James v. Global Tellink Corp., ___ F.3d ___ (3d Cir. 2017).  In this putative class action, plaintiffs were inmates at New Jersey correctional facilities.  They signed up with defendants for a service that would allow plaintiffs to telephone loved ones, attorneys, and others outside of the prisons. One plaintiff signed up via defendants’ website, while the others did so through an automated telephone service that used scripts and prompts.  Those who signed up by phone were told, in the course of that process, that the service was governed by terms available at the website.  Unlike the plaintiff who subscribed on the website, the telephone subscribers were not, however, required to assent to those terms. read more

The Supreme Court announced today that it has granted review in three cases.  The first arises under the new Bail Reform Act.  The question presented there, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, is “At a pretrial detention hearing pursuant to New Jersey’s Bail Reform Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:162- 15 to -126, may the State establish probable cause by proffer, rather than producing live testimony from a witness with first-hand knowledge of the offense?”  The Court accelerated the appeal and limited amicus briefs and responses to 20 pages. read more

Ramirez v. Vintage Pharmaceuticals, LLC, ___ F.3d ___ (3d Cir. 2017).  The so-called Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (“CAFA”) extended federal jurisdiction not only to class actions over which federal courts previously did not have power, but also to “mass actions.”  28 U.S.C. §1332(d)(11).  To qualify as a mass action, there must be at least 100 plaintiffs who seek to have their cases “tried jointly.”  But as Judge Vanaskie noted in his opinion today, “cases that are consolidated or coordinated only for pretrial purposes are explicitly exempted from CAFA’s mass action provision, and thus are not removable.”  The question in this case was whether the matter qualified as a mass action that was subject to federal jurisdiction under CAFA. read more

According to a March 24 Notice to the Bar that was published today, the Supreme Court Committee on Model Civil Jury Charges has approved a number of revised Model Civil Jury Charges on a number of subjects.  Though all of the changes are important to note, several of the revised charges resulted directly from recent appellate decisions in the affected subject matter areas. read more

NL Industries, Inc. v. State, ___ N.J. ___ (2017).  In 1976, the Legislature passed the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11 to -23.24 (“the Spill Act”).  The Spill Act became effective in 1977. read more

On this date in 2003, the Appellate Division decided Seacoast Builders Corp. v. Rutgers, 358 N.J. Super. 524 (App. Div. 2003).  This was a relatively rare case in which the Appellate Division exercised original jurisdiction under Rule 2:10-5 to decide a discovery issue.  It was an even more rare result, since the panel ordered that documents otherwise protected by privilege be disclosed as a sanction for attorney misconduct. read more

Rippon v. Smigel, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2017).  This opinion by Judge Haas today reverses a dismissal that was based on lack of personal jurisdiction, forum non conveniens, and res judicata.  The main reason was the state of the motion record, which Judge Haas labeled as “sparse,” “thin,” and “meager.”  The lesson of this decision is that discovery is generally required in order to make an adequate record on which a court can decide a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction or forum non conveniens. read more

The Supreme Court has granted review in five cases.  One of them is an appeal as of right, by virtue of a dissent in the Appellate Division.  That case is State v. Twiggs.  The question presented there, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, is “When addressing the statute of limitations in a criminal matter, is N.J.S.A. 2C:1-6’s tolling provision- which applies when ‘the actor’ is identified by means of DNA evidence- triggered where the DNA analyzed belongs to a third party, rather than the defendant?”  The Appellate Division’s opinion, which was discussed here, limited “the actor” to the defendant, excluding any third party.  Judge Leone dissented from that result, which led to Supreme Court review. read more