LAW OFFICES OF GEOFFREY D. MUELLER, LLC

366 Kinderkamack Road
Westwood, New Jersey 07675
610 East Palisade Avenue
Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 07632
2 William Street - Suite 304
White Plains, New York 10601
Phone: (201) 569-2533 Fax: (201) 569-2554

Texas' high criminal court dismisses death sentence of Clinton Young because a *prosecutor was also a clerk for the judge.*

Known as the "Dust Lady," Bayonne resident Marcy Borders spent the next decade of her life impacted by the traumatic events that took place on Sept. 11, 2001.

New York Extends Its Eviction Moratorium Through End Of 2021

Letter to Marines on Afghanistan from CMC Berger, SMMC Black

NJ Courts to make essentially all appearances (except jury trials) remote, in perpetuity.  Comments due August 16, 2021.

Effective immediately, NJ Supreme Court authorizes mandatory settlement conferences in residential landlord tenant matters

77 years ago today, in one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history, more than 160,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy to liberate Europe.

Gov. Murphy officially ends N.J.’s COVID health emergency. Here are the powers he loses and keeps.

Memorial Day History

NJ Courts announce Conclusion of General Suspension of Depositions and Appearances for Health Care Professionals Involved in Responding to the Public Health Emergency

Stony Hill Inn is closing due to COVID

NY Complaint Dismissed For Failure To Wear Mask During Jury Selection

Effective May 15, 2021, NJ guardianship applications to require civil and criminal background checks.  Parents and spouses generally exempted.

New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Jaynee LaVecchia has decided to retire at the end of the current Court Term, on Aug. 31, 2021.

Zoom fatigue is apparently a real thing, and now researchers know what causes it

NJ becomes 13th state to legalize marijuana

Passaic Vicinage completes its first virtual civil jury trial. Watch the trial here:

Halt to marijuana prosecutions extended as N.J. legal weed stalls

Geoffrey D. Mueller, Esq. Appointed as Municipal Prosecutor for the Borough of North Arlington

Bergen County murder trial halted for COVID must be retried, court rules

NY Legislature to convene to pass eviction moratorium

NORAD Tracks Santa

NHL Team Values 2020: Hockey’s First Decline In Two Decades

NJ Supreme Court amends RPC 1.2(d) to authorize attorneys to counsel clients on all New Jersey marijuana laws

Travis Roy Passes

Supreme Court splits 4-4, leaves Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in place allowing more time for mail-in voting

N.J. landlords missing out on rent payments can now apply for this grant

In her three years as a judge on the 7th Circuit, Amy Coney Barrett has written roughly 100 opinions (including concurrences and dissents). You can find all of them at SCOTUSblog:

NHL bubble confidential: Go inside the Toronto and Edmonton playoff hubs

Boatlift - "An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience"

Labor Daze - Pride, Chaos and Kegs on Labor’s First ‘Day’

Bergen County approves merger of former county police, sheriff's officers

Asbury Park’s biggest record store Holdfast Records will now be an online retailer.

FDA updates on hand sanitizers consumers should not use

NY Public Library Summer Reading List for Kids

NHL 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers TV schedule

New Jersey’s fall 2020 in-person bar exam has been cancelled and instead is being offered remotely

Why Allergens are Being Intentionally Added to Foods

All individuals traveling from states with significant community spread of COVID19 into NewYork, NewJersey or Connecticut must quarantine for 14 days

Manufacturers Pledging to Label All Ingredient Changes Despite FDA Guidance

Here’s What the First Socially Distant Concert in America Looked Like

Beach Patrols Await Further Guidance So Swim Tests Can Occur

Gov. Murphy issues executive order allowing security deposits to be used for rent payments

2020 NJ Bar Exam Postponed - But Law School Graduates Allowed to Temporarily Practice Law

SBA small-business loans: 8 things to know about the Paycheck Protection Program

NJ Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner signs order extending the suspensions of most court deadlines through April 26, 2020

Gov. Murphy's Executive Order 107

Gov. Murphy's Executive Order Will *NOT* Shutter Law Firms (for now)

Planned retail shutdown in Bergen County, first delayed, now canceled at governor's order

NJ Superior Court Suspends Virtually All "In-Person" Hearings, Effective Immediately

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner has cancelled all current county and state grand jury sessions and has postponed all new grand jury empanelment through March 27 to mitigate the spread of #COVID-19 coronavirus.

N.J. closing casinos, bars, restaurants and movie theaters tonight because of coronavirus

New Jersey Courts Postpone In-Person Proceedings

Chief Justice Rabner Announces Two-Week Suspension of Municipal Court Sessions

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner today announced a two-week suspension of municipal court sessions amid #COVID-19 concerns.

New jury trials previously suspended indefinitely.

All 75 Bergen County public school districts closing, moving to online learning as coronavirus grows

Alabama May Lift Yoga Ban; Law Would Remain Stupid

NHL general managers propose change to offside rule

HUD regulations preempt NJ law (at least as to reasonableness of rent increase): Summit Plaza Assoc. v. Kolta, DOCKET NO. A-1305-18T3.

China denies Equifax hack after Justice Department charged four military hackers

Allergy Therapeutics Publishes Encouraging New Data for Peanut Allergy Vaccine Candidate

NYC Prosecutor Diana Florence resigns after allegedly withholding key evidence

The Mysterious Lawyer X Nicola Gobbo defended Melbourne’s most notorious criminals at the height of a โ€จgangland war. They didn’t know she had a secret.

NJ Appellate Division: W/C laws require reimbursement to employees for medicinal marijuana prescription for chronic pain following work-related accident.  Hager v. M&K Construction. A-0102-18T3

Neil Peart, the drummer and lyricist of Rush, dead at 67

Wanted: A Home for Three Million Records

NORAD Tracks Santa - Santa Just Left Christmas Island

How the Yule Log became a Christmas TV tradition

Nyack school board to vote on turning ball field into hospital parking

Backcheck Column: The NHL is in a tough spot, but they absolutely have to do more to save professional women's hockey.

Armistice Day 2019

Second Circuit holds no "temporary absolute presidential immunity"


Trick or Treating rain out? Calls to delay Halloween due to rain

Phillipsburg Town Council approves rent control ordinance


Appellate Division Affirms CaSa Threat of Imprisonment for Debtors' Discovery Violation Even In Light of Potential Fifth Amendment Implications


'Pay-and-Go' Settlement Blocked Tenants' Claim for Property Maintenance Costs, Court Rules

'This Is Madness': Big Law Weighs In on California Nonlawyer Ownership Proposal

Murphy’s changes to bill clearing weed convictions up for vote. But no deal yet.


The American Veteran Experience and the Post-9/11 Generation

500th Custom Safe Snack Guide Created by Teachers, School Nurses, PTAs, Parents in 3 Weeks

How America Lost Faith in Expertise And Why That’s a Giant Problem


3rd Circuit Overturns Ruling That Struck Down Restrictions on Abortion Protests


Joe Murphy, Red Wings' No. 1 pick, is homeless again — and refusing help

Panel Set to Rehear 20,000 DWI Cases Linked to Botched Breath Tests


Split NJ Supreme Court Rules Landlords Have No Obligation To Cover Radiators


Facebook To Pay $5 Billion Fine For Privacy Violations


To Battle Shortage of Judges, Wolfson May Enlist Out-of-State Help


Mad Magazine, as you now know it, will soon cease to exist


A Capitol Fourth - PBS


Florida city will pay hackers $600,000 to recover from ransomware attack


Medical marijuana expansion stalls, expungement reform advances amid legal weed protest


D-Day: 75 Years


Memorial Day's controversial history explained


$200K Arbitration Award Upheld After Defense Lawyer Fails to Use E-Filing System


Claim That Hacker Caused Nearly $1 Million Loss May Be Covered by Computer Fraud Insurance Policy


Barclays Center CEO tells Islanders fans with obstructed views they can watch game on mobile device

From the Wayback Machine...


Train station renovation key to revival of White Plains neighborhood


Surge of Ticks Expected in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic States Due to Wet, Mild Winter


NJ marijuana legalization: Phil Murphy, legislators announce legal weed deal. Is a vote next?


Bill Removing Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse Clears Senate Committee


Third Circuit's Holding on Discovery Rule in Debt Collection Cases Heading to SCOTUS

In Atlantic City Eminent Domain Case, Appellate Division Again Sizes Up 'Land Banking'

The New Supreme Court May Be on the Verge of Its First Important Abortion Ruling


Meanwhile, What's Going to Happen With All Those Paused Cases?

Need to Disturb the Status Quo? When It's OK to Sell Marital Property Pendente Lite

FAQ: Tappan Zee Bridge demolition with explosives


Mike Peluso files federal lawsuit against Devils over head injuries | Read the full court filing


Judge Green-Lights Class Lawsuit Over 'Force Placed' Insurance for Reverse Mortgages

Santa Tracker Unaffected By Government Shutdown, NORAD Says


NJ Public Defender Launches Class Suit Against Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital


Hearings, Counsel Required for Suspending Driver's Licenses on Unpaid Child Support


Space Needle, Meet Lord Stanley: Seattle Is Getting Its Own NHL Team


NJ Marijuana Legalization Clears First Hurdle After Legal Weed Vote

New Peanut Allergy Drug Shows ‘Lifesaving’ Potential


Bad Alcotest Calibrations Invalidate More Than 20,000 DWI Charges

Devils, Pru Center sign multiyear deal with William Hill

New York Islanders Co-Owner Charles Wang Dies At 74

Judge Rejects DeLorean Estate's Claim for 'Back to the Future' Royalties

Joseph Bianchi, Mayor of North Arlington, Dies Suddenly


Led Zeppelin to Face Retrial Over "Stairway" Theft Claims


Why It Is "Easy" To Steal From Little League & Other Youth Sports Leagues


Boatlift - An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience


New York City's Last Full-Orchestra Recording Studio


NJ AG Publishes Memo Re: Discretion of Municipal Prosecutors in Prosecuting Marijuana Cases


NJ Supreme Court Limits Offer-of-Judgment Sanctions in Multidefendant Cases

Class Certified in Case Against Phone Provider for NJ Jails and Prisons


New Jersey Supreme Court Sets New Evidentiary Standard in Child Sex Abuse Cases


N.J. Halts Marijuana Prosecutions Until September


How To Read Food Labels For Allergens


Injured Claimant Entitled to Medical Marijuana, Workers' Comp Judge Rules


Chief Justice Rabner Promotes 3 Judges to Appellate Division


Where to see Fourth of July 2018 fireworks in N.J.: A statewide guide

Willie O'Ree Voted into Hockey Hall of Fame


List of suicide crisis lines by country


NJ Supreme Court Declines To Hear Avvo Ethics Case


Surrogacy Contracts Now Recognized by Law in New Jersey


Parsing Decades-Old Law, NJ Court Says Creditor Can't Touch Marital Real Estate


'Have another donut' clash still lives in infamy 30 years later


Ticks and Insects Are Making More People Sick, and the Problem Is Only Getting Worse


Thank You From the Marines Care Foundation


Support "Dunk Your Kicks!"


Here's What the US Supreme Court Has Said About Crime-Fraud Exception


David J. Fried, Too High a Price for Truth: The Exception to the Attorney-Client Privilege for Contemplated Crimes and Frauds, 64 N.C. L. Rev. 443 (1986).


5-2 NJ Supreme Court Approves Warrantless Blood Draw in DWI Case


A made-up word from a 22-year-old 'Simpsons' episode has finally made it into the dictionary


Patrik Elias' Number 26 To Be Retired


The Songs That Bind

Appeals Court Gives State Bigger Tax Bite of Whistleblower Awards


Senate Committee OKs Pay Raise Bill for Judges, Prosecutors


Does OPRA Cover Police Dashcam Videos? NJ Supreme Court Will Decide


Virginia Woolf was born on this day in 1882. Six years later she wrote to her mum.


Two Koreas agree to march together at Olympics opening ceremony; field unified women's ice hockey team

N.J. Devils' Patrik Elias Sworn as U.S. Citizen


New York Film Critics Series And NJPAC Celebrates 40th Anniversary Of National Lampoon's Classic Film, Animal House

The Library of Congress No Longer Wants All the Tweets


AOC Now Must Notify Litigants of Affidavit of Merit Obligations


US District Court Nominee Matthew Spencer Petersen's Exchange with Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.)


Shipping Wine in the U.S. - Wine Shipping Laws State by State


NJ Justices Lean Toward Allowing Sports Betting in Clash Over State Sovereignty

Here's How the End of Net Neutrality Will Change the Internet

If you don't care, you're not paying attention.


Judge Disqualification Rules Revised for First Time Since 1983


NJ App. Div. upholds West Caldwell's Indoor Smoking Ban ordinance as not superseded by the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act


Zucker Goldberg Bankruptcy Plan Approved, But Disputes Persist

Ricketts Shuts Down Local News Sites DNAInfo And Gothamist In Wake Of Union Vote


SiriusXM Reveals 2017 Holiday Lineup


N.J. Devils Crowd Picks Up Anthem Singer


Unsent text message accepted as valid will by Australian court


Can the U.S. appeal controversial Panama goal that left them out of World Cup?


AOL's AIM Shutting Down


Will Native Americans Take Over the Cannabis Industry?


North Arlington, New Jersey is MONEY's No. 8 best place to live in America


Lesson Plans, K-12.


NJ Appellate Division Upholds Priority of Mortgage Over Life Estate


$2M Verdict Affirmed Against Broker for Underestimate of Insurance Needs


New York City Set To Hike Cigar Prices


Foreclosure mediation accords providing for trial to permanent modifications binding agreements per contract law.


NHL Not Going to 2018 Winter Games

Big Tobacco Finds Surprise Allies in Smokeless Push


Overcoming Long Odds, Monmouth Park Sports Betting Bid Going To Supreme Court


AVVO, Rocket Lawyer, Legal Zoom Blocked by New Jersey Supreme Court Ethics Committees


N.J. Craft Beer Wholesaler Fined $2M Over Trade Practices


NJ Supreme Court Overturns Conviction for Answering Door With Machete


Christie Nominates His Chief Counsel, 6 Others to Bench


2017 Memorial Day Ceremonies


Seattle's Sound Garden becomes memorial for Chris Cornell


Opinion analysis: Justices approve filing stale claims in consumer bankruptcies


N.J. Moves to Add More Conditions that Would Qualify Patients for Medical Marijuana


Queen of Peace To Close June 30, 2017


Director’s Cut: ‘The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved,’ by Hunter S. Thompson


F1 Reportedly Wants a Night Street Race in New Jersey


The Threat From North Korea’s Missiles


Consumerist - Data Shows Too Many Americans Being Pestered About Medical Debt They Don't Owe


Law Offices of Geoffrey D. Mueller Helps Secure Dismissal of Multi-Million Dollar Breach of Contract Claim - Multicultural Radio Broad. Inc v. Korean Radio Broad. Inc. (Case No.: 2:15-cv-01961)

Law Offices of Geoffrey D Mueller Helps Secure Dismissal of MultiMillion Dollar Breach of Contract Claim  Multicultural Radio Broad Inc v Korean Radio Broad Inc Case No 215cv01961
Per The New Jersey Law Journal, summarizing Judge Chesler's opinion:

Plaintiff Multicultural Radio Broadcasting Inc. brought this diversity action against defendants Korean Radio Broadcasting Inc. (KBR) and Young Dae Kwon for breach of contract and other state law causes of action. Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to amend. Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff is the licensee and operator of WWRU-AM 1660, a radio station in New Jersey. KBR is a producer and broadcaster of Korean language radio programing in the metropolitan area. Young owns and manages KBR. In November 2013, plaintiff and KBR entered into a time brokerage agreement. Plaintiff commenced this action in March 2015, asserting that defendants failed to make payments due under the agreement, ceased transmission of KBR's signal to AM 1660 in violation of the agreement and published false advertisements that AM 1660's broadcast signal was of inferior quality.

