One might not think that February 2, a date in the dead of winter, would have anything to do with access to New Jersey’s beaches.  But on this date in 1984, the Supreme Court decided Matthews v. Bay Head Improvement Ass’n, 95 N.J. 306 (1984).  The Court’s 6-0 opinion, written by Justice Schreiber, discussed the public trust doctrine, which “acknowledges that the ownership, dominion and sovereignty over land flowed by tidal waters, which extend to the mean high water mark, is vested in the State in trust for the people.”  The question in Matthews was “whether, ancillary to the public’s right to enjoy the tidal lands, the public has a right to gain access through and to use the dry sand area not owned by a municipality but by a quasi-public body.”  The Court answered in the affirmative. read more

Givaudan Fragrances Corp. v. Aetna Cas. & Surety Co., ___ N.J. ___ (2017).  Today’s opinion by Justice LaVecchia, a 6-0 ruling (Justice Albin did not participate) aligned New Jersey with the majority of jurisdictions on an issue of insurance law.  As the first sentence of the opinion states, the issue was “whether this state adheres to the rule that an anti-assignment clause in an insurance policy may not bar the assignment of a post-loss claim even though the claim has not been reduced to a money judgment.”  The Court held that New Jersey would adopt that rule. read more

The Supreme Court announced today that it has granted review in two more appeals.  One case involves unemployment benefits, a subject that the Court visits only occasionally.  The other is a criminal appeal. read more

The Supreme Court announced that it has granted review in three more cases.  In Granata v. Broderick, the question presented, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, is “Among other issues, can an attorney’s pledge of anticipated counsel fees be considered a security interest under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code?  The Appellate Division answered “yes” in an opinion by Judge Guadagno that was reported at 446 N.J. Super. 449 (App. Div. 2016).  That opinion observed that this was “an issue of first impression in New Jersey,” which undoubtedly led the Supreme Court to grant review. read more

Scheeler v. Office of the Governor, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2017).  In these consolidated appeals, plaintiffs each sent requests under the Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 to -13 (“OPRA”), to various public agencies.  Those requests all sought copies of other OPRA requests made of those agencies within specified time frames.  The agencies resisted, to varying extents.  Plaintiffs sued under OPRA.  Defendants all relied primarily on Gannett N.J. Partners, LP v. County of Middlesex, 379 N.J. Super. 205 (App. Div. 2005), which contained language suggesting that requests for access to third-party OPRA requests are improper.  The Law Division found that language in Gannett to be dicta, and ruled in favor of plaintiffs in each cases.  Defendants appealed, and the Appellate Division, applying the de novo standard of review, today affirmed.  Judge Yannotti wrote the panel’s opinion. read more

McCarrell v. Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc., ___ N.J. ___ (2017).  Justice Albin’s opinion for a unanimous (6-0, with Justice Patterson not participating) Court today referred to “our evolving choice-of-law jurisprudence.”  Today’s opinion, which adopted the test of the Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws §142 for the determination of choice of law in the statute of limitations context, is the latest step in that evolution. read more

The Supreme Court announced that it has granted review in State v. Prall.  The question presented, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, is “In this trial for murder and arson, did the trial court err in admitting testimony about defendant’s prior threats and in its handling of testimony concerning the victim’s belief that defendant started the fire?”  In granting certification, the Court also authorized supplemental briefing. read more

In re Horizon Healthcare Services Inc. Data Breach Litig., ___ F.3d ___ (3d Cir. 2017).  [Dislcosure:  My firm, Lite DePalma Greenberg, LLC, is co-lead counsel for the successful plaintiffs in this appeal].  Horizon Healthcare Services, Inc. (“Horizon”) provides health care insurance to millions of New Jersey citizens.  Horizon kept insureds personal identifying information on laptop computers.  That information was password-protected but was not encrypted.  Two laptop computers, containing the personal identifying information of over 839,000 members, were stolen from Horizon’s offices. read more