Supreme Court Will Review OPRA, Statute of Limitations, and Employment Contract Cases

The Supreme Court announced this afternoon that it has granted review in three more cases.  The first is an Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”) case, Paff v. Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.  The plaintiff there, John Paff, is a frequent filer under OPRA, including (among many others) this case.  Indeed, the Supreme Court already has another Paff OPRA case on its docket, as discussed here.

This new case is before the Court by virtue of a dissent, issued by Judge Gilson, in the Appellate Division.  The question presented, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, is “Among other issues, does this police vehicle’s video recording of an arrest fall within the ‘criminal investigatory records’ exemption to the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 to -13; and, if the video recording is subject to disclosure, can the arrestee’s privacy-based objection justify withholding the recording.  The Appellate Division majority found that the requested material had to be disclosed.  Judge Gilson, in dissent, disagreed.

The Court also granted review in Catena v. Raytheon Company, 447 N.J. Super. 43 (App. Div. 2016), discussed here.  The question presented in that case is “Were plaintiff’s claims of fraud pertaining to the transfer of property barred by the statute of limitations, or did the discovery rule apply under the circumstances presented?”  The Appellate Division applied the discovery rule in plaintiff’s favor and reversed a summary judgment for the defense.

The final case that the Court took up today is Vitale v. Schering-Plough Corp., 447 N.J. Super. 98 (App. Div. 2016).  The question presented there is “Is a provision in an employment contract that limits a worker’s right to sue a third party for negligence enforceable?”  The Appellate Division ruled that the clause was not enforceable because it was against public policy.  But the panel reversed a substantial trial verdict for plaintiff on other grounds.