Plaintiff asserted diversity jurisdiction claiming plaintiff is a New Jersey corporation and a citizen of New Jersey and defendants are citizens of New York. In May 2016, defendants raised, for the first time, an objection to the court's subject matter jurisdiction. Defendants contended that plaintiff's principal place of business is in New York and complete diversity is therefore lacking. The court found that plaintiff failed to meet its burden of showing that diversity jurisdiction, pursuant to Section 1332 exists.

Plaintiff's proposed amended complaint asserted a new federal cause of action and a new basis for subject matter jurisdiction. The court found plaintiff's motion was not authorized by Section 1653. Plaintiff's original complaint only alleges state common law causes of action. Plaintiff may not, by motion, create retroactive subject matter jurisdiction through the addition of a federal cause of action. Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend was denied. Defendants' motion to dismiss was granted.

House Expected To Vote On Rolling Back Internet Privacy Rules Tomorrow


Chuck Berry, Legend Of Rock 'N' Roll, Dies At 90


NJ Courts' Guidance Sought in Suits by Workers Fired for Medicinal Pot Usage


Michael Oropollo, Jr. releases debut book, "Thoughts."


72 Year Ago - US Marines Raise Flag on Iwo Jima


Walmart Sued for Allegedly Inventing Fake Craft Brewery


Pro-Marijuana Lawmakers Form First Ever Congressional Cannabis Caucus


53 Years Ago: Beatlemania Begins With The Beatles’ Historical Ed Sullivan Debut


NJ Assembly Committee Acts on Fantasy Sports Regulations

Sierra Nevada Recalls Beer in 36 States Over Concerns About Broken Glass

Sierra Nevada Recalls Beer in 36 States Over Concerns About Broken Glass

Justices Affirm NJ's Affordable Housing Obligations


Justices Ask for Federal Government's Views on NJ Sports Betting Plan


Appraisers Face Crop of Suits From Holder of Foreclosed Mortgages


Frank Sinatra's Letter To George Michael


NORAD Tracks Santa!


When Boston Banned Christmas


NJ State Bar Association Urges Pay Raise for Judges


Big Law Lobbying Efforts Fail to Kill 9/11 Litigation Against Saudi Arabia


Second Circuit Upholds Police's Warrantless GPS Access


Scalpers Who Use Ticket Bots Now Face Jail Time in New York


MLB and MLB Players' Union Extend CBA to 2021


A History of Music Bootlegs, Told Through 25 of the Most Significant Recordings


18 NJ Judges Get Tenure Nod


Veterans Day Parade 2016 NYC: 'America's Parade' Start Time, Route And Live Stream


What If: (a) No Presidential Candidate Receives 270 Electoral Votes; (b) The Winner of a State's Popular Vote Is in Dispute?


District Court of New Jersey Holds Mortgage Modification Agreement a Valid Contract


Bergen, Essex & Middlesex Bar Associations Sue State of New Jersey and New Jersey Supreme Court Over Fee Hikes


Judge Rules High-Stakes Gambler Ivey Violated Casino Rules in Winning $9.6M


Now available in N.J.: Cherry or grape cannabis lozenges


NJ Legislature Moves Ahead With Right-to-Die Bill


Supreme Court to Hear Case on Objectionable Trademarks


500,000,000 Yahoo! Email Accounts Hacked


Rutgers AD Pat Hobbs Drinking Beer at Student Tailgate.  Cue the Outrage.


The Falling Man


The Real Heroes Are Dead


Remembering John W. Perry

Team USA Coach John Tortorella On Kaepernick Protest


Judge Limits Window for Collecting Retail Credit Card Debt

Forbes:  Why Did Mylan Hike EpiPen Prices 400%? Because They Could.


NY Times: Why I Decided to Stop Writing About My Children


Lawyers, Pot Businesses, And Ethics Remain Hazy In Some States


Letters of Note: Tell Him About His Father


WSJ - Where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Stand on Economic Issues


Third Circuit Splits on Civil Forfeiture in 'Double Eagle' Coin Row


No jury trial sanction for procedural failure - Williams v. American Auto Logistics (A-10-15)


New Rules Would Require Debt Collectors Have Proof You Actually Owe Money


Court Establishes Right to Counsel in Disputed Adoptions


New Jersey Department of Health accepting petitions to approve additional medical conditions or the treatment thereof as “debilitating medical conditions” pursuant to the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act


Some Days Dickens Nails It: Bleak House

Some Days Dickens Nails It Bleak House
“Jarndyce and Jarndyce drones on. This scarecrow of a suit has, in course of time, become so complicated that no man alive knows what it means. The parties to it understand it least, but it has been observed that no two Chancery lawyers can talk about it for five minutes without coming to a total disagreement as to all the premises. Innumerable children have been born into the cause; innumerable young people have married into it; innumerable old people have died out of it. Scores of persons have deliriously found themselves made parties in Jarndyce and Jarndyce without knowing how or why; whole families have inherited legendary hatreds with the suit. The little plaintiff or defendant who was promised a new rocking-horse when Jarndyce and Jarndyce should be settled has grown up, possessed himself of a real horse, and trotted away into the other world. Fair wards of court have faded into mothers and grandmothers; a long procession of Chancellors has come in and gone out; the legion of bills in the suit have been transformed into mere bills of mortality; there are not three Jarndyces left upon the earth perhaps since old Tom Jarndyce in despair blew his brains out at a coffee-house in Chancery Lane; but Jarndyce and Jarndyce still drags its dreary length before the court, perennially hopeless.”

Nintendo Releases Classic Mini: A Tiny NES With 30 games.


Federal GMO Labeling Bill Opens More Loopholes Than It Closes


Martinotti Confimed as Federal District Judge


Police Dashcam Videos Releasable As Public Records, NJ App. Div. Says


Californians Will Vote On Legalizing Recreational Pot In November


Check Your Old E-Mail Addresses And Ticketmaster Account: You Might Have Free Tickets


Why You Can’t Get a Ticket to the NBA Finals…


After a Life of Punches, Ex-N.H.L. Enforcer Is a Threat to Himself


Memorial Day 2016


NJ Rule Change Would Protect Lawyers Who Represent Pot Growers


Louisiana State Senate Bill Included Amendment Aiming To Limit Stripper Weight


NJ Supreme Court - No Jury Trial for 3rd DWI.  State v. Denelsbeck.


Microsoft Deletes "Teen Girl" A.I. In Less Than 24 Hours


The FBI Finds Kryptonite: Now Says It May Crack That iPhone Without Apple’s Help


President Obama to Pick Merrick Garland to Fill Supreme Court Seat


Parents Treated Dead Son's Meningitis With Maple Syrup


N.J. App. Div. Declines to Hold Public Schools Liable for Sex Abuse - J.P. v Southern Regional High School


Alleged Police Lab Misconduct May Impact Thousands


Some McDonald's/KFC Branches Ban Under-18s for Anti-Social Behaviour


The Dismal State of America’s Decade-Old Voting Machines


Don't Be Misled. The Apple-FBI Fight Isn't About Privacy vs. Security.


Harper Lee, Author Of "To Kill A Mockingbird," Dies At Age 89


The Biggest US Supreme Court Cases Affected by Justice Scalia's Sudden Death


NJ Bill Would Allow Prosecution of Out-of-State Sex Cases


Lawsuit Claims NBA 2K16 Violates Copyright For LeBron, Kobe Tattoos


MU Professor Melissa Click, Who Called for "Muscle" to Remove Reporter, Charged with Assault


Inform Your Constitutional Position By Reading It


RIP David Bowie


Geoffrey D. Mueller, Esq. Appointed as Municipal Prosecutor for The Borough of Caldwell


Grand Jury Declines To Indict Police Officers In Tamir Rice Investigation


How To Track Santa Claus This Christmas


Lawyer for Martin Shkreli Hikes Fees Five Thousand Percent


NJ Legislation Establishing Protection From Adverse Employment Action For Authorized Medical Marijuana Patients Set For December 21, 2015 Review


Loss of Contact Doesn't Mean Abandonment in Estate Case


New York State Judge Shuts Down DraftKings and FanDuel


‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens


On The Reception & Detection of Pseudo-Profound Bullshit


Someone Please Wake Me When The Fake Outrage Crowd Leaves: Free Ottawa Yoga Class Scrapped Over "cultural issues"


Businessman Buys 400 American Soldiers Meals During Airport Layover


The Shield That Stopped 27 Bullets During The Bataclan Theatre Raid


US Grants Limited Right To Revive Games Behind “abandoned” Servers


Prosecutor:  Driver in Oklahoma State Homecoming Crash Drove Around Barricade


Video Shows ISIS Prison Raid That Killed Master Sergeant Joshua L. Wheeler


If You Bring Fake Poker Chips To A Tournament, Don’t Flush Them Down The Toilet To Hide The Evidence.


Full Third Circuit Will Hear Sports Betting Appeal


Tone-deaf NFL asks Twitter to suspend accounts for Deadspin and SB Nation for sharing NFL content. Twitter complies. In completely unrelated news, Greg Hardy still gainfully employed by NFL franchise.


Dodgers' Chase Utley, Suspended For Reckless Slide, Is Eligible To Play Tonight


Katie Nolan Nails It - Why Greg Hardy's Return to The NFL Is a Problem


Prison vs. Harvard in an Unlikely Debate


Remembering the Bruce Springsteen Bomb Scare Show, 40 Years Later


NJ Supreme Court Limits Malpractice Suits Against Uninsured Doctors - Jarrell v. Kaul

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

A plaintiff in a medical malpractice suit cannot bring a direct cause of action against a physician for failing to have the proper insurance, and a doctor's failure to tell the patient that he or she is not insured does not violate the informed consent doctrine, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Sept. 29.

However, the court also ruled that an injured plaintiff can bring claims against a health-care facility that fails to make sure that the physicians they hire do have medical malpractice liability insurance for the procedures they perform, or at least have obtained a letter of credit.

"The statute imposing the medical malpractice liability insurance requirement does not expressly authorize a direct cause of action against a noncompliant physician and neither the language nor the purpose of the statute support such a claim," said Appellate Division Judge Mary Cuff, temporarily assigned, for the 7-2 majority in Jarrell v. Kaul.

Paralegal Forged Names of 76 Judges To 'Make Work Easier'


Agreement in Principal -- or Principle?


This is Tremendous: The EIP @LaserTurntable plays records without touching them via @decodedmag


The Names on the Memorial | National September 11 Memorial & Museum


Fathers Accompany Children on First Day of Paterson Charter School to Show Support for Education


Lawyer Wants Continuance So He Won't Be "killed by wife," Miss Kid's Birth


Hackers Finally Post Stolen Ashley Madison Data


Patrick Kane's Lawyer Is Arguing With People On Facebook


The Coddling of the American Mind


Max Weinberg, Shore Musicians Take Aim at Heroin Epidemic


Split N.J. Supreme Court Limits Eligibility for Expungement


Travis Roy Turns 40


Ivana Says/Retracts: The Donald Violated Her. Trump Lawyer: "You cannot rape your spouse."


Gov. Christie Flip-Flops: Says He's a Bigger Fan of Bon Jovi Than Springsteen


Biglaw Wife Says Drunk Husband Spends So Much Time At Firm He Thinks Office Is Home

Eastern District of Virginia Orders USPTO To Cancel "Redskins" Trademarks


Time Warner Cable Hit With $229,500 Judgment in Robocalling Case -  King v Time Warner Cable, No. 14-02018 (S.D.N.Y.)


Georgia Courts To Enforce Dress Code


Holocaust Hero Sir Nicholas Winton Dies at 106


Ted Cruz has Constitutional Temper Tantrum. Calls for Judicial Retention Elections for Supreme Court.


Boston Marathon Bomber "Apologizes" & Sentenced To Death.  "The evil that men do lives after them. The good is often interred with their bones."


Anti-intellectualism Is Killing America


Gov. Christie Nominates 14 to Superior Court


N.J. medical marijuana activists annoyed as dormant nonprofit pushes for N.Y. dispensary


US Supreme Court exonerates defendant in first case considering free speech & social media. Elonis v. U.S.


Anheuser-Busch Halts Beer Production To Make Water For Flood Victims


NJ Justices Limit Defamation Damages - NuWave Investment Corp. v. Hyman Beck & Co.


N.J. Appellate Division - Illness Is Not Inattention (Beyer v. Sea Bright Borough)


FBI Spent Years Researching 'Louie, Louie' Before Realizing The Copyright Office Must Have Lyrics


Judge Blasts Township for Bad Faith Land Taking


Delaware Chancery Court has sense of humor.  Alfred v. Walt Disney Corp.


N.J. Supreme Court To Consider Whether Leaving Child in Car Is Abuse


Seton Hall University School of Law Names Kathleen Boozang New Dean


Bonnie Mizdol Named New Bergen County Assignment Judge


Patriots’ Day Should be a Federal Holiday. Here’s Why.


FBI Adds Animal Cruelty as "Crime Against Society' in Uniform Crime Report


New Jersey's Third Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens In Woodbridge


Texas Bill Would Make It Illegal To Film Alleged Unnecessary Police Force


Perelman's Daughter Wins $10.6M in Legal Fees in 'Near Historic' Trial


NJ Justices Hold Bias Crime Law Unconstitutional - State v. Pomianek


Corey Booker and Rand Paul Propose Bill Lifting Federal Restrictions on Medical Marijuana


Assignment Judge Peter E. Doyne Retiring


Eric Lindros Files Lawsuit Against Former Referee, Paul Stewart


Idaho Lawmaker Asks Whether Women Can Swallow Cameras for Gynecology


Fannie & Freddie Doing Better Than Before Mortgage Crisis  


Same-Sex Spousal Benefits Dispute Headed to Third Circuit


Casino Can Recoup $1.5M Won With Unshuffled Decks


Marijuana Industry in Colorado, Eager for Its Own Bank, Waits on the Fed


Gay 'Conversion Therapy' Consumer Fraud Ruling First in U.S.


NJ Court Says Driving While Suspended After DWI Means Jail


Fee Application Rejected in Medicaid Eligibility Suit


Judges Can Attend State of the State Speeches, But Quietly


Peanut-Contaminated Cumin Leads to Massive Allergy Recall


Christie Nominates 11 to Bergen, Union Superior Courts


A 2014 Retrospective Of The Notorious RBG


NORAD Tracks Santa!


