Four More Grants of Certification by the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court announced that it has granted certification in four more cases. Two of those are criminal appeals, and of the two civil appeals, one is from a published Appellate Division opinion.

Maison v. NJ Transit Corp. is the matter that arises from a published Appellate Division decision, reported at 460 N.J. Super. 222 (App. Div. 2019). The question presented on that appeal, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s office, is “Does the common carrier standard of negligence apply to New Jersey Transit buses and drivers; were defendants immune under the Tort Claims Act; and should the jury have been directed to allocate fault to the unidentified tortfeasor?” The trial jury awarded plaintiff a $1.8 million verdict. The Appellate Division affirmed in part and vacated in part, finding “no reason to disturb the damages award,” but remanding for the jury to allocate fault.

In Christian Mission John 316 v. Passaic City, the question presented is “Was plaintiff’s property actually used for religious purposes prior to the tax assessment date and therefore exempt from local property taxes for the 2013 tax year under N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.6?” In a three-judge unpublished per curiam opinion, the Appellate Division affirmed a ruling of the Tax Court dismissing the complaint that had sought the tax exemption.

State v. B.C.S., one of the two criminal cases, which involved a conviction for sexual offenses against children, presents this question: “Were defendant’s confessions during a consensual intercept and subsequent police interview voluntary?” In an unpublished per curiam opinion, a three-judge Appellate Division panel found no error and affirmed the conviction.

The final matter is State v. Singh. The question presented there is “Was the detective’s narration of a surveillance video and identification of defendant in the video improper lay-witness opinion testimony constituting plain error?” Once again, a three-judge Appellate Division panel (consisting of two of the same judges who decided B.C.S.), in an unpublished per curiam opinion, found no error and affirmed the conviction.