My three-week trial ended late last week, with a successful jury verdict. But June was a very busy month in the world of New Jersey appellate practice, with numerous important decisions by the federal and state appellate courts. Some of the more significant cases were:
Burgos v. State of New Jersey, 222 N.J. 175 (2015) (5-2 decision by Justice LaVecchia that reversed a ruling of the Law Division that found that the State’s failure to fully fund the public pension program as required by 2011 legislation violated the Contracts Clause);
Kotsovska v. Liebman, 221 N.J. 568 (2015) (opinion by Justice Solomon; Superior Court had concurrent jurisdiction with Division of Workers Compensation to decide whether the decedent in this wrongful death case was an employee or an independent contractor);
Grabowsky v. Montclair Tp., 221 N.J. 536 (2015) (opinion by Justice Patterson addressing issues of conflict of interest under the Municipal Land Use Law, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq.);
North Jersey Media Group v. Lyndhurst Tp., 441 N.J. Super. 70 (App. Div. 2015) (opinion by Judge Ostrer discussing “the public’s right to access records pertaining to a criminal investigation under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 to -13, and the common law right to inspect government records”);
Rosenthal & Rosenthal, Inc. v. Benun, 441 N.J. Super.184 (App. Div. 2015) (opinion by Judge Ashrafi applying the common law of optional future advances secured by a mortgage);
Ginsberg v. Quest Diagnostics, Inc., 441 N.J. Super. 198 (App. Div. 2015) (opinion by Judge Sabatino in a case alleging wrongful life, wrongful death, and medical malpractice, and concluding that, applying relevant choice of law principles, New Jersey law would apply to some issues and New York law to others);
Ewing Oil, Inc. v. John T. Burnett, Inc., 441 N.J. Super. 251 (App. Div. 2015) (opinion by Judge Lihotz “examin[ing] the enforceability of a sister-state judgment entered pursuant to a cognovit provision contained in a guaranty agreement against individual guarantors of a corporate debt”); and
Gundecha v. Board of Review, 441 N.J. Super. 339 (App. Div. 2015) (opinion by Judge Currier holding that former employee of New Jersey office of defendant who performed all of her work in North Carolina was entitled to unemployment benefits in North Carolina, but not in New Jersey).
The foregoing list is from New Jersey’s own appellate courts. But the federal appellate courts were active as well. The Third Circuit decided an important antitrust case in King Drug Co. of Florence, Inc. v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., 791 F.3d 388 (3d Cir. 2015), with Judge Scirica authoring the opinion. And, of course, as is traditional, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a number of landmark opinions in June, headed by King v. Burwell, 576 U.S. ___ (2015), which rebuffed another challenge to he Affordable Care Act by a 6-3 vote, and Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (2015), which held by a 5-4 vote that the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to issue licenses for and to recognize same-sex marriages.
Going forward, I intend to return to more current reporting on appellate developments.