N.J. Activist: No Money for Federal Raids on Medical Marijuana Shops


Unidentified, Unapprehended (Presumably) Male in Santa Suit Robs S.F. Bank During SantaCon


High Court Committee to Examine Ethics of Metadata Mining


Old And Overmedicated: The Real Drug Problem In Nursing Homes


Denver University Law School Offering Classes on Representation of Marijuana Sellers


Ground Broken for Low-Income Senior Housing in Teaneck


Associated Press Obtains Testimony & Evidence That Was Presented To Ferguson Grand Jury In Michael Brown Shooting

Judge Says Declaratory Judgment Not Available Under OPRA


Jury Awards $7.3M for Discovering Lady Gaga


Hon. Kenneth J. Slomienski Passes


Net Neutrality Reality adv. Senator Cruz


States' Treatment of Ebola Nurse Puts Focus on Risk Analysis


NJ DWI Standard Statement Irrelevant Where Defendant Submits To Breath Test - State v. Peralta, --- N.J.Super. --- (App. Div. 2014)

In a published opinion issued today, State v. Peralta, the Appellate Division ruled that the failure to read the standard statement to a DWI defendant who provides a breath sample is irrelevant.   I would expect the Defendant to petition for (and the NJ Supreme Court, grant) cert.

Peralta is linked, below.

Decision of The Year Nominee: The Hearing Clinic (Niagara Falls) Inc. v. 866073 Ontario Limited, et al., 2014 ONSC 5831

Per AboveTheLaw.com:

Justice Joseph Quinn of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice does not suffer from T.S.S. Whatever the opposite of T.S.S. is, this dude (and I say “dude” with the highest respect) has it. Take this sentence from his epic ruling in The Hearing Clinic (Niagara Falls) Inc. v. 866073 Ontario Limited: “Fridriksson has taken everyone on a hideously time-consuming and obscenely expensive journey down his private yellow brick road to the outskirts of the Emerald City where, it appears, he has a residence. It was not a worthwhile adventure.”

~~~

With respect to Fridriksson’s credibility, he started with this preface:

Determining credibility can be a challenge for a trial judge. We have no special powers in that realm and, wherever possible, avoid reliance upon darts, dice and Ouija boards. However, rarely, has a witness generously offered up so many reasons to be disbelieved. Fridriksson was an evidentiary gift who kept on giving. He ignored rule number one in the Litigants’ Credo: “Know thyself, because others soon will.” Enough of this preamble. Come with me now on a visit to the phantasmagorical world of Fridriksson. Pack lightly.

~~~

Directly from the decision:

