The Status of Real Estate Salespeople, and an Encore Sexual Assualt Survivor Protection Act Case, for the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court announced that it has granted review in two new cases. In Kennedy v. Weichert Co., where the Court granted leave to appeal, the question presented, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s office is, “Is plaintiff, a commissioned real estate salesperson, an employee or an independent contractor for purposes of the Wage Payment Law after a recent amendment to the Real Estate Brokers and Salesmen Act, L. 2021, c. 486?” An unpublished opinion by a three-judge Appellate Division panel affirmed, as modified, the Law Division’s denial of Weichert’s motion to dismiss the complaint, a motion that had been predicated on Weichert’s assertion that the salesperson was an independent contractor. Nearly 22 months elapsed between the date of the Appellate Division’s decision and the Supreme Court’s grant of review, an unusual circumstance.

The other new case, C.R. v. M.T., is before the Court on a grant of certification. The Court has acted in this matter before, in an opinion reported at 248 N.J. 428 (2021), and summarized here. At that time, the Court addressed the standard for determining whether a sexual act was “nonconsensual” for purposes of issuing a restraining order under the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-13 et seq. This time, the case presents this question: “Did defendant pose ‘the possibility of future risk to the safety or well-being of the alleged victim,’ under the second prong of the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-16(a)(2), to support issuance of a final protective order?” Just over four months ago, a two-judge Appellate Division panel issued an unpublished per curiam opinion that affirmed the Family Part’s ruling that the second prong of the statute had been satisfied.