisher used no more words than necessary in his five-page opinion on this appeal.  Plaintiff filed a complaint against defendant under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35, alleging that defendant had harassed her.  After a trial, the Family Part ruled that the evidence did not support a finding of domestic violence and, specifically, that plaintiff had failed to prove that defendant had “acted with a purpose to alarm or annoy,” as the statute requires in order to justify a restraining order.  Despite that, the Family Part entered a restraining order, relying on its “equitable powers.”  Defendant appealed, and the Appellate Division reversed, finding that the Family Part had exceeded its powers. read more

Banc of America Leasing & Capital, LLC v. Fletcher-Thompson, Inc., ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2018).  Judge Koblitz kicked off 2018 with a concise opinion that expresses an important legal rule: a creditor of an individual debtor may not obtain turnover of funds in a joint account unless the creditor establishes that the funds belong to the debtor alone.  Plaintiff sought and obtained a turnover order against several parties, including defendant Kurt Baur, a guarantor of the amount owed.  Plaintiff levied on a joint account that Kurt Baur held with his wife, Kristi.  She was not a debtor or guarantor, and she contended in a certification that the funds in the joint account all belonged solely to her, as they derived from her pension, earnings, and tax refunds. read more