After four weeks, the first witness, Stefan Fridriksson (“Fridriksson”), was still testifying. Six additional days were needed to complete his evidence. In total, Fridriksson sub-let the witness box for 26 days. He entered the box as an articulate professional with impressive academic credentials, displaying what appeared to be a sound and comprehensive recollection of events. When he stepped down, after more than 14 days of withering cross-examination, he was noticeably dazed, his credibility was reduced to existential confetti and he even appeared to be physically shorter than when the trial began.

~~~

The decision is lengthy, but worth a read in transit or waiting for a calendar call...

OPRA Victory For Disclosure - Paff v. Bergen County; Paff v. Ocean County Prosecutor's Office

In a sweeping victory for a self-proclaimed "open government activist," John Paff won virtually simultaneous victories against Bergen County and the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office for disclosure of various records, which disclosure was vigorously resisted.

In the respective cases, both judges found the Defendants' purported reasons for non-disclosure to be invalid and made it clear that there would be an award of counsel fees in Plaintiff's favor in the parties were unable to agree on a figure.

The cases follow below...

NJ Justice Sues Over Husband's Auto Death


Panel Hears Jurisdictional Dispute in Facebook Ethics Case


Judge Allows 'Mafia Cops' Suit Against City to Proceed - Pipitone v NY


Court Blocks Claim Over Unauthorized Funds Transfers - ADS v. Oritani, --- N.J. --- (2014)


Sirius XM Loses Lawsuit on Royalties for Oldies

Per the NY Times:

"In a case that could have wide implications for the digital music business, a federal judge in California ruled on Monday that Sirius XM, the satellite radio giant, was liable for copyright infringement for failing to pay royalties on recordings made before 1972.

"The case, filed last year by members of the 1960s band the Turtles (which recorded “Happy Together”), concerns an obscure aspect of music copyright that has become a major focus in the music industry’s efforts to collect more money from digital media."




Lawyers Fear Ray Rice Case Could Stymie Prosecutorial Discretion

Per the NJ Law Journal:

“This is the kind of case where [Rice] was not going to jail. If he did not get PTI, this still was not a jail case. He would have gotten probation with no state prison,” said John Tumelty, a former assistant Atlantic County Prosecutor who is now a criminal defense lawyer in Somers Point, N.J.


NJ Supreme Court Urges Separation of DWI Suppression Hearings, Trials - State v. Gibson


In Memoriam - Officer John Perry



N.J. Attorney General Bars Prosecution of Sports Betting


Fla. Lawyer's Pro Hac Vice Admission Denied in ADA Case


Victim’s Of Terrorists Holding a Billion Dollars  In Judgements Seeks Seizure of .IR Registry By ICANN


Fed. Courts Move to Speed Up Hurricane Sandy Litigation


NY Times - Bid to Expand Medical Marijuana Business Faces Federal Hurdles




Appellate Division Effectively Eviscerates Default Judgments Against Pro Se Litigants - The Ridge at Back Brook v. Klenert

According To The Dictionary, “Literally” Now Also Means “Figuratively”


Appellate Division Finds Warrantless Blood Draw Not Per Se Unconstitutional - State v. Jones

Per the New Jersey Law Journal:

"A New Jersey appeals court has upended a trial judge’s suppression of blood evidence taken from a woman who caused an accident after getting behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol level of more than four times the legal limit.

"The Appellate Division thwarted the defendant’s efforts to invoke the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year in Missouri v. McNeely, which held that dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream by itself isn’t enough to establish exigency in order to bypass the warrant requirement.

“'The fact that the Supreme Court rejected a per se exigency rule in McNeely should not be misinterpreted as a retreat from its recognition that the dissipation of alcohol in the blood merits considerable weight in a totality-of-the-circumstances analysis,' Appellate Division Judge Marianne Espinosa wrote in the published case, State v. Jones."

Full law journal article and text of decision after the jump...



The Continued Criminalization of Parenthood

Per The NY Times:

"WHEN I was about 9 years old, I graduated to a Little League whose diamonds were a few miles from our house, in a neighborhood that got rougher after dark. After one practice finished early, I ended up as the last kid left with the coach, waiting in the gloaming while he grumbled, looked at his watch and finally left me — to wait or walk home, I’m not sure which.

"I started walking. Halfway there, along a busy road, my father picked me up. He called my coach, as furious as you would expect a protective parent to be; the coach, who probably grew up having fistfights in that neighborhood, gave as good as he got; I finished the season in a different league.

"Here are two things that didn’t happen. My (lawyer) father did not call the police and have the coach arrested for reckless endangerment of a minor. And nobody who saw me picking my way home alone thought to call the police on my parents, or to charge them with neglect for letting their child slip free of perfect safety for an hour."

Full article after the jump...

Wal-Mart and TicketMaster Not Liable for Nosebleed Beach Boys Tickets - Mierzwa v. Wal-Mart & TicketMaster

Case summary courtesy of R.R.:

"This lawsuit had all the elements of a heroic quest. Well, almost all of them. The long and short of it is that the plaintiff wanted Beach Boys tickets, and went to a ticket kiosk at Wal-Mart, and no Wal-Mart Associate was there to help him at 10:00 sharp, so he got lousy tickets."

The Complaint was a big hit at the trial level, being separately characterized as "frivolous", "patently frivolous" and "the most frivolous complaint I have ever seen."  Apparently, our judiciary has never had lawn seats in the rain.

Full appellate decision below...

N.J. Divorce Litigants May Not Offer Testimony Through Power of Attorney - Marsico v. Marsico

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"A New Jersey judge has ruled in a case of first impression that a party in a divorce case cannot have a person vested with the power of attorney appear in court or sign pleadings on his or her behalf.

"Ocean County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Jones said that, generally, a divorcing spouse must participate personally in the proceedings unless there has been a finding that he or she is incompetent or needs the assistance of a guardian.

"'Particularly in the realm of matrimonial and family court litigation, the entire fact-finding procedure is heavily dependent upon the testimony of the parties themselves, and involves a focus on otherwise private issues,' Jones said in Marsico v. Marsico."

Full article and link to published decision after the jump...

Colorado Significantly Relaxes Requirements For Retail Marijuana Licensure

Per HuffPo and The Denver Post:

"Want to get in on the Colorado green rush? If you're a resident of the state, you finally can.

"Starting Tuesday, for the first time, any adult Colorado resident can apply for a retail marijuana business license.

"This marks a significant shift in the state's groundbreaking recreational marijuana laws, which first went into effect exactly six months ago on Jan. 1. Since then, only owners of medical marijuana businesses who were in "good standing" with the state have been allowed to apply for retail marijuana licenses. Now, any adult who has established residency in the state can apply for a marijuana business license."

Full article after the jump...

David Mamet Demand Forces Alchemist Theater To Cancel Production Of Oleanna

Per JSOnline:

"Milwaukee's Alchemist Theatre has canceled its production of the David Mamet drama 'Oleanna"' after one performance after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the playwright's representatives over the theater company's decision to cast a male actor in the play's lead female role.

"'Oleanna,' introduced to audiences shortly after the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991, centers on the relationship between a professor and a female student who accuses him of harassment and rape.

"In Alchemist's production, which opened Thursday night, Ben Parman was cast in the role of Carol, the student. David Sapiro plays John, the professor."

Full article after the jump...

Veteran's Benefits Not "Income" for Medicaid Purposes - Galetta v. Velez, 13-532 (D.N.J.)

In a dramatic reversal of New Jersey's "just because" testing for Medicaid eligibility, District Court Judge Robert Kugler upended the State's long-standing policy of insisting that VA pension benefits count as income. Instead, Judge Kugler wrote that the State's position is entirely unsupported by authority of any kind whatsoever. Rather, the test should be whether the VA pension benefits are based on unreimbursed medical expenses (which is nearly always the case). Generally, those who qualify for VA pension benefits only do so after they have long term care expenses that approach or exceed their income. Without these liabilities, the Medicaid applicant would not qualify at all. As such, the Court ruled, these VA benefits should not be countable as to Medicaid eligibility.

Decision on reconsideration after the jump...

U.S. Supreme Court Invalidates Florida IQ Cutoff for Capital Punishment - Hall v. Florida

Per WSJ:

"The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave intellectually disabled defendants greater protection from the death penalty, ruling in a case from Florida that states may not use a rigid IQ score of 70 as the cutoff for execution.

"Writing for a 5-4 court, Justice Anthony Kennedy said Florida’s practice disregarded modern medical standards, which consider an IQ score an imprecise measurement that shouldn’t be viewed in isolation when determining intellectual ability.

"Justice Kennedy said that when an IQ score falls within the “standard error of measurement,” the defendant should be entitled to present additional evidence at sentencing regarding his intellectual deficits.

"The defendant, Freddie Lee Hall, and an accomplice were convicted of kidnapping, beating, raping and murdering Karol Hurst, a pregnant, 21-year-old newlywed, and then killing a sheriff’s deputy, Lonnie Coburn, in 1978.

"The Florida Supreme Court upheld Mr. Hall’s death sentence because his IQ tested above 70."

Full story and link to decision below...

NY Times - Final Word on U.S. Law Isn’t: Supreme Court Keeps Editing


No Redaction of OPRA Documents for Irrelevance - ACLU v. NJ Division of Criminal Justice (A-3381-12T1)

In a precedential reversal, New Jersey's Appellate Division holds that "Absent a legally recognized exception to disclosure, a citizen's right of access to public information is unfettered."  Continuing, the Court wrote "The redaction policy adopted by DCJ is based entirely on the unilateral determination by the custodian of records of what, in his or her opinion, is relevant to the ACLU's request.

"This approach confers upon the custodian of government records quasi-judicial powers to determine what information contained within a 'government record,'...is relevant to a request and therefore subject to disclosure and, conversely, what information contained in this same document will be withheld from the public, based only on the custodian's notion of relevancy. We discern no legal support for such a policy in OPRA."  (Emphasis added.)

Full text of decision (approved for publication) below...

Hoboken Climb Out Of The Darkness - June 28, 2014

Please support Lesley Neadel on June 28, 2014 as part of Climb Out of the Darkness to benefit Postpartum Progress.  Lesley, her husband Evan, and their daughter Rebecca are great friends and would very much appreciate your support for the cause.

From Lesley's CrowdRise page:

"Climb Out of the Darkness is the annual awareness raising and fundraising event for Postpartum Progress, a nonprofit focused on supporting pregnant and new moms with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders like postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD, postpartum psychosis and pregnancy depression.

"In Hoboken on Saturday, June 28th, at 11AM, we will be gathering at Maxwell Place Park, and taking a brisk walk (feel free to jog - the six-months-pregnant woman will be "briskly" walking) down to Pier A and back up, for a picnic lunch. Bring friends, family, kiddos, dogs - everyone is welcome! There is a playground where we will be starting / ending, and a dog run, and a kickass view of NYC.

"Whether you can join us or not, please do help us raise money so that Postpartum Progress can continue to raise awareness of how women are devastated by perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, make sure women know what they need to know about PPD, eliminate stigma and support the mamas who need it."

More information on Lesley's story and the event below.

District Court of New Jersey Requires Production of Surveillance Video Prior to Plaintiff's Deposition - Gardner v. Norfolk Southern Corporation

Per the NJ Law Journal:

"A defendant in a personal injury case must turn over surveillance video to plaintiffs prior to deposing them, despite the objection that disclosure would defeat the footage's impeachment value.

"U.S. Magistrate Judge Ann Marie Donio's April 17 ruling, denying a protective order to Conrail, appears to be one of first impression in the District of New Jersey.

"Because the surveillance materials directly relate to the plaintiffs' physical condition, they have a substantive value in the case that goes beyond using them for impeachment and thus, permitting the delay sought by the defense 'would nullify the discovery process,' Donio wrote in Gardner v. Norfolk Southern Corporation.

"'Fairness concerns weigh against the kind of sandbagging involved when the moving party sets up grounds for impeachment by using undisclosed materials in an attempt to manufacture inconsistencies.'"

Full article after the jump...

U.S. Supreme Court Invalidates Political Donation Limits - MCCUTCHEON ET AL. v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION

Per Reuters:

"The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday expanded how much political donors can give candidates and parties in federal elections by striking down a key pillar of campaign finance law.

"On a 5-4 vote, the court struck down the overall limits on how much individuals can give to candidates, parties and political action committees in total during the federal two-year election cycle.

"The ruling leaves in place base limits on how much a donor can give individual candidates and laws that require candidates, parties and political action committees to disclose information about donors.

"The court was divided over how sweeping the ruling actually is. The biggest impact is that a single donor can now give the maximum amount by law to as many federal candidates, parties and committees as he or she wishes.

"The 5-4 split was along party lines, with the five justices appointed by Republican presidents joining the majority and the four appointed by Democratic presidents dissenting."

Full article and full decision after the jump...

Bill Would Make Interlock Device Available to All N.J. DWI Convicts


$166M Verdict Entered Against NJ Division of Youth and Family Services (Agency For Child Protection) Cut To $102M


State's Failure To Produce Alcotest Data Not Cause For Suppression - State v. Macri (A-0255-13T4)

Per The NJ Law Journal:

"Although DWI defendants have the right to obtain all data about the Alcotest machines used to test them, the state's failure to provide the data due to a technical glitch is not cause to suppress machine readings, a New Jersey appeals court says.

"The loss of data caused by the failure of a machine's motherboard did not amount to a denial of due process, since there was no showing of bad faith by the state and the lost data was only potentially useful, the Appellate Division held."

***

"On Friday, Judges Joseph Yanotti and George Leone reversed in State v. Macri, finding Reddin had misapplied precedents that made data about Alcotest available to defendants in discovery.

"The state provided the 'foundational documents' required by State v. Chun, 194 N.J. 54 (2008), to show the machine was in good working order, and there was no evidence the mother board failure impacted the machine's ability to produce reliable test results, the judges said."

Full article and decision after the jump...

N.J. Court Holds Mother Can Exclude Father From Delivery Room - Plotnick v. DeLuccia

Per the New Jersey Law Journal:

"A putative father has no right to be notified that the expectant mother is in labor nor to be present in the delivery room if the mother objects, a New Jersey judge says in an apparent case of first impression nationwide.

"Ruling in a dispute between estranged, unmarried parents, Superior Court Judge Sohail Mohammed held that a woman's right to privacy and to control her body during pregnancy allows her to shut the father out.

"'A finding in favor of plaintiff for both notification and forced entry into the delivery room would in fact be inconsistent with existing jurisprudence on the interests of women in the children they carry pre-birth,' he wrote in Plotnick v. DeLuccia.

"'It would create practical concerns where the father's unwelcomed presence could cause additional stress on the mother and child. Moreover, such a finding would also lead to a slippery slope where the mother's interest could be subjugated to that of the father's.'
Mohammed said in his opinion, published March 10, that according to his research, 'the issues of whether a putative father has a right to be notified when a woman enters labor, and whether a father has a right to be present at the child's birth over the mother's objection, have never been litigated in New Jersey or the United States.'"

Full article and opinion after the jump...

Condom Tamperer Loses Final Appeal of Sexual Assault Case - R. v. Hutchinson, 2014 SCC 19 (2014)

Per CBC News:

"A Nova Scotia man who admitted he tampered with his girlfriend's condoms resulting in her pregnancy lost his Supreme Court appeal and must now serve the balance of his 18-month jail sentence on a charge of sexual assault.

"Canada's top court unanimously upheld Craig Jaret Hutchinson's sexual assault conviction on Friday morning.

"In the summer of 2006, Hutchinson thought he could save his flagging relationship by getting his girlfriend pregnant. He surreptitiously poked holes in her condoms.

"She eventually became pregnant, but asked for time to think. It was during that period that Hutchinson told her in a series of text messages what he'd done. She called police and had an abortion. A publication ban protects her identity.

"In Friday's 7-0 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Hutchinson deprived the woman of her ability to consent to sex.

"'The accused's condom sabotage constituted fraud … the result that no consent was obtained,' Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and Justice Thomas Cromwell wrote on behalf of the court.

"'A person consents to how she will be touched, and she is entitled to decide what sexual activity she agrees to engage in for whatever reason she wishes. The fact that some of the consequences of her motives are more serious than others, such as pregnancy, does not in the slightest undermine her right to decide how the sexual activity she chooses to engage in is carried out. It is neither her partner’s business nor the state’s,' read the ruling.

"'We conclude that where a complainant has chosen not to become pregnant, deceptions that deprive her of the benefit of that choice by making her pregnant, or exposing her to an increased risk of becoming pregnant by removing effective birth control, may constitute a sufficiently serious deprivation for the purposes of fraud vitiating consent.'"

(Emphasis added.)

Full article and decision after the jump...

New Jersey Department of Health Issues 2013 Medicinal Marijuana Report

Please be advised, the Department of Health recently released its 2013 annual and biennial reports on the state’s Medical Marijuana Program.  Of some note, the State reports 1,672 patient applications (all but two were approved) as well as 197 caregiver applications (all of which were approved).  There are currently 250 doctors active in the State's physician registry.

The full report can be found at the link below.

Diagnostic Imaging Group Settles For $15.5M For Medicare Fraud

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"A medical diagnostic company that allegedly billed Medicaid for unnecessary procedures and paid doctor kickbacks agreed to settle three False Claims Act suits for a combined $15.5 million.

"The settlement unsealed Monday, between Diagnostic Imaging Group (DIG) and federal prosecutors in New York and New Jersey, includes $13.65 million to the federal government as well as $1.5 million, $1.07 million and $209,250 payments to the three whistleblowers."

Full article after the jump...

N.J. Rock Salt Stuck In Port Due To 1920's Maritime Act

Per NorthJersey.com:

"New Jersey transportation officials are hoping that a 40,000-ton shipment of rock salt sitting at a port in Maine can help relieve the short supply available for state highways before the next snowstorm hits.

"But getting the shipment to Port Newark has been frustratingly slow because of the state’s inability so far to obtain a federal waiver of the 1920 Maritime Act, which requires that the shipment arrive on a vessel flying a U.S. flag.

"State Department of Transportation spokesman Joe Dee said Sunday that state officials have been unable to obtain a waiver of what is known as the Jones Act, which requires that shipments from one U.S. port to another be carried by ships flying under a U.S. flag."

Full article after the jump...

Christie Campaign Gets Green Light To Use Election Funds for Legal Fees

Per the New Jersey Law Journal:

"New Jersey election law regulators on Tuesday said that Gov. Chris Christie's re-election campaign committee can use unspent funds—and raise more—to pay its legal fees and expenses to comply with document subpoenas in the investigation of last fall's George Washington Bridge access lane closures that crippled traffic.

"Ronald DiFilippis, chairman of the Election Law Enforcement Commission, said spending purpose is legal and that it was important for the campaign to be able to respond to the subpoenas quickly."

Full article after the jump...

Warrantless Cell Tracking Generally Unconstitutional - State v. Earls

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"Police violated a burglary suspect's state constitutional right to privacy when they located him using cellphone tracking information without first obtaining a warrant, a New Jersey appeals court ruled on Friday.


The panel said the emergency-aid exception to the warrant requirement did not apply, because in the 15 hours that elapsed between the time the police started the search and when they eventually found the suspect, they had plenty of time to obtain a warrant.

"'Certainly, the officers here were not responding to an open-line 9-1-1 call,' said Appellate Division Judges Anthony Parrillo and John Kennedy. 'Nor had they personally witnessed any indicia of an emergency."

Full article after the jump...

Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev To Face Death Penalty

Per WSJ.com:

"BOSTON—Federal prosecutors will seek the death penalty against accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday.

"Mr. Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him, including using a weapon of mass destruction during the April 15 attack that left three dead and more than 260 wounded, including 16 people who lost legs.

"'The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision,' Mr. Holder said in a statement.

Full article after the jump...

Beim v. Hulfish - New Jersey Supreme Court Holds Estate Tax Losses Not Cognizable Under Wrongful Death Act

Per The NJLJ:

"The heirs of a man killed in a 2008 car accident will not be allowed to show a jury how his estate would have benefited from Bush-era changes to federal estate tax law had he lived longer, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.

"The justices held that allowing tax estate tax losses to be considered pecuniary injuries would expand the state's Wrongful Death Act "beyond its intended parameters."

"Tuesday's decision in Beim v. Hulfish rejected the heirs' assertion that the Wrongful Death Act is remedial in nature and that it must be construed liberally in order to advance the purposes of the Legislature.

"Damages premised upon the distinctions between the estate tax laws that governed in succeeding years are unrelated to any contributions that decedent would have made to his heirs had he remained alive," Justice Anne Patterson wrote for the unanimous court. "Such damages do not advance the Legislature's objective to leave a decedent's heirs in no worse position economically than if [their] relative had lived."

Full article and decision after the jump...

Fake Court Notices Continue To Proliferate

As noted in our January 22, 2014 entry, and per the New Jersey Law Journal:

"Courts around the country are circulating warnings about virus-bearing emails that purport to be notices of court hearings.


"The messages, often dubbed a "notice to appear" or "warrant to appear," are written as if they were sent by a court clerk and the subject line usually refers to a hearing and states a docket number.


"Recipients are told of a warrant requiring that they appear in court at a certain time on a specified date for a hearing and must bring with them all documents and witnesses.


"Some of the messages give a reason for the hearing—usually illegal software use—and many have return email addresses suggesting they were sent by prominent law firms, including Jones Day; Hogan Lovells; Latham & Watkins; Dechert; Perkins Coie; and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.


"The emails typically instruct recipients to open and read attachments that supposedly contain additional details. Anyone who clicks through is infected with malware that can steal passwords, download other malware and/or turn the receiving computer into part of a "botnet" that attacks other machines and systems.


"The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts sent out a "Public Alert" on Jan. 14, captioned "Scam Emails About Phony Court Cases Carry Computer Virus." It cautioned: "Unless you are actively involved in a case in federal court and have consented to receive court notifications electronically, you generally will not be served with court documents, electronically."

Full article after the jump...

ATL PSA: Beware "Brian Willmer" of "Willmer Hale"

Note: Although initially reported in January 2011, these emails have been making the rounds again.

Per AboveTheLaw:

"Is “phishing” running rampant throughout the legal community? A few weeks ago, Professor Charles Nesson of Harvard Law School fell victim to a phishing scam. As the HLS Help Desk helpfully explained at the time, “Phishing emails are fraudulent email messages claiming to be from a legitimate source that ask you to send confidential information such as username, password, date of birth, etc.”

