The Latest Grants of Supreme Court Review: Life Insurance (Another Certified Question), Unemployment Compensation, Parental Rights, and Parole Ineligibility

The Supreme Court announced four more cases that will come before it.  The subject matters, and the paths that the cases took to reach the Court, are quite varied.

Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. is a matter in which the Court agreed to address questions certified to it by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.  Those questions, unchanged from the way that the Third Circuit framed then, are “Does a life insurance policy that is procured to benefit persons without an insurable interest in the life of the insured violate the public policy of New Jersey, and if so, is that policy void ab initio; and if such a policy is void ab initio, is a later purchaser of the policy, who was not involved in the illegal conduct, entitled to a refund of any premium payments that they made on the policy?”

An unemployment matter, McClain v. Board of Review, resulted in a published Appellate Division decision, 451 N.J. Super. 461 (App. Div. 2017), which was discussed here.  The question presented to the Supreme Court in that matter, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, is “Must an employee actually start new employment to be exempt from disqualification for unemployment benefits under N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a), which exempts ‘an individual who voluntarily leaves work with one employer to accept from another employer employment which commences not more than seven days after the individual leaves … the first employer?”

As discussed here, a subsequent Appellate Division decision disagreed with McClain.  Blake v. Board of Review, 452 N.J. Super. 7 (App. Div. 2017).  The Supreme Court can now resolve the controversy.

In a case that is before the Court as of right by virtue of a dissent in the Appellate Division, Division of Child Protection & Permanency v. A.S.K., T.T., and E.M.C., the question presented is “In this matter concerning the termination of E.M.C.’s parental rights to his son, did the Division prove the four prongs of the best interest test, N.J.S.A. 30:4C-15.1(a), under the circumstances presented?”  In an unpublished per curiam opinion, the Appellate Division majority affirmed the Family Part’s decision to terminate parental rights.  Judge Guadagno dissented, giving rise to an appeal as of right.

Finally, in State v. Kiriakakis, the question presented is “Did the imposition of a parole ineligibility term violate Alleyne v. United States, 570 U.S. 99 (2013), under the circumstances presented?” The Appellate Division, in an unpublished opinion, found no violation.