Three New Appeals Take Three Different Routes to the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court announced that it has granted review in three more cases. Each one came to the Court in a different way.

In the first case, S.T. v. 1515 Broad Street, LLC, the Court granted certification. The question presented there, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s office, is “Where a litigant’s counsel moves for the appointment of a guardian ad litem (GAL), what standards and procedures govern the appointment of the GAL, and the court’s determination of whether the GAL is empowered to make decisions in the litigation (e.g., settlement) on behalf of the litigant?” In an opinion reported at 455 N.J. Super. 538 (App. Div. 2018), the Appellate Division approved the appointment of a GAL and upheld the GAL’s decision to accept a settlement of the matter.

The second case came to the Court on leave to appeal. The question presented in that matter, Mejia v. Quest Diagnostics, Inc., is “In a medical malpractice case, must a third-party defendant, against whom the plaintiff did not file a claim, participate in trial and face potential financial liability for damages awarded to the plaintiff, either directly or via contribution?” A two-judge panel of the Appellate Division, in an unreported opinion, ruled that the third-party defendant could be so liable.

Finally, Sun Chemical Corp. v. Fike Corp. is before the Court on a question certified to it by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. As reformulated by the Supreme Court, the question is “Can a Consumer Fraud Act claim be based, in part or exclusively, on a claim that also might be actionable under the Product Liability Act.” The District Court, in an unreported opinion in 2017, held that plaintiff’s Consumer Fraud Act claim was subsumed within the Product Liability Act. On appeal, the Third Circuit has sought the Supreme Court’s opinion on that issue.