"The latest high-profile victim of a phishing attack is a leading law firm, WilmerHale. A mass email is going around, purportedly from “Brian Willmer” of “Willmer Hale,” regarding an alleged subpoena. The email is a fraud; as far as we know, there is no “Brian Willmer” of “Willmer Hale.” It contains a link that you definitely do not want to click on."

***

"So if you receive an email from “Willmer Hale” about documents responsive to a subpoena, please ignore it.

"And if you receive an email from “WilmerHale” about documents responsive to a subpoena, maybe ignore it too — and then claim you thought it was a scam. Opposing counsel of WH, today may be your lucky day."

Full article after the jump...

NJ Division of Youth and Family Services (Agency For Child Protection) Challenges Adverse $166M Award For Negligent Placement

Initial story on $166M Award For Negligent Placement here: https://gdm-law.com/index.php?page=blog&display=258

Per the N.J. Law Journal:

"New Jersey's child-protection agency is seeking to overturn or reduce a $166 million verdict against it for a boy beaten to the point of disability after child-welfare agents failed to take him from an abusive parent.


"Plaintiff attorneys on Thursday filed opposition papers to the state's motions, and a hearing is scheduled for Jan. 17.


* * *
'[Plaintiff] demanded $60 million, but [DYFS] returned with a $10 million counteroffer two days before the verdict, which was rejected."

Full article after the jump...


Legislative Proposal To Fit Domestic Violence Offenders With Ankle Bracelets

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"A bill creating a pilot program to put New Jersey domestic-violence offenders under electronic monitoring is on the governor's desk.
The program, to be run in Ocean County for four years, would require offenders to wear ankle bracelets, and victims would be notified if their attackers come within a certain area.

"'It may not total eliminate the risk, but it could significantly reduce the risk of these assaultive behaviors,' said one of the primary sponsors, Assemblyman Ronald Dancer, R-Ocean, at a Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing in December.
The bill creating the program is called "Lisa's Law" after Letizia Zindell, a Toms River woman murdered in 2009 by her former fiance, Frank Frisco, a day after he was released from jail for violating a restraining order she had obtained."

***

"Offenders subjected to electronic monitoring could be required to pay all or part of the expenses related to monitoring and notification, based on his or her ability to pay, plus face an additional $250 fee, which a judge would have the authority to waive.

"Removing a court-ordered ankle bracelet would be a third-degree crime, punishable by a prison term of three to five years."

***

"The AOC remains opposed to the bill because of the cost uncertainties, spokeswoman Winnie Comfort says."

Full article after the jump...

Federal Judge Rules NSA Bulk Phone Record Collection Constitutional - ACLU v. Clapper (13-cv-3994)

Per The Wall Street Journal:

"A federal judge in New York on Friday ruled that the National Security Agency’s broad collection of U.S. phone customer data is lawful, dismissing a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

"The decision by U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III comes just days after another federal judge, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington, D.C., ruled that the NSA program “almost certainly” violated constitutional protections against unreasonable searches.

"The ACLU lawsuit was regarded as one of the first significant legal challenges against the NSA program after it was disclosed in June.

"'The natural tension between protecting the nation and preserving civil liberty is squarely presented by the Government’s bulk telephony metadata collection program,' wrote Judge Pauley in his 53-page ruling as he dismissed the ACLU lawsuit.

"'While robust discussions are underway across the nation, in Congress, and at the White House, the question for this Court is whether the Government’s bulk telephony metadata program is lawful. This Court finds it is. But the question of whether that program should be conducted is for the other two coordinate branches of Government to decide.'"

Full article after the jump...

Federal Judge Rules NSA Bulk Phone Record Collection Unconstitutional - Klayman v. Obama (13-cv-881)

Per NPR:

"A federal judge in Washington says the National Security Agency's program for bulk phone record collection violates Americans' reasonable expectation of privacy.

"The ruling (pdf), however, has been stayed pending a likely appeal.

"Judge Richard Leon says the sweeping NSA collection of U.S. phone metadata constitutes an unreasonable search or seizure under the Fourth Amendment.

"The judge says the Smith v. Maryland Supreme Court ruling the Obama administration has used to underpin that program involved only a short period of collection, not the years-long approach the NSA has been taking based on advances in technology.

"In sometimes blistering language, Leon, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, says times have changed since 1979, when Maryland was decided. Leon says advances in technology and people's use of cell phones mean that old case no longer holds."

Full article after the jump...

$166M Verdict Entered Against NJ Division of Youth and Family Services (Agency For Child Protection) For Negligent Placement

Per The N.J. Law Journal:

"A New Jersey jury on Friday awarded $166 million to an infant beaten to the point of permanent blindness and brain damage by a parent that the state child-welfare agency allowed to keep custody.

"The Essex County verdict against the Division of Youth and Family Services came after a two-week trial and about two hours of deliberation.

"The state had made a $10 million settlement offer on Wednesday but plaintiff attorney David Mazie of Mazie Slater Katz and Freeman in Roseland rejected it.

"The suit—brought by the child's maternal grandmother Neomi Escobar, who had alerted DYFS to the father's abusive tendencies—claimed that case worker Felix Umetiti and other agency officials negligently failed to remove Jadiel Velesquez from his parents' care.
Escobar alleged that Umetiti recognized that the father was a danger but failed to obtain his criminal history, order a psychological evaluation or report the case to prosecutors or the regional diagnostic treatment center.

"DYFS violated at least 17 of its own policies, the suit alleged."

Full article after the jump...

Iowa Attorney Falls Prey To Nigerian Inheritance Scam

Per The Courthouse News:

"An Iowa lawyer whose clients lost money in a Nigerian inheritance scam has been suspended for a year by the state's highest court.

"Robert Allan Wright Jr. had been practicing law for 30 years when a client named Floyd Lee Madison asked Wright for help in securing an inheritance from his long-lost cousin in Nigeria.

"Madison told Wright that a payment of $177,600 in taxes would secure an $18.8 million payment. Wright agreed to help Madison in exchange for 10 percent of the inheritance.

"Wright persuaded two other clients to loan Wright $12,000 each in return for $50,000 payments from the inheritance.

"The Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board filed a complaint against Wright for his dealings with the two clients. Wright then disclosed that he had convinced three other clients to loan Madison a total of $187,000.

"The Nigerian inheritance never panned out, as Madison followed instructions to pick up the money in Madrid, but he was unable to take possession of the funds. Madison, Wright and the five clients received no money."

Full article after the jump...

Rutgers-Camden Censured For Waiving LSAT Requirement

Per The National Law Journal:

"The American Bar Association has censured and fined Rutgers School of Law-Camden $25,000 for admitting students who had not taken the Law School Admission Test.

***

"From 2006 to 2012, Rutgers-Camden ran a special program that admitted students using scores from other graduate tests—including the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), according to the censure issued by the ABA’s Accreditation Committee.

***

"An average of 7 percent of the law school’s new students were admitted under the special program during the six years it was in operation, according to the accreditation committee. That annual figure fluctuated between 1 and 10 percent."

Full article after the jump...

New Jersey's Third Medicinal Marijuana Dispensary To Open December 4, 2013 in Woodbridge

Per The Star Ledger:

"New Jersey's third medical marijuana dispensary, located in Woodbridge, is expected to open on Dec. 4, according to a company spokesman.

"The state Department of Health announced today it issued a final permit allowing Garden State Dispensary to open whenever it is ready.

"Between today and Dec. 3, Garden State's staff will be testing the security, computer and sales systems to make sure they work, said Yale Galanter, a Florida attorney and a spokesman for the dispensary."

***

"The indoor growing facility and sales office is located on Route 1 North near Routes 35 and 9 in a building that housed a Sixth Avenue electronics store. The parking lot is now paved and signs are posted, Galanter said."

Full article after the jump...

New Jersey Senate Unanimously Approves Faustino Fernandez-Vina To New Jersey Supreme Court

Per The NJ Law Journal:

"The New Jersey Senate on Monday unanimously approved the appointment of Faustino Fernandez-Vina to the state Supreme Court.
Fernandez-Vina, 61, a Republican from southern New Jersey, will be sworn in on Tuesday and begin hearing oral arguments that day.

"He fills the seat vacated Oct. 26 by Justice Helen Hoens, also of the GOP, thereby keeping the court’s political balance.

"A native of Cuba who immigrated to the U.S. as a child, Fernandez-Vina will be the second Hispanic justice on the state’s high court."

Full article after the jump...

From The Wayback Machine - Justice Clifford Eviscerates Footnotes (IN RE OPINION 662 OF THE ACPE - 133 N.J. 32 (1993))

From In re OPINION 662 OF the ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON PROFESSIONAL ETHICS.

Argued March 16, 1993.
Decided July 8, 1993.

CLIFFORD, J., concurring.


The Court's otherwise-impeccable opinion relegates to footnote status an important observation. Sounding an entirely appropriate note of caution, the Court expresses doubt about the proposition, floated by the Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics, that a government attorney's involvement in the drafting of an ordinance or statute or crime-prevention program will always disqualify that attorney from participating in a proceeding for the enforcement thereof. Ante at 29-30, 626 A.2d at 1088 & n. 2. I share the Court's doubt, but I deplore the use of a footnote to express it.

In fact, I deplore resort to footnotes not only in this case in particular but in judicial opinions generally. They distract. They cause the reader to drop the eyes; to absorb what is usually a monumental piece of irrelevancy or pseudo-scholarship but is sometimes-as here-a significant pronouncement that rightly belongs in the text; and then to return, without skipping a beat, to the point of departure on the upper part of the page. The whole irritating process points up the soundness of John Barrymore's observation that “[reading footnotes is] like having to run downstairs to answer the doorbell during the first night of the honeymoon,” quoted in Norrie Epstein, The Friendly Shakespeare 75 (1992).

And so the footnote in the Court's opinion represents yet another setback in my woefully-ineffectual campaign to abolish footnotes from our opinions. Of course, an exception to that hard-and-fast rule crops up occasionally, as illustrated by footnote 1 of Judge Kozinski's recent opinion for the Ninth Circuit in United States v. Snider, 976 F.2d 1249, 1250 (1992), which reads as follows:

1 We do not (except in the caption) follow the appellant's counsel's interesting practice of writing the names of the people involved in CAPITAL LETTERS. Neither do we follow the appellee's counsel's practice of writing appellant's name in BOLD-FACED CAPITAL LETTERS. Nor do we intend to write all numbers both as text and numerals, as in “eleven (11) loose teeth, two (2) of which were shattered[;] [m]oreover, her jaw was broken in three (3) places.” Appellee's Brief at 7. Finally, we will also not

“set off important text”

by putting it on

“separate lines”

and enclosing it in

“quotation marks.”

See id. at 10. While we realize counsel had only our welfare in mind in engaging in these creative practices, we assure them that we would have paid no less attention to their briefs had they been more conventionally written.

Subject to the foregoing observations I join the Court's opinion.

In re Opinion 662 of Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics 133 N.J. 22, 32-33 (1993).

Bergen County Priest Defrocked By Consent Judgment After Violation of Probation - State v. Fugee

Per NorthJersey.com:

"In a sweeping agreement that legal experts said is unprecedented in its scope, the Bergen County prosecutor announced Friday that he has taken over the job of monitoring a former Wyckoff associate pastor who confessed to fondling a 13-year-old boy because he does not trust church officials to watch him.


"The prosecutor, John L. Molinelli, said law enforcement authorities “no longer have confidence” in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark to abide by a 2007 agreement that barred the Rev. Michael Fugee from working with children. He also pointed to recent statements by Archbishop John J. Myers, who said the church is not equipped to monitor priests and never should have signed the agreement.


"In exchange for prosecutors dropping a criminal charge of violating a court order, Fugee admitted to violating the agreement by going on youth retreats and hearing children’s confessions, according to a consent order filed on Nov. 1 in Superior Court in Hackensack.


"He also agreed to be defrocked, a process known as laicization that removes him from the supervision of church officials and permanently strips him of priestly authority. And he acknowledged that he was telling the truth when he confessed to fondling a 13-year-old parishioner of the Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary years ago. He previously alleged that his confession was coerced."

More, including the consent order, after the jump...

Recent, Notable N.J. Foreclosure Decisions: U.S. National Bank Association v. Montesdeoca; D'Agostino v. Maldonado

In U.S. National Bank Association v. Montesdeoca, in denying Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, Judge Doyne found that "Separate and apart from the polemics that 'banks are bad' or 'financial institutions are evil,' or generic allegations of predatory lending, this case presents specified, detailed allegations ... which, if proven to be accurate, would compel a court of equity to consider the appropriate remedy[.]"

Here, "defendant offers the following narrative regarding the loan. Defendant, born in Ecuador in 1950, arrived in the United States in or around September 2002 with his wife and four adult sons. Having unsuccessfully run a flower shop in the United States, defendant assumed a position with a cleaning company earning $600 a week. In addition to this income, defendant asserts he earned approximately $5,000 annually by importing and selling flowers. Defendant later took a position as a driver earning $500 a week while his wife worked in a pharmacy earning $7.00 an hour. These facts are incorporated in this opinion not for any sentimental consideration but for their material significance to the loan instruments which underlie this litigation."

Thereafter, "defendant was preapproved for a $607,000 loan though, apparently to defendant’s surprise, there were two loans. Defendant asserts it was explained to him by [Plaintiff] the second loan was in place of a down payment. The interest rates were discrepant with the first loan subject to a 7.375% rate and the second subject to a 14.000% rate. Defendant asserts [Plaintiff] said the rates “were only temporary”."

In holding the case open for further discovery, the Court ponders, "There is an intriguing question left unanswered; if defendant’s proofs are found credible, what is the appropriate remedy? Surely, forgiveness of the entire loan seems not only draconian but without support in New Jersey case law. That issue, as with many others, shall be left for future consideration."

***

In D'Agostino v. Maldonado, New Jersey's Supreme Court held that victims of illegal mortgage-rescue schemes may recover damages under the Consumer Fraud Act, even where their homes have been returned to them.  Specifically, ""When an unconscionable commercial practice has caused the plaintiff to lose money or other property, that loss can satisfy both the 'ascertainable loss' element of the CFA claim and constitute 'damages sustained' for purposes of the remedy imposed under the CFA[.]"

Here, "plaintiff Anthony D’Agostino contacted defendant and, according to trial testimony, requested his assistance. Plaintiff Anthony D’Agostino testified that the parties verbally agreed on a relatively simple transaction: plaintiffs would pay defendant $40,000, and defendant would repair the property and use rental payments from tenants to bring the mortgage on the Property current.

"The documents prepared by defendant to memorialize their agreement, however, proposed a transaction far more complex than the proposed basic service agreement that had been discussed. Defendant prepared five documents: a Letter of Agreement, an Agreement and Declaration of Trust, a Warranty Deed to Trustee, an Assignment of Beneficial Interest in Trust and an Option Agreement. By the execution of these documents, a trust was created, with defendant named the sole Trustee. For consideration of ten dollars, plaintiffs conveyed their interest in the Property to defendant in his capacity as Trustee. Although plaintiffs were no longer the property owners, the documents provided that defendant had the authority to collect rents, make repairs, pay the mortgage and pay property taxes, and that Denise D’Agostino would be personally liable to pay the mortgage balance. Defendant’s documents gave plaintiffs a one-year option to recover title to the Property by paying defendant $400,000. According to the trial court’s findings, plaintiffs signed the papers without reading them or consulting an attorney.


"Defendant anticipated substantial profit from rental payments. He negotiated a new payment agreement with the lender holding the mortgage. According to defendant’s testimony, however, he soon found that the rental payments were insufficient to cover the increased mortgage payments due under the revised agreement, and he realized that he would have to contribute his own funds to pay the mortgage. On March 28, 2008, defendant prepared a quitclaim deed which transferred full interest in the Property to defendant. Plaintiffs then executed the quitclaim deed. Although the quitclaim deed recited that defendant paid $360,000 for this interest, he did not pay any money to plaintiffs in consideration for the transfer."

Although all Justices agreed that the Defendant violated the CFA, the D'Agostino Court was split as to whether Plaintiff was entitled to further damages pursuant to the CFA after being restored to his initial position.


N.J. District Courts To Run Out of Money October 18, 2013

Per The N.J. Law Journal:

"As the federal government shutdown enters its third week, the federal courts in New Jersey are facing a day of reckoning.  The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey projects that fee income and other resources will enable it to continue to function through Friday.

"'The Judiciary has severely restricted spending during that period so that limited additional funding now exists," the court said in an announcement. "Spending rates and fund balances will continue to be monitored closely in hope that adequate funds may be available to allow courts to operate through the end of the work week — October 18.'

"What happens after Friday is unclear. Government officials were unavailable for comment Monday because of the Columbus Day holiday.

"'We're all holding our breath and waiting to see what happens,' says Gerald Krovatin, president of the Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey."

Full article after the jump...

FBI Shutters Silk Road Black Market

Per Forbes:

"Even during a federal government shutdown, drug pirates aren’t safe. Popular online black market Silk Road has been shut down by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and an individual alleged to be its infamous owner, ‘Dread Pirate Roberts,’ has been arrested, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation complaint.

"Ross William Ulbricht, allegedly the ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’ owner of Silk Road, was arrested in San Francisco on Tues. at 3:15pm PT at a public library and his popular site shut down."

***

"The FBI calls Silk Road in the complaint “the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet today,” used by several thousand drug dealers and with revenue of over 9.5 million Bitcoins to date, which the FBI approximates as worth $1.2 billion in sales. (Bitcoin values fluctuate widely over time, making any comparison difficult.)

"Ulbricht has been charged with one count each of narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. In perhaps the most surprising instance in the FBI complaint, the government alleges that DPR even used his site to try to arrange an assassination.

"Ulbricht allegedly paid a bounty of 1,670 Bitcoins, about $150,000, to put out a murder hit on a Silk Road user seeking to extort him. Ulbricht was told that the crime had been carried out, although the FBI could not confirm any person was actually killed."

***

"The Silk Road didn’t just sell drugs. The FBI says listings also offered social media hacks, illegal contact lists, currency and firearms.

"It appears that looking to purchase identification may have been that unnecessary chance that has put an end to the current DPR’s run, but there were other holes in the system. FORBES also purchased marijuana over the Silk Road market and found its purchases could be traced."

Full article after the jump...

WWII Vets Visit War Memorial Despite Government Shutdown

Per GulfLive.com:

"WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo, Sen. Roger Wicker and other lawmakers from around the country met Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight's World War II veterans this morning and moved the National Park Service barricades to let them into their memorial.

"A bagpipe processional led the congressmen and veterans to the Mississippi section of the memorial, where veteran Donald Quinn laid the wreath with the help of Palazzo."

***

"Palazzo said 10 other Honor Flight groups from all over the nation will be coming to D.C. this week, so he and the other congressmen 'took an informal vote' to move the barricade.

"'Sometime it's better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission,' he said with a smile.

"'This is the best civil disobedience we've seen in Washington in a while,' Congressman Bill Huizenga, of Michigan, added."

Full article after the jump (with pictures)...

N.J. Legislature Proposes Direct Cause of Action Against Insurers Who Dodge Disaster Claims

Per The NJ Law Journal:

"A bill proposed in Trenton would give New Jersey victims of disasters like Hurricane Sandy a private right of action against their insurance companies over improper handling of their claims.

"Individuals as well as businesses and other legal entities would be entitled to sue over a direct or assigned right to payment for a contingency or loss covered by an insurance policy.

"The bill, A-4382, filed Sept. 9, would cover not only natural disasters but also technological or civil calamities that result in a declared state of emergency by the governor or president.

"Insureds would be able to recover their full damages, regardless of coverage limits, as well as legal fees, expenses and punitive damages.

"The claims would be based on the kind of conduct that is already defined in the state insurance law as 'unfair claim settlement practices,' which include:

• misrepresenting pertinent facts or policy provisions concerning coverage;
• failing to respond "reasonably promptly" to claims-related communications;
• failing to adopt and implement reasonable claims investigation standards;
• compelling insureds to sue for coverage by offering substantially less than the amounts ultimately recovered in litigation; and
• failing to make a good-faith attempt "to effectuate prompt, fair and equitable settlements of claims in which liability has become reasonably clear."

Full article after the jump...

Gov. Christie to Appeal Sports-Betting Ban to U.S. Supreme Court

Per NJ.com

"Gov. Chris Christie vowed today to take the New Jersey's case to legalize sports betting all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court after a three-member appellate panel dealt a setback to the state.

"The federal appeals court in Philadelphia handed down a 2-1 ruling today that New Jersey could not implement sports betting because the state’s new law conflicts with a federal statute that bans it in all but four states: Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon.

"The state has the option of appealing the decision to the full Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, but Christie insisted he planned to take the case directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“'Yes, if the Supreme Court will take it,' he said at a campaign event in Paramus. 'We’re definitely going to ask them to.'”

Full article after the jump...

Red-Light Camera Class Action Settlement Approved - Telliho v. American Traffic Solutions

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"A federal judge on Thursday approved a $4.2 million settlement over New Jersey's much-maligned red-light traffic camera program, with an eye to fair functioning in the future.

"U.S. District Judge Peter Sheridan's order in Telliho v. American Traffic Solutions requires that a special master investigate whether the system "operates efficiently and effectively."

"Class members, which number about 408,500, will receive 10 percent of the fines they paid for camera-based tickets, ranging from $14 to $85. They must file their claims by Oct. 28.

"Legal fees of $787,000 and costs of $13,000 for class counsel will also come out of the settlement, as will fees for Special Master Joel Rosen and payments of $200 each to the 20 class representatives.

"The defendants are American Traffic Solutions and 11 towns that used its cameras: Brick, East Windsor, Glassboro, Linden, Monroe, Palisades Park, Pohatcong Township, Rahway, Roselle Park, Union Township and Woodbridge."

***

"A separate class action also pending before Sheridan names Redflex Traffic Systems, installer of red-light cameras in Newark, Cherry Hill, Englewood Cliffs, Edison and Stratford.

