Governor Murphy announced yesterday that he is nominating Justice Patterson for tenure on the Supreme Court.  Justice Patterson has served with distinction on the Court for the past seven years.  She has written important and well-crafted opinions, and she has made herself available for frequent appearances on continuing legal education panels and other desirably activities beyond her duties on the Court.  Early indications are that this nomination should have smooth sailing.  In my view, that is exactly as it should be.  Justice Patterson well deserves confirmation for tenure. read more

Giarusso v. Giarusso, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2018).  This opinion by Judge Geiger today involved an application for attorneys’ fees in a matrimonial matter by a well-known North Jersey firm.  The firm had represented the plaintiff wife in connection with post-judgment proceedings.  The firm rendered services to collect alimony and child support arrears from the defendant husband, as well as equitable distribution owed to the wife.  The wife did not pay any amounts to the firm after an initial $5,000 retainer. read more

Scheeler v. Atlantic County Municipal Joint Insurance Fund, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2018).  This  opinion by Judge Reisner was yet another case (actually, consolidated cases, which reached different results at the trial court level) under the Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 to -13 (“OPRA”).  The issue was whether non-New Jersey citizens can invoke OPRA to obtain public records.  Applying de novo review of this pure legal issue, the panel concluded that non-New Jerseyans have standing to seek records under OPRA. read more

Brennan v. Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, ___ N.J. ___ (2018).  This opinion by Chief Justice Rabner, for a unanimous Supreme Court, addressed an issue that arose under the Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 to -13 (“OPRA”).  The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office held a public auction of sports memorabilia that it had seized in the course of its business.  There were 39 successful bidders.  Plaintiff filed an OPRA request for, among other things, contact information for those bidders.  The Prosecutor’s Office declined to produce the buyers’ names or addresses unless they consented, and they did not consent. read more

The Supreme Court announced that it has granted review in two more cases.  The first is O’Donnell v. New Jersey Turnpike Authority.  The question presented in that appeal, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s office, is “Was the failure of plaintiffs’ first attorney to serve a timely tort claim notice against defendant an extraordinary circumstance justifying plaintiffs’ late tort claim notice under N.J.S.A. 59:8-9?”  The Law Division found extraordinary circumstances and denied defendant’s motion to dismiss, but a two-judge Appellate Division panel reversed in an unpublished opinion. read more

The Supreme Court announced that it is seeking comments on a proposed amendment to Rule 2:11-1(b)(3).  That rule, which deals with oral argument in the appellate courts, currently states that “[n]o more than two attorneys will be heard for each party.”  The proposed amendment would say “One attorney will be heard for each party, unless the court otherwise orders.” read more

Ellis v. Hilton United Methodist Church, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2018).  The opinion in this case, issued today, involved a slip and fall on a sidewalk that abutted a vacant church.  Plaintiff sued two church defendants and, before discovery concluded, filed a motion to strike defendants’ charitable immunity defense and declare the church to be a commercial landowner.  Defendants cross-moved for summary judgment.  The Law Division granted defendants’ cross-motion.  On plaintiff’s appeal, the Appellate Division affirmed.  Judge Rothstadt wrote the panel’s opinion. read more

Due to my personal schedule, posts will not appear here for at least one week from today.  They will likely resume sometime later next week. read more