I have posted before about the relatively low percentage of Third Circuit appeals in which oral argument is heard.  The latest statistics show that little has changed in this regard. read more

I have been tapped to deliver the 27th Annual Alice and Stephen Evangelides Lecture at the Eagleton Institute of Politics in New Brunswick on February 9 at 8 P.M.  The topic will be “Class Action Litigation:  Who Benefits?” read more

Berkowitz v. Soper, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2016).  In this auto accident case, defendant was unexpectedly hospitalized for a “heart issue” two business days before trial was to begin.  Defendant sought to adjourn the trial  briefly so that she could testify there, or at least be present.  That was her first request for an adjournment.  The Law Division denied that request, believing that only the Presiding Judge of the Civil Division could grant an adjournment so late in the game.  As a result, defendant was unable to appear at trial or to have her deposition taken de bene esse for use at the trial. read more

In re Arunachalam, ___ F.3d ___ (3d Cir. 2016).  A pro se plaintiff in related patent infringement cases in the District of Delaware sought to disqualify the District Judge.  When that motion was denied, plaintiff filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the Third Circuit.  Yesterday, however, the Third Circuit ruled in a per curiam opinion that the court lacked jurisdiction over the petition, and transferred it instead to the Federal Circuit. read more

Silviera-Francisco v. Elizabeth Bd. of Educ., ___ N.J. ___ (2016).  “Whether a trial court order is final or interlocutory has bedeviled courts and attorneys for decades.”  So said Judge Cuff in her opinion for the Court today in this matter, a 6-0 ruling.  The issue here, though, was whether a decision of an administrative agency was final, so that the failure of a party to appeal that decision immediately foreclosed it from appealing later in the case. read more

Troupe v. Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp., ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2016).  Today, Judge Suter authored her first published opinion for the Appellate Division.  While shopping at a Burlington Coat Factory store, plaintiff allegedly slipped and fell on a single berry that was on the floor.  She injured her knee and back.  Plaintiff sued, but defendant won summary judgment.  Today, the Appellate Division affirmed that ruling, applying the de novo standard of review. read more

On this first workday after the big blizzard, what could be more appropriate than an article from a legal publication from Buffalo, NY, a place where they really know big snowfalls?  This piece is from the Buffalo Law Journal, and it adapts some of the wisdom of that well-known legal philosopher (a New Jersey citizen if not a New Jersey lawyer), Yogi Berra, to the practice of appellate law.  Some of the lessons are deja vu all over again, but enjoy and pay heed. read more

Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, ___ U.S. ___ (2016).  The Supreme Court of the United States has made some dreadful decisions in the class action area, including notorious rulings restricting class certification, making it harder for plaintiffs to use expert testimony (though that ruling was likely limited to its own facts), and forcing putative class claimants into individual arbitrations.  This week, however, the Court made a sound decision in a case in which defendant sought to terminate a putative class action by “buying off” the representative plaintiff, making an offer of judgment to pay his claim in full.  Plaintiff rejected the offer.  By a 6-3 vote, the Court ruled that defendant’s unaccepted offer did not moot the case.  Justice Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion, in which Justices Kennedy, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined.  Justice Thomas, the sixth vote, filed a concurring opinion, on very different legal grounds.  Chief Justice Roberts filed a dissent for himself and Justices Scalia and Alito, and Justice Alito filed a separate dissent as well. read more