"Redflex announced in August that a tentative $2.1 million settlement had been reached and that class members would get 10 percent of fines paid."

Full article after the jump...

Third Circuit Holds Craigslist Post a Threat Under Federal Law - United States v. Stock

Per The Legal Intelligencer:

"The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has ruled that a Craigslist posting in which a man wished death on a police officer constituted a threat under federal law."

***

"According to the opinion by Judge D. Michael Fisher, the indictment alleged Stock had posted a statement on Craigslist that read, verbatim, 'i went home loaded in my truck and spend the past 3 hours looking for this douche with the expressed intent of crushing him in that little piece of shit under cover gray impala hooking up my tow chains and dragging his stupid ass down to creek hills and just drowning him in the falls. but alas i can't fine that bastard anywhere ... i really wish he would die, just like the rest of these stupid fucking asshole cops. so J.K.P. if you read this i hope you burn in hell. i only wish i could have been the one to send you there.'"

Full article after the jump...

Gov. Christie Will Not Renominate Justice Helen Hoens to Supreme Court of New Jersey

Per The Asbury Park Press:

"Gov. Chris Christie says he's not renominating Associate Justice Helen Hoens to the state Supreme Court, blaming Democratic senators for the current political standoff over the high court.

"Christie is instead nominating Superior Court Judge Faustino Fernandez-Vina, the assignment judge in the Camden County vicinage. He said his 20-minute, Monday morning conversation with Hoens was one of the most difficult he has had as governor but that Senate Democrats forced his hand when they telegraphed they might deny Hoens tenure as additional retribution for Christie’s 2010 decision, then unprecedented, not to renominate a sitting justice, John Wallace.

“'The conduct of the Senate has gone to an all-time low,' Christie said.

“'I watched the Democrats play hardball with Phil Kwon. I watched them play hardball with Bruce Harris and do everything that they could to ruin the professional reputations of two outstanding lawyers and public servants,' said Christie, referring to two of his Supreme Court nominees who were rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee — which was also unprecedented.

“'I simply refused to allow them to do it to a third,' Christie said. 'And so I told Justice Hoens this morning that I was not going to permit the political vengeance of the majority of the Senate to cast a pall over her otherwise outstanding judicial career. Let me be clear: Helen Hoens deserved renomination. She deserved tenure.'”

More after the jump (emphasis added)...

2d Circuit Reverses District Court: Holds Poker Not "Game of Skill" - U.S. v. DiCristina, 12-3720

With credit to NorthJersey.com:

In a move that likely surprised very few, the "U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned an August acquittal by a New York U.S. District Court of defendant Lawrence DiCristina that had been made because of a finding that “Texas Hold ‘Em” poker was not covered by the Illegal Gambling Business Act."

“Today’s decision by the 2nd Circuit Court, while unfortunate, only adds to the growing call for federal clarity on the definition of gambling,” said John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance. “The 2nd Circuit clearly did not dispute the district court’s finding that poker is a game of skill. This is a key point distinguishing poker from the types of gambling games that Congress and state legislatures have often tried to prohibit. What the court did was conclude that the IGBA does not set forth an independent federal definition of gambling, but instead only incorporates state law."

Link to complete blog and decision below...

Real Housewives "Stars" Indicted On Tax, Mail & Wire Fraud Charges - U.S. v. Giudice, 13-495

In an indictment filed July 29, 2013, Federal Prosecutors allege that reality television "stars" Joe and Teresa Giudice stole $4,641,612 from various banks by using "fake W-2 forms and fake pay stubs" as well as "false and fraudulent tax returns” to obtain loans they had neither the ability nor intention to repay.

The 39 Count indictment can be found on PACER (link below).

In House PIP Counsel Not Prohibited From Suing Carrier - CURE v. Kurtz, A-4330-11

"Plaintiff Citizens United Reciprocal Exchange (CURE) appeals from the Chancery Division order dismissing its July 22, 2013 complaint to disqualify an attorney and a law firm pursuant to Rules of Professional Conduct (RPCs) 1.9 and 1.10. We affirm.

"The record reveals that CURE identifies itself as "an insurance reciprocal exchange authorized by the Department of Banking and Insurance to exchange reciprocal contracts among its members." It employed defendant Allison T. Kurtz as an in-house attorney from October 19, 2009 to December 5, 2011. Kurtz's primary assignment involved representing CURE against personal injury protection (PIP) claims, mainly at arbitration. During her tenure, Kurtz worked on approximately 180 PIP matters, including several filed by defendant Massood & Bronsnick, L.L.C. ("the law firm" or "the firm")."

[Thereafter, Ms. Kurtz left CURE to become an associate at the firm and CURE filed an Order to Show Cause to disqualify her and the firm from any cases involving CURE.]

"Based upon our review of the record and the applicable legal principles, we agree with the trial court that CURE failed to demonstrate that Kurtz had acquired confidential information that could be used against CURE in future PIP matters. CURE's allegations that Kurtz had knowledge of business practices, litigation strategies, and staff personalities were too imprecise and general to meet the high standard required by Trupos to show that the matters were substantially related. The judge appropriately noted that the general knowledge Kurtz had received did not become confidential factual information when used in the relatively informal, routine, fact-specific PIP proceedings. We conclude that CURE did not meet its burden of proving that a violation of RPC 1.9 occurred."

CURE v. Kurtz, A-4330-11 - full decision below...


Tide Shifting Back Against Bankruptcy Discharge of Student Loan Debt

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"In Michigan, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Gregg denied a request by Nathan Maas to discharge four private loans totaling $47,000 that he took out as a student at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School between 2000 and 2002.

"Judge Karen Caldwell of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee on July 11 affirmed a bankruptcy court’s denial of Robert Bentley Marlow’s attempt to discharge $250,000 in student loan debt. Marlow graduated from the Samford University Cumberland School of Law in 2009 and obtained a master’s degree in social and political philosophy from the University of Tennessee a year later, according to the opinion."

***

"Both Maas and Marlow represented themselves.

"By contrast, in May the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the discharge of $53,000 in educational loans taken out by a 1997 graduate of Willamette University College of Law who was earning just $40,000 a year as a juvenile probation officer.

"And last June, a federal bankruptcy judge in Maryland discharged $340,000 in student loans, some of which was acquired by the plaintiff’s short stint at the University of Baltimore School of Law during the early 1990s. Her Asperger’s syndrome made repaying the loans an undue hardship, the judge ruled."

Full article after the jump...

Hell's Angels File Civil Rights Complaint Against New Jersey State Police - Caruana v. Kilmurray, 13-4286

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"Hells Angels have taken the New Jersey State Police to court, alleging troopers engage in a "campaign" to "intimidate, harass, threaten and deprive" them of their constitutional rights.

"The suit, Caruana v. Kilmurray, 13-4286, now in federal court in Trenton, claims the state police violated members’ equal protection, free speech and due process rights and the New Jersey Civil Rights Act.

"Plaintiff[s'] attorney Dean Maglione of Newark says that when the motorcycle club holds a gathering, troopers station themselves outside and take pictures, which is intimidating.

"The suit also cites a number of incidents of alleged harassment.

"One is a July 2011 police stop on the New Jersey Turnpike in South Brunswick, when nine members, accompanied by two prospects, were wearing their easily identifiable emblem, a winged skull. The group was detained for about 45 minutes and frisked and two of them were handcuffed for 25 minutes. Nine were issued tickets for speeding and failure to keep right."

***

"[This] is the second suit in which motorcycle club members accuse state police of constitutional violations. In Coles v. Carlini, 10-6132, members of the Pagans and Tribe motorcycle clubs sued over a traffic stop in which troopers allegedly ordered them to cover up their emblem. That suit, filed in federal court in Camden in 2010, is in discovery."

More after the jump...

Newark Police Department To Publish Stop-And-Frisk Data Online

Per the New Jersey Law Journal:

"The Newark Police Department has agreed to require that its officers document every stop-and-frisk interaction and to report statistics monthly on the Web.

"The new policy, implemented Monday by General Order No. 2013-03, is meant to "affirm the commitment in continuing to develop positive relations between the Newark Police Department and the community."

"It resulted from months of meetings among Mayor Cory Booker, police director Samuel DeMaio and the American Civil Liberties Union's New Jersey chapter.

"Udi Ofer, the ACLU-NJ executive director, says Newark police already had been documenting much of the pertinent information but not compiling, summarizing and publishing it.

"The data is to be maintained by the Office of Professional Standards (OPS), which monitors officers' behavior, conducts audits and investigates complaints, officer firearm discharges, vehicle pursuits and corruption allegations."

***

"The state Attorney General's Office has not issued stop-and-frisk policies or guidelines but routinely trains law enforcement on constitutional law as applied to stop-and-frisk practices, says spokesman Peter Aseltine. He declines comment on Newark's directive.

"Darren Gelber, president of the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey, says the department "should be applauded in any effort to increase transparency," calling the directive a "tremendous step forward."

"The collected data might be useful to attorneys trying to claim pretext or discrimination in their clients' matters, says Gelber, a partner at Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer in Woodbridge.

"He compares the directive with the state police's 1999 consent decree with federal authorities barring troopers from basing traffic stops on racial or ethnic profiling.

"Newark police director Samuel DeMaio did not respond to an interview request by press time Tuesday."

Full article after the jump...

Beyond The Finish Line - NY Times Updates Boston Marathon's Jeff Bauman

[WARNING: SOME IMAGES NOT SUITABLE FOR EVERYONE.]

Per The New York Times:

"Jeff Bauman stared straight ahead, his eyes wary and unconvinced, as his doctor told him the next procedure would be easy and painless. He sat in his wheelchair at Boston Medical Center, and Dr. Jeffrey Kalish, his primary surgeon, explained how a resident would remove the sutures from his legs.

"Most of Bauman’s legs were gone. He had been waiting for his girlfriend near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15 when the first of two bombs detonated and blew them off. An iconic sporting event had turned into a scene of chilling devastation, and a photograph of Bauman in the aftermath, his legs gruesomely lost, later became a searing symbol of the attacks.

"The day of the bombings, Bauman had had an emergency, through-knee amputation that lasted about two hours. A surgeon had sifted through layers of skin, tissue and muscle, preserving what was healthy, cutting what was dirty and sick. He had removed what was left of Bauman’s lower legs at the knee joints.

"Two days later, Kalish had performed a formal amputation at about four inches above the knee. He had measured the legs and cut each layer — skin, tissue, muscle and bone — farther up in the thigh, like a staircase. Then he washed out the legs for 10 minutes, tucked the muscle, and stitched the tissue."

***

"The day after the concert, Bauman was going to try to walk. His prosthetic legs had been made, and now the thigh sockets needed to be fitted. At his last appointment at United Prosthetics, he had taken a few short steps, but Martino had held his hips. Martino wanted him to walk on his own now, to see how everything felt and if any more adjustments were necessary.

"Bauman’s mother, his girlfriend and a few others gathered to watch in a hallway narrow enough that Bauman could reach the railings on each wall. He was in his wheelchair as he rolled the gel liners onto his thighs. He held his left thigh and squeezed it.

"Martino held the legs in place as Bauman pulled on the sockets. He strapped the liners to the sockets as Martino adjusted the knees and set the feet on the ground, with their black, size-10 ½ sneakers. Bauman scooted forward in the chair, grabbed the railings and pushed himself up. Martino had a hold of him and helped him stand all the way up."

Full article after the jump...

Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc.; 12-71 - United States Supreme Court Strikes Arizona Voter Registration Law

Per Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc.; 12-71:

In a 7-2 decision, with Justice Antonin Scalia writing for the majority, the United States Supreme Court held that Federal law, "precludes Arizona from requiring a federal form applicant to submit information beyond that required by the form itself[.]"

However, proponents of the Arizona statute will likely note that Justice Scalia's decision is effectively a road map to more stringent State regulations to prevent voter fraud.

The Supremes' decision and analysis after the jump...

Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics (12-398) - U.S. Supreme Court Holds Naturally Occurring Human Genes Cannot Be Patented

Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics (12-398)

"Genes and the information they encode are not patent-eligible under [federal law] simply because they have been isolated from the surrounding genetic material," wrote Justice Clarence Thomas for a unanimous Court.

***

"Myriad did not create anything...to be sure, it found an important and useful gene, but separating that gene from its surrounding genetic material is not an act of invention."

The Court, however, left open the possibility that synthetic DNA may be patentable.

Full decision after the jump...

N.J. Issues Second Grow Permit to Egg Harbor Alternative Treatment Center

Per the Star Ledger:

"The New Jersey Health Department issued a permit today for a nonprofit group to begin growing medical marijuana for state-sanctioned dispensary outside Atlantic City — the second one in New Jersey — and said it would be ready for patients to buy in September.

"The approval for Compassionate Care Foundation Inc. of Egg Harbor Township comes more than two years after it was selected as one of New Jersey’s six "alternative treatment centers."

"Finding a location, private financing and clearing the state’s vetting process proved more challenging than the foundation had anticipated."

---

"A crop generally takes about three months to grow and be prepared for sale, after which the Health Department tests it for mold, pesticides and potency before any is sold.

"'Once Compassionate Care Foundation is permitted to operate as an alternative treatment center, patients will be notified of the opening date,' a Health Department press release said.

"Thomas said patients would be given a month’s notice so they could begin signing up with the dispensary. When marijuana is available, it will be sold by appointment in the order in which the center receives the orders, he said."

Full article after the jump...

NJ Alcotest To Be Replaced By 2016

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"Alcotest, the drunken-driving tester that replaced the Breathalyzer in New Jersey just five years ago, will soon be phased out of use, the state attorney general says in court papers.

"Because the machine’s manufacturer, Draeger Safety Diagnostics of Irving, Texas, will warranty it for only three more years, a replacement technology will have to be put in place by 2016.

"In the meantime, the state wants the Supreme Court to relax the controls on Alcotest that it set down in State v. Chun, 194 N.J. 54 (2008), the seminal ruling that found the device scientifically reliable as evidence in DWI cases."

***

"Deputy Attorney General Robyn Mitchell[...]says the state’s decision to retire Alcotest came after it was unable to work with Draeger Safety to make programming revisions that would facilitate uploading of data from machines in police departments around the state to the centralized database.

"Draeger hired a software developer, Ayoka Systems, to work on that job. Draeger advised the state last November that it was not willing to continue employing Ayoka, according to Mitchell. Draeger wanted the state to retain Ayoka or another software company directly or do the work in-house. But the state lacked the resources to do the work itself and said it would have to put the work out to bid, which would cause a delay of six to nine months.

“'In light of Draeger’s decision to stop supporting the existing Alcotest 7110 instruments at the end of 2016 and the state’s lack of a direct business relationship with Ayoka, the time that it would take [to make the necessary software changes] will likely be comparable to the time it would take to implement a new breath testing program,' Mitchell says. 'Given that the Alcotest 7110 will become obsolete at the end of 2016, it makes more sense for the state to focus its attention and resources on replacing the Alcotest 7110.'

"Draeger officials did not respond to a reporter’s call about the case; nor did Arlington, Texas-based Ayoka."

***

"Jeffrey Gold, who represented the amicus curiae New Jersey State Bar Association in Chun, says, 'I really do find it outrageous, the gall the state has in saying, not only are we in violation of this order, in terms of changing the software, for five years, but we want another three years because we’re going to investigate another [machine].'"

Full article after the jump...

Executive Plaza, LLC v. Peerless Insurance Company (12-1470-cv) - Second Circuit Certifies Coverage Question To New York Court of Appeals

Executive Plaza, LLC v. Peerless Insurance Company (12-1470-cv)

Per the Second Circuit:

"This case asks us to consider the interplay between two provisions in a fire insurance policy. One requires the insured to file suit on the policy within two years. The second requires the insured, when seeking replacement costs, to replace the damaged property before bringing suit, and to complete the replacement work "as soon as reasonably possible." What happens to insured property that cannot reasonably be replaced within two years? As New York case law does not clearly resolve the question raised by this appeal, we conclude that certification to the New York State Court of Appeals is appropriate."

***

Those of a less recent vintage will remember Judge Baime's presage:

We will not tarry with a lengthy discussion of United's highly technical arguments which wholly obfuscate the purpose of our inquiry. Summoning arcane constructional aids, "some as dated and as irrelevant as Roman law," sโ€‹ee Diamond Shamrock Chemicals v. Aetna, 258 N.J.Super. 167, 242, 609 A.2d 440 (App.Div. 1992), United seeks to deny what the uncontradicted evidence plainly shows; its policy was intended to cover product liability risks. In plain language, United has adopted the unholy mantra, "we collect premiums; we do not pay claims." We recognize that this is a harsh judgment. It is nonetheless warranted by the record before us.

Full text of the decisions after the jump...

Supplement to New Jersey's Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act Passes Assembly Nearly Unanimously - A765

Per Meagan Glaser, Policy Manager at Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey:

"A765 was passed by the Assembly [May 20, 2013] by a vote of 67 - 2.

"This important bill supplements the 'New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act' to provide that a registered qualifying patient’s authorized use of medical marijuana is to be considered equivalent to using any other prescribed medication and not the use of an illicit substance that would otherwise disqualify a qualifying patient from needed medical care, including organ transplantation.

"A765/S1220 is awaiting a vote by the full [state] senate."

***

On the same day, Gov. Chris Christie said he is "not inclined to allow" children to participate in New Jersey's Medicinal Marijuana program.

Per the Star Ledger:

"'I'm very concerned, if we go down this slope of allowing minors to use this, where does it ends [sic]?' the governor said.

"Christie was responding to a question concerning a Star-Ledger report Sunday about Vivian Wilson, a 2-year-old child with a severe and rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome. She received a medical marijuana identification card from the state Health Department in February, but her parents, Brian and Meghan Wilson of Scotch Plains, have been unable to find a psychiatrist to support her enrollment in the program. The law requires the approval of a pediatrician, a psychiatrist and the child's prescribing physician before the family may purchase the drug on a child's behalf.

"The Wilsons are asking lawmakers to make an exception for their daughter and other seriously ill children who cannot be helped with traditional medication.

"'I have the health commissioner looking at that particular situation and making recommendations to me,' Christie said during a press conference in Lavallette. 'But I will tell you -- I've said this all along and I'll say it again -- I want New Jersey to be a compassionate state. And for people who this is your only option to get pain relief, for those who are terminally ill, (and) are chronically ill, we've authorized it,' the governor said.

"'But I am not going to allow New Jersey to become a California or a Colorado where someone can fake a headache and get a bag of pot on every corner. So I'm very concerned, if we go down this slope of allowing minors to use this, where it end[s],'" Christie added. 'So I'll have the health commissioner look at it, report back to me, but I don't want to mislead people either, I'm not inclined to allow them to have it.'"

Full article after the jump...

State v. Hinton; A-3/4-12 (070386) - Does Eviction Notice End Tenant's Right To Privacy?

Per The NJ Law Journal:

"New Jersey's high court is exploring whether a notice of eviction served at an apartment ends a resident's reasonable expectation of privacy and thus permits a warrantless search for drugs.

"A trial judge denied a motion to suppress in the case of Gene Hinton, who was arrested after the court official serving the notice at a public housing unit saw heroin in plain view and called the police. But the Appellate Division reversed and the state appealed, leading to oral arguments on Tuesday.

"Deputy Attorney General Emily Anderson told the court that the eviction changed the rules with respect to a need for a warrant. "The apartment had reverted back to the Newark Housing Authority," she said. "It's not only possible that others would enter into the apartment, it's probable that the government would enter.""

***

"Hinton's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Matthew Astore, said the Appellate Division was correct in determining that Hinton had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

"Hinton had 10 days to challenge the eviction notice. Even though he wasn't on the lease, he regarded himself as a co-tenant because he had lived in the apartment for about six years with the super's knowledge, Astore said.

"Serving an eviction notice, Astore continued, does not automatically take away a tenant's protections against unlawful searches and seizures or put the landlord in a position to authorize police to conduct a warrantless search.

""That would turn every eviction notice into police authority to search a premises," he said."

Full article, Appellate Division Decision and ACLU's amicus brief after the jump...

Scientific American:  New DSM-5 Ignores Biology of Mental Illness

Per Scientific American:

"This month the American Psychiatric Association (APA) will publish the fifth edition of its guidebook for clinicians, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5. Researchers around the world have eagerly anticipated the new manual, which, in typical fashion, took around 14 years to revise. The DSM describes the symptoms of more than 300 officially recognized mental illnesses—depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and others—helping counselors, psychiatrists and general care practitioners diagnose their patients. Yet it has a fundamental flaw: it says nothing about the biological underpinnings of mental disorders. In the past, that shortcoming reflected the science. For most of the DSM's history, investigators have not had a detailed understanding of what causes mental illness.

"That excuse is no longer valid. Neuroscientists now understand some of the ways that brain circuits for memory, emotion and attention malfunction in various mental disorders."

More after the jump...

Recent News Reports of Elder Abuse Overlook Epidemic

Per The NYC Elder Abuse Center:

"News reports about individual elder abuse cases miss the proverbial forest for the trees when these stories are not framed within the context of a national elder abuse epidemic. This blog features three examples of elder abuse stories recently printed in elite newspapers, identifies the types of elder abuse present in each one and explores why it is important for the media to discuss elder abuse cases within the context of an elder abuse epidemic.

"One story featured in The Wall Street Journal entitled, Astor’s Son Loses Appeal in Fraud Case, reports on renowned philanthropist Brooke Astor’s son, who financially exploited and neglected her, losing his recent fraud conviction appeal. The second piece, a story from The New York Times entitled, Payment for Act of Kindness: 2 Days in Car Trunk at Age 89, features the horrific account of Margaret E. Smith, described as “the backbone dot in the center of Delaware,” being kidnapped, physically abused and robbed by two teenagers. A third case, reported on in the Chicago Tribune, entitled Nursing Assistant Charged with Taking $350K from Client’s Estate, illustrates a case of a longtime nursing assistant who befriended 90-year-old retired city engineer, Marshall Davies, offered to be his “round-the-clock caregiver” and then financially exploited him."

