A Class Action About Towing Charges, and a Mesothelioma Case About Apportionment, Will be Before the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court announced that it has granted leave to appeal in one case and certification in another. Both cases doubtless will be closely watched.

The Court granted leave to appeal in Pisack v. B&C Towing, Inc., a class action involving three consolidated cases that challenged certain fees and charges imposed by the defendant towing companies.  The Appellate Division, in an opinion published at 455 N.J. Super. 225 (App. Div. 2018) and discussed here, ruled largely for plaintiffs.  Before the Supreme Court, the question presented, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s office, is “In these cases involving the non-consensual towing of vehicles, several issues are raised concerning the Predatory Towing Prevention Act (Towing Act), N.J.S.A. 56:13-7 to -23 and its related regulations, the Consumer Fraud Act (CFA), N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 to -20, and the Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (TCCWNA), N.J.S.A. 56:12-14 to -18?” (As stated, there is not really a “question” that calls for a question mark, but so it goes).

The other case, in which the Court granted certification, is Rowe v. Bell & Gossett Company, a mesothelioma case involving numerous defendants.  Many of the defendants prevailed on dispositive motions, and others settled before trial.  The jury trial that occurred thus involved only one defendant, Universal Engineering Co., Inc.  Plaintiff appealed a jury verdict, and the Appellate Division reversed, ordering a new trial on the issue of apportionment.  In the Supreme Court, the question presented is “Did the trial court err in allowing a non-settling defendant (Universal) to introduce into evidence answers to interrogatories and deposition testimony from other defendants who had settled pretrial?”