Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, ___ U.S. ___ (2014).  This case reached a fairly simple conclusion: a notice of removal that removes to federal court a putative class action need not contain evidence to support a claim that the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million, a required basis for removal.  The removing defendant can supply that detail in its opposition to a motion to remand that the plaintiff may file.  The fundamental basis for this decision was the language of the removal statute, 28 U.S.C. §1446(a), which states that a notice of removal need only “contain[  ] a short and plain statement of the grounds for removal.” read more

State v. Jaffe, ___ N.J. ___ (2014).  As discussed here, the first opinion written by a new Justice is generally a unanimous decision in a relatively unexceptional case.  Today, Justice Solomon, a former prosecutor, was doubtless in his comfort zone.  He issued his first opinion for the Court in this criminal case.  The issue was whether, properly interpreted, State v. Randolph, 210 N.J. 330 (2012), requires that a defendant’s post-offense conduct be considered in connection with sentencing.   read more

On this date thirty-nine years ago, the Supreme Court decided three seminal rent conrol cases, which have come to be known as the “rent control trilogy.”  Troy Hills Village v. Parsippany-Troy Hills Tp. Council, 68 N.J. 604 (1975); Brunetti v. Borough of New Milford, 68 N.J. 576 (1975); Hutton Park Gardens v. West Orange Town Council, 68 N.J. 543 (1975).  All three cases involved numerous constitutional challenges to rent control ordinances in the respective municipalities.  The Court unanimously rebuffed all those challenges, with Justice Pashman writing for the Court in all three cases.  In two of the cases, Troy Hills and Hutton Park, Justice Clifford and Judge Conford filed opinions concurring in the result. read more

C.J.R. v. G.A., ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2014).  Near the end of a closely-contested lacrosse game in a youth recreational league for less advanced players, a twelve-year-old player suffered a fractured arm after an eleven-year-old opponent struck him on the arm while trying to get the ball back for his team.  The injured player (and his father, as his guardian ad litem) sued the opposing player and the opposing player’s father for that injury.  The Law Division granted summary judgment for both defendants.  Plaintiffs appealed only as to the summary judgment in favor of the opposing player.  The Appellate Division affirmed in an opinion by Judge Sabatino that noted that this was a “case of first impression under New Jersey law.” read more

United Parcel Service Gen. Servs. Co. v. Director, Div. of Taxation, ___ N.J. ___ (2014).  This per curiam decision of the Supreme Court today affirmed an Appellate Division decision, written by Judge Lihotz, in favor of the plaintiff taxpayers.  Plaintiffs (collectively, “UPS”) filed corporate tax returns that ascribed no tax consequence to fund transfers among the affiliated plaintiff companies.  The Division of Taxation audited UPS and determined that those inter-company fund transfers constituted loans as to which interest income should have been imputed.  The Division then assessed unpaid taxes on the imputed income and imposed two different types of penalties (late payment penalties under N.J.S.A. 54:49-6(a) and amnesty penalties under N.J.S.A. 54:53-17 and 18) on UPS.  UPS filed suit in the Tax Court to contest that result.  The Tax Court agreed with the Division that the inter-company transfers resulted in imputed income.  But the Tax Court concluded that the Division had improperly failed to grant UPS’s application for a waiver of late payment penalties and had wrongly imposed an amnesty penalty.  The Division appealed, and the Appellate Division affirmed.  430 N.J. Super. 1 (App. Div. 2013).  The Supreme Court granted review, and affirmed the Appellate Division substantially for the reasons that Judge Lihotz gave. read more

Dublirer v. 2000 Linwood Avenue Owners, Inc., ___ N.J. ___ (2014).  In State v. Schmid, 84 N.J. 585 (1980), and New Jersey Coalition Against War in the Middle East v. JMB Realty Corp., 138 N.J. 326 (1994), the Supreme Court discussed the free speech rights of persons who seek to exercise those rights on property that is not their own (a university campus in Schmid and a shopping center in New Jersey Coalition).  More recently, the Court addressed free speech rights in private residential communities where the speakers live at the property.  Mazdabrook Commons Homeowners Ass’n v. Khan, 210 N.J. 482 (2012) (discussed here); Committee for a Better Twin Rivers v. Twin Rivers Homeowners Ass’n, 192 N.J. 344 (2007).  Today, in a unanimous opinion by Chief Justice Rabner, the Court clarified the standards to be applied in the latter category of cases.  read more

Joseph v. United States, ___ U.S. ___ (2014).  Most if not all appellate courts have a rule that issues not raised in an opening brief cannot be raised in subsequent filings.  That principle makes sense, as Justice Kagan said in a “Statement” respecting the denial of certiorari in this case in which Justices Ginsburg and Breyer joined, since “[i]t ensures that opposing parties will have notice of every issue in an appeal, and that neither they nor reviewing courts will incur needless costs from eleventh-hour changes of course.”  But what happens if a higher court, such as the Supreme Court of the United States, issues a decision, after the appellant’s main brief has been filed, that directly affects the appeal, such as by overturning a prior precedent that may give the appellant a new theory or claim?  Most Circuits, including the Third Circuit, allow supplemental or substitute briefs in that circumstance. read more

Justice Robert L. Clifford died on Saturday, November 29.  He was 89 years old.  read more