~~~


"For every one case of self-reported elder abuse in the New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study, 24 cases went unreported.

"Ms. Astor, Mr. Davies and Ms. Smith are not alone in experiencing elder abuse. Research suggests that one in ten older adults are victims of abuse. A 2010 New York State Prevalence Study found that a staggering numbers of older New Yorkers – 260,000 each year – confront abuse, neglect and exploitation. With 1 in 24 older New Yorkers not being known to any system, it is clear that many elder abuse victims suffer in silence. (For more information, see New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study.)"

The Law Offices of Geoffrey D. Mueller prides itself in practical and, where necessary, aggressive solutions to a variety of elder law issues.  Should you have any questions, please contact us at (201) 569-2533 or elderlaw@gdm-law.com.

ํ•œ๊ตญ์ธ ์ง์›์ด ํ•œ๊ตญ๋ง๋กœ ์ƒ๋‹ด์„ ๋„์™€ ๋“œ๋ฆฝ๋‹ˆ๋‹ค.

More after the jump...

Missouri v. McNeely - U.S. Supreme Court Holds Police Need Warrant or Consent to Take DWI Suspect's Blood

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"Defense lawyers say they expect to file more suppression motions as a result of a recent, favorable U.S. Supreme Court ruling on drunken driving.

"The court, in Missouri v. McNeely, No. 11-1425, held on April 17 that as a general rule, police must obtain a search warrant or consent in order to extract blood from a driver to test for alcohol.

"Previously, the fact that the passage of time would cause a drop in blood-alcohol levels was deemed a sufficient exigency to justify an exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement for searches.

"Under McNeely, however, the drop in levels may support an exigency finding in a particular case but does not do so categorically."

Justice Sotomayor wrote for a divided Court.

Full article and McNeely decision after the jump...

Passaic County Bar Association - Survival In The Courts - May 3, 2013

Passaic County Bar Association  Survival In The Courts  May 3 2013

North America vs. Russia - NHL Legends Raise $50,000+ for Sandy Relief

Per The Star Ledger:

"Ken Daneyko is exhausted.

"The former New Jersey Devil was known for many things during his 20-year career with the team – his rugged play, his toothless grin – but one thing he wasn’t known for is being an international deal maker and recruiter.

"Daneyko spearheaded the planning for today's Global Hockey Legends for Sandy Relief event at the Prudential Center, a charity hockey game that brought together dozens of former National Hockey League stars and an entire team of Russian hockey veterans to benefit victims of the devastating hurricane.

"He put together the majority of it in just a few weeks and played in the game, too.

"'"[']ve never been on the phone more in two weeks than I have (been),” a red-faced Daneyko said after the game. “I got turned down because of other commitments, maybe 10 percent (of the time), other than that it was 80-90 percent of the team I wanted to put together … everybody was in, it was amazing. I thought it was going to take a lot more calls, but then I hounded them.”

"It paid off. The event brought thousands to the Prudential Center and raised more than $50,000, which will be donated to the New Jersey Sandy Relief fund."

Full article after the jump...

Superstorm Sandy Utility Outages Do Not Abate N.J. Tenants' Rent Liability - Gardens at Maplewood v. Fowlin, ESX-LT-5240-13

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"Tenants seeking a break in rent for building services interrupted by Hurricane Sandy got bad news on Monday, as an Essex County judge ruled the outages were 'unquestionably beyond the power of the landlord to have reasonably avoided or corrected.'

"'Restoration of power was within the control of the power supplier, rather than the landlord,' Superior Court Judge Mahlon Fast said, denying a rent abatement in Gardens at Maplewood v. Fowlin, ES[X] LT 5240-13.

"According to the opinion, tenant Ronald Fowlin withheld half his $1,495 rent for last November, citing his lack of lights, heat and hot water for two weeks.

"His landlord, owner of the Gardens at Maplewood apartment complex, filed for eviction based on nonpayment of $857.50, which included a late charge, attorney fees and court costs.

"Fowlin contended that the landlord was subject to an implied covenant of habitability and that he was entitled to an allowance for the apartment's uninhabitable condition.

"He cited Marini v. Ireland, 56 N.J. 130 (1970), which held that a tenant may receive an allowance for certain conditions found to be the landlord's fault or responsibility.

"But Fast said the conditions in Fowlin's case were not a result of a latent defect in the facilities or caused by the landlord's failure to make repairs.

"Fowlin also cited Chess v. Muhammad, 179 N.J. Super. 75 (1981), in which the Appellate Division said that 'even the most diligent landlord cannot prevent occasional interruptions in the livability of rented premises, whether due to the breakdown of mechanical facilities or sudden acts of nature.'

"Fast said Chess also noted that tenants' remedies are limited to cases in which the landlord failed to make repairs within a reasonable time.

"'I know of no case allowing relief to a tenant because of a loss attributable to an act beyond the reasonable control of a landlord,' Fast wrote, ordering Fowlin to remit the unpaid amount by April 15 or face a judgment for possession."

Full article after the jump...

Rutgers University to Pay Mike Rice and Tim Pernetti Over $2M + Copies of RU Report on Mike Rice and Tim Pernetti Buy Out Terms

Per The Star Ledger:

"Embattled Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti was forced to resign today, just two days after head basketball coach Mike Rice got the ax.

"Neither will walk away empty-handed.

"Pernetti — under a settlement agreement obtained by The Star-Ledger — will be paid more than $1.2 million in return for his resignation. Under the terms of his contract, Rice is entitled to receive more than $1 million.

"University officials declined comment on the payouts."

Copy of the Settlement Agreement found at the bottom of this link.

Per The New York Post:

"Later in the day, Rutgers released the findings of the special investigation it commissioned before suspending Rice last December, and while it spends 33 1/2 pages meandering about and all but excusing Rice’s behavior, at the bottom of Page 34 we find this remarkable summary:

“'In sum, we believe there is sufficient evidence to find that certain actions of Coach Rice did ‘cross the line’ of permissible conduct and that such actions constituted harassment or intimidation within Rutgers’ Policy. ... Furthermore, due to the intensity with which Coach Rice engaged in some of the misconduct, we believe that ... Pernetti could reasonably determine that Coach Rice’s actions tended to embarrass and bring shame or disgrace to Rutgers in violation of Coach Rice’s employment contract with Rutgers.'

