Wolens v. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2017).  In the opening paragraph of his opinion for the Appellate Division today, Judge Sabatino encapsulated virtually this entire case: read more

Serico v. Rothberg, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2017).  In this medical malpractice case, plaintiff and defendant entered into a “high-low” agreement while awaiting a jury verdict.  As Judge Rothstadt noted in his opinion in this case today, such an agreement “guarantees a plaintiff a minimum recovery and limits a defendant’s exposure to an agreed upon amount, regardless of the jury’s award, if any.”  The low was $300,000 and the high was $1 million.  Before trial, plaintiff had offered to accept judgment for $750,000, inclusive of costs and prejudgment interest.  Defendant did not respond that offer. read more

Ricci v. Ricci, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2017).  As Judge Lihotz observed in the opening sentence of her opinion for the Appellate Division in this case, Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529 (1982), established the principle that “the privilege of parenthood carries with it the duty to assure a necessary education for children.”  That duty applies, however, only to children who are not emancipated.  “A determination of emancipation is a legal issue, imposed when the fundamental dependent relationship between parent and child ends.”  That determination is fact-sensitive, and requires findings and conclusions. read more

Dunbar Homes, Inc. v. Franklin Tp. Bd. of Adj., ___ N.J.  Super. ___ (App. Div. 2017).  The Municipal Land Use Law (“MLUL”), in N.J.S.A. 40:55D-10.5, contains a “time of application rule” that determines what ordinance governs a land use development application.  Under that provision, regulations that are in effect “on the date of submission of an application for development” will apply.  But what qualifies a submission to a planning board as an “application for development” so as to lock in the ordinance in effect on the date of that submission?  That was the question that Judge Espinosa, who labeled the issue as one “of first impression,” faced in her opinion for the Appellate Division in this case today. read more

The Supreme Court announced today the addition to three more cases to its docket.  The first of those appeals comes from a published opinion of the Appellate Division.  Petro-Lubricant Testing Laboratories, Inc. v. Adelman, 447 N.J. Super. 391 (App. Div. 2016), discussed here.  The question presented, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, is “In this defamation action, did posting an article on a website with minor changes from the original posting constitute a separate publication, thereby triggering a new statute of limitations, or did the single publication rule apply to render the complaint untimely?”  The Appellate Division applied the single publication rule and barred the claim.  The Supreme Court granted a petition for certification, but denied a cross-petition. read more

Kean Federation of Teachers v. Morell, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2017).  As a public body, Kean University’s Board of Trustees is subject to the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 to,-21 (“OPMA”).  This decision by Judge Fuentes addressed two issues under the OPMA.  The first was what is meant by the statute’s requirement, in N.J.S.A. 10:4-14, that minutes of a public body’s meetings be made “promptly available.”  The second was whether employees whose employment status may be adversely affected must be advised of their right to compel the employer to discuss their employment status in public.  A prior Appellate Division decision, Rice v. Union City Reg. High School Bd. of Educ., 155 N.J. Super. 64 (App. Div. 1977), required such a notice. read more

Noren v. Heartland Payment Systems, Inc., ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2017).  In Abbamont v. Piscataway Tp. Bd. of Educ., 238 N.J. Super. 603 (App. Div. 1990), aff’d, 138 N.J. 405 (1994), the Appellate Division ruled that there was no right to a jury trial under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act, N.J.S.A. 34:19-1 to -14 (“CEPA”).  Thereafter, the Legislature amended CEPA to provide expressly that “a jury trial shall be directed” upon a party’s request. read more

The Associated Press has reported that Judge Barry has decided to go on inactive status.  According to Chief Judge Smith, Judge Barry will be giving up her chambers and staff. read more