State v. Savoy, ___ N.J. ___ (2014).  Under Article VI, section 2, paragraph 3 of the New Jersey Constitution, the Supreme Court has plenary power to “make rules governing the administration of all courts in the State and, subject to the law, the practice and procedure in all such courts.”  That includes the power to make and amend Court Rules.  The Court has the ability to deal with Court Rules either through rulemaking or in the context of a particular litigation, as discussed, for example, in Busik v. Levine, 63 N.J. 351 (1973).  read more

The Supreme Court announced late yesterday that it has granted review of the Appellate Division’s decision in Department of Children and Families v. E.D.-O., 434 N.J. Super. 154 (App. Div. 2014).  The Appellate Division’s ruling is discussed here.  The question presented, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, is “Did a parent fail to exercise the minimum degree of care required by N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21(c)(4)(b) when she left her nineteen-month-old child unattended in a motor vehicle while she entered a nearby store?” read more

O’Boyle v. Borough of Longport, ___ N.J. ___ (2014).  The “common interest” doctrine permits multiple parties, who are represented by different counsel, to share information without destroying attorney-client privilege.  The question in this case was whether the common interest rule protects otherwise privileged documents in the context of the Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq. (“OPRA”), and the common law right to obtain access to governmental records.   read more

My firm, Lite DePalma Greenberg, LLC, was successful in two Appellate Division cases within the last few days.  Last week, in Villaquiran v. All-State International, Inc.,  2014 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1633 (App.  Div. July 8, 2014), one of my cases, the Appellate Division reversed a ruling of the Law Division that an employee (LDG’s client on appeal, but represented by different counsel below) who had sued his former employer, All-State, for employment discrimination, had agreed to settle his case.  All-State had contended that plaintiff agreed to a settlement, but plaintiff’s sworn evidence was that he had not agreed to the settlement terms.   read more

Chief Justice Rabner announced today that Judges Higbee, Manahan, and Sumners will move to the Appellate Division effective on August 1.  All three had been temporarily assigned to the Appellate Division earlier this year, so today’s announcement does not come as a surprise.  Judge Higbee authored her first  published appellate opinion fifteen days ago, and it likely will not be long until the other two judges achieve that milestone.  Congratulations, and welcome! read more

In re Opinion No. 17-2012 of the Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics, ___ N.J. ___ (2014).  Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common resource of indigent individuals who must file for bankruptcy.  Many Chapter 7 cases are “no-asset cases,” in which the debtor has nothing to distribute to creditors.  As a result, those cases are effectively non-adversarial, since there is literally nothing to fight over.  read more

Flinn v. Amboy Nat’l Bank, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2014).  This opinion by Judge Sabatino contains, among other things, an encyclopedic discussion of cases that address the standards of review on a motion to dismiss a complaint.  Additionally, however, the decision reinforces the principle that an administrative regulation may not contradict a statute. read more

Gormley v. Wood-El, ___ N.J. ___ (2014).  Cases under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §1983, are often difficult for plaintiffs.  Such cases often fail, frequently on dispositive motions, due to qualified immunity, as in Schneider v. Simonini, 163 N.J. 336 (2000), or for failure to show violation of a “clearly established legal right,” as in B.F. v. Div. of Youth & Family Servs., 296 N.J. Super. 372 (App. Div. 1997), or (in cases premised on substantive due process violations) for failure to show circumstances that “shock the conscience,” as in Rivkin v.  Dover Tp. Rent Leveling Bd., 143 N.J. 352 (1996) [Disclosure:  I represented an amicus curiae in Rivkin].  In this case, however, a 3-2 majority of the Supreme Court found that a Civil Rights Act claim, and a parallel cause of action under the New Jersey Civil Rights Act, N.J.S.A. 10:6-2(c) (“NJCRA”), could proceed.  The majority opinion, written by Justice Albin, joined by Chief Justice Rabner and Judge Rodriguez, held that plaintiff had made a showing of a violation of a clearly established legal right that was sufficient to defeat summary judgment, and that qualified immunity did not protect defendants.  Dissenting, Justice LaVecchia, joined by Justice Patterson, disagreed on both of those issues. read more