"Perfect. So Pernetti’s take is he wanted to fire Rice but wasn’t allowed to. His tweedy boss, Barchi, insists he had no idea of the extent of Rice’s sociopathic behavior until a few days ago. Except their own report now shouts to the sky that both of these perspectives were abject falsehoods (at best) or bald-faced lies (at worst)."

Copy of the Rutgers University Report on Mike Rice can be found at this link.

The Limits of Judicial Speech - U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull and Virgin Islands Superior Court Judge Leon Kendall

Per The National Law Journal:

"U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull, the former chief judge in Montana who filed a complaint against himself last year after acknowledging that he sent a racist email about President Obama, has announced plans to retire by May 3.

"Cebull's move came after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's Judicial Council issued its final order on March 15 regarding discipline against him. According to a formal statement by Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, the order will remain sealed pending the appeal process."

***

"Cebull sent the email to family and friends in February of last year from his work computer with the subject line "A Mom's Memory." The text said: "A little boy said to his mother, ‘Mommy, how come I'm black and you're white?' His mother replied, ‘Don't even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you're lucky you don't bark!""

***

"By filing a complaint against himself on March 1 of last year, Cebull initiated the Judicial Council's investigation into whether his actions constituted misconduct under the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act. He faced potential discipline ranging from a public reprimand to impeachment. The Judicial Council also could have dismissed the complaint or declined to recommend discipline, opting instead for admonishment or a public apology."

Full article follows below...

~  ~  ~

Per The Legal Intelligencer:

"Without clear direction from the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has decided that judicial opinions enjoy First Amendment protections of free speech.

***

"'The First Amendment prevents the government from criminally punishing a sitting judge's speech about one of his pending cases unless it poses a clear and present danger to the administration of justice,' wrote Third Circuit Judge D. Brooks Smith on behalf of the three-judge panel in In re Kendall. Also on the panel were Judge D. Michael Fisher and Senior Judge Jane R. Roth.

"The Third Circuit reversed the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands, which had held Virgin Islands Superior Court Judge Leon Kendall, now retired, in criminal contempt for an opinion he issued in a contentious case over which he was presiding involving the death of a police officer.

"The initial finding of contempt against Kendall was an outgrowth of a dispute about a plea bargain in the underlying case that spun into bitterness between Kendall and the prosecutor after Kendall tried to enforce the plea bargain.

"The prosecutor filed a writ of mandamus with the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands, which reversed Kendall's orders to enforce the plea agreement and remanded the case to him.

"Kendall later issued a 31-page opinion that included a denunciation of the Supreme Court's decision to grant the writ of mandamus — saying, among other things, that the Supreme Court's reasoning lacked merit and made no sense — and recused himself from presiding over the rest of the case because he had become dubious of the prosecutor and no longer believed him, according to the Third Circuit's opinion.

"'The Virgin Islands Supreme Court did not take Kendall's recalcitrance lying down,' Smith said."

Full article follows below...

N.J. Proposes 10-year Bar on Prior Crimes Evidence - State v. Harris

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"A state Supreme Court committee is recommending adoption of a rule that would make it harder to use evidence of past convictions to impeach a criminal defendant's credibility.

"Revised N.J. Rule of Evidence 609 would bar introduction of evidence of convictions more than 10 years old unless the court determines that its probative value outweighs its prejudicial effect. The 10-year period would run from date of conviction or of release from confinement, whichever is later.

"The rule currently provides that evidence of any witness' conviction of a crime is admissible 'unless excluded by the judge as remote or for other causes.'

"The proposal, by the Committee on the Rules of Evidence, is subject to public comment on or before May 1.

"It stems from the Supreme Court's 4-3 decision, in State v. Harris, 209 N.J. 431 (2012), that a trial judge did not abuse his discretion when he said prosecutors could use 13-year-old drug convictions to impeach the credibility of a defendant charged with robbery and burglary. Derrick Harris chose not to testify and was convicted."

More after the jump...

Widener Law School Puffery Suit Survives Motion To Dismiss - Harnish v. Widener University School of Law, 12-cv-00608

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"Widener University School of Law graduates unable to find jobs in their profession can go forward with a suit charging they were misled about the school's placement success rate.

"Denying a motion to dismiss on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William Walls in Newark found plausible the students' claims that the school — in boasting that more than 90 percent of graduates found jobs within nine months — blurred the line between legal and nonlegal employment.

"That would mean a law firm associate and a coffee bar attendant each count as one tick.

"'Why should a reasonable student looking to go to law school consider that data to include non law-related and part-time employment?' Walls wrote in Harnish v. Widener University School of Law, 12-cv-00608.

"'Should that student think that going to Widener Law School would open employment as a public school teacher, full or part time, or an administrative assistant, or a sales clerk, or a medical assistant?'"

Plaintiffs are seeking damages of $75 million.

More after the jump...

A765/S1220, Supplementing the “New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act” Scheduled for Full Assembly Vote Thursday, March 21, 2013

N.J. Bill A765/S1220, which supplements the “New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act” is Scheduled for Full Assembly Vote Thursday, March 21, 2013. N.J. Bill A765/S1220 would provide that a registered qualifying patient’s authorized use of medical marijuana would be considered equivalent to using any other prescribed medication, and not the use of an illicit substance that would otherwise disqualify a qualifying patient from medical care.

Per the Statehouse, there will be no opportunity for public comment. However, as of even date, attendance by the public is still permitted. If you plan on attending, directions and parking information can be found here: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/legislativepub/directions.asp. A photo ID is required for admission to the Statehouse.

For those interested, you can monitor the Assembly session live from the Legislature's homepage: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/media/live_audio.asp.

To contact your local representatives regarding N.J. Bill A765/S1220, please visit:
http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/districts/municipalities.asp.


New Challenge to N.J. Alcotest

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"Defense lawyers have lodged another challenge to statewide use of the Alcotest in drunken driving cases, claiming the database of readings established in compliance with a Supreme Court directive is incomplete and corrupt.

"In motion papers filed Tuesday, Evan Levow of Cherry Hill and Matthew Reisig of Freehold want the Attorney General's Office to show cause why it should not be compelled to redesign the database, established last November.

"Discrepancies found in a review of data downloaded from a state website ranged from 'confusion of data to sanitization of demonstrable error,' the lawyers allege.

"A defense expert, East Windsor solo Samuel Sachs, discovered corrupted data for 15 of 45 Alcotest machines by comparing individual reports, obtained from CD-ROMs created by state technicians, to the same reports on the state website.

"Data from the East Brunswick Police Department, for example, allegedly shows several errors when viewed on CD-ROMs downloaded from the machines, but those errors do not appear in the database."

More after the jump...

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Considering Arguments to Cancel "Redskins" Trademark Protections

Per The National Law Journal:

"That the Washington Redskins football team name is controversial is undisputed, but the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board is weighing whether there was evidence that enough Native Americans considered it disparaging to cancel the team's trademark registrations.

"A March 7 hearing marked the latest development in more than two decades of litigation over the name, which has long been criticized as offensive to Native Americans. A previous challenge to the team's trademark registrations succeeded before the trademark appeal board in 1999, but ultimately failed when the team appealed to the federal courts.

"The petitioners in this latest round are five Native Americans from different tribes. Although the trademark appeal board couldn't stop the team from using the name, cancelling the trademark registrations would leave the team unable to stop others from using the name commercially."

More after the jump...

Problems Rebuilding From Hurricane Sandy: Gutted Seaside Park House Loses Grandfathered Nonconforming Use Status - Motley v. Borough of Seaside Park, No. A-3214-11

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"Property owners trying to rebuild after damage caused by Hurricane Sandy or other disasters got what could be a bad-news ruling from a New Jersey appeals court on Monday.

"In a precedential decision, Motley v. Borough of Seaside Park, No. A-3214-11, the Appellate Division found a house that had been gutted to a shell to accomplish repairs was totally destroyed and so lost its status as a grandfathered nonconforming use under local zoning laws.

"The panel strictly construed a statute, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-68, which says a nonconforming use or structure may be restored or repaired if partially destroyed but total destruction terminates it.

"Whether the destruction is partial or total is not so much a matter of percentage but "whether [it] is so substantial in nature — qualitatively if not quantitatively — to surpass the 'partial' threshold that the statute expresses," Judges Jack Sabatino, Douglas Fasciale and Susan Maven held.

"The house at issue was one of two at 213 "O" Street in Seaside Park. The area is now zoned for single-family homes, but the houses were built in 1931, decades before the adoption of the zoning laws in 1972, and thus were prior conforming uses. They violated restrictions on lot width, depth and area, as well as front-, rear- and side-yard setbacks and building coverage."

***

"Grasso held that Motley did not act unreasonably once he learned of the building's poor condition and that the sounder policy was to allow debilitated nonconforming structures to be renovated as long as there was no increase in nonconformity.

"He relied on Krul v. Bd. of Adjustment, 126 N.J. Super. 150 (App. Div. 1973), which held that a commercial building that was completely destroyed by fire could be replaced even though it was nonconforming.

"The appeals court on Monday distinguished Krul on the ground that it involved destruction of a building that was a part of a complex used as "an integrated whole." In contrast, Motley's house was a stand-alone residence whose use was independent of the other house on the property.

"The appeals court also referred to the "well settled law of our state that disfavors the continuation of nonconforming uses and structures" because they undermine land use planning.

"The judges agreed with the board that removing the walls down to the foundation and footings "exceeds any reasonable notion of a mere partial demolition."

"They said they appreciated Grasso's concern that the limits on reconstruction could have harsh results for innocent homeowners but added that was for the Legislature to address."

Full article after the jump...

Six New N.J. Judges Seated

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"The state Senate on Tuesday confirmed six Superior Court appointees, bringing to 21 the number of new judges seated this year and reducing vacancies statewide to 34 from 55 a month ago."


Chief Justice Stuart Rabner signed orders the same day, assigning the judges to the Camden, Hudson, Monmouth, Middlesex and Essex vicinages.


"All but one of the six were assigned to their home counties.


"Stephen Taylor, an Independent from Montgomery Township and since January 2010 the director of the state Division of Criminal Justice, was intended for Morris County but instead was assigned to the Civil Part in Essex — the vicinage most in need of manpower."

...

"All six were from a package of 23 nominees that Christie pre-negotiated with Senate leaders. Each was recommended for confirmation by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 21, except for Rafano, who was approved on Feb. 7 but had his final vote delayed while he divested himself from his firm.


"The Senate confirmed 15 judges on Feb. 7: Peter Bogaard, Bradford Bury, Martiza Byrne, J. Randall Corman, Angela White Dalton, Mitzy Galis-Menendez, Katie Gummer, Daniel Lindemann, Arnold Natali Jr., Michael O'Neill, Joseph Oxley, Nesle Rodriguez, Donald Stein, James Wilson and Mara Zazzali-Hogan. Three each were assigned to Union and Monmouth counties; two each to Essex, Hudson and Middlesex; and one each to Camden, Morris and Somerset.


"Seven of those – Bogaard, Corman, Dalton, Gummer, Lindemann, Natali and Oxley – had been nominated months earlier but weren't confirmed before the end of the year."

Full article and assigment listing after the jump...

Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder (12-96) - Key Provision of Voting Rights Act In Play

Per The Blog of Legal Times (an ALM Publication):

"The constitutionality of a key part of the nation's Voting Rights Act appeared in serious trouble in the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday as the justices heard arguments over Congress' 2006 reauthorization of the act.

"In Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, the court is asked whether Congress exceeded its authority under the 15th and 14th Amendments when it re-authorized Section 5 under a formula that the challengers contend is outdated and intrusive on state sovereignty. Section 5 currently requires nine states, primarily in the South, and parts of seven others to have any changes in their voting practices pre-cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice or the federal district court in Washington, D.C. The formula in Section 4(b) determines which jurisdictions must submit to Section 5.

"While a large crowd rallied in support of the act on the sidewalk in front of the Court, intense questioning ensued inside the courtroom."

...

"Justice Antonin Scalia noted that when Section 5 was adopted in 1965, there was double-digit opposition to it in the Senate and with each reauthorization, the number of opposing votes decreased until there was no Senate opposition in 2006.

"'I think that's attributable to a phenomenon that has been called the perpetuation of racial entitlements,' he told Verrilli. 'Once you enact them, it's very hard to get out. I'm fairly confident this will be re-enacted in perpetuity' unless a court steps in to examine the justification. 'The concern here is this is not the kind of question you can leave to Congress.'

"Verrilli said it would be 'extraordinary' to look behind the judgment of Congress in 'a sort of motive analysis.' He added, 'These are predictive judgments about human behavior and voting that Congress knows much about.' And the Constitution, he said, expressly gives Congress the enforcement power in this area."

More after the jump...

U.S. Supreme Court Rebukes Federal Prosecutor For Racially Charged Remarks - Calhoun v. U.S.

Per The National Law Journal:

"In a rare and forceful slap down of a federal prosecutor, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Stephen Breyer, devoted a nearly five-page statement on Monday to the prosecutor's racially charged remark during a drug conspiracy trial in Texas.

"The U.S. Supreme Court denied review in Calhoun v. U.S., but Sotomayor wrote separately 'to dispel any doubt whether the court's denial of certiorari should be understood to signal our tolerance of a federal prosecutor's racially charged remark. It should not.'"

"The remark came during cross-examination of Bongani Charles Calhoun, who claimed he did not know that the friend he had accompanied on a road trip, along with the friend's associates, were about to engage in a drug transaction. Calhoun testified that he detached himself from the group when his friend arrived at their hotel room with a bag of money. On cross, Sam Ponder, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Western District of Texas, repeatedly pressed Calhoun on why did not want to be in the hotel room. The judge eventually ordered the prosecutor to move on, at which point the prosecutor asked:

"'You've got African-Americans, you've got Hispanics, you've got a bag full of money. Does that tell you—a light bulb doesn't go off in your head and say, 'This is a drug deal?''"

...

"[Justice Sonia Sotomayor writing, with Justice Stephen Breyer joining] called it 'deeply disappointing to see a representative of the United States resort to this base tactic more than a decade into the 21st century.' And Sotomayor also found 'troubling' the government's actions on appeal in the case.

"'Before the Fifth Circuit, the Government failed to recognize the wrongfulness of the prosecutor's question, instead calling it only ‘impolitic' and arguing that ‘even assuming the question crossed the line,' it did not prejudice the outcome," Sotomayor wrote. "In this Court, the Solicitor General has more appropriately conceded that the ‘prosecutor's racial remark was unquestionably improper.'Yet this belated acknowledgment came only after the Solicitor General waived the Government's response to the petition at first, leaving the Court to direct a response.'

"She ended by writing, 'I hope never to see a case like this again.'"

Full article after the jump...

NJ Supreme Court To Rule on Probate of Unexecuted Will - In Re Ehrlich

As a follow-up to https://gdm-law.com/index.php?page=blog&display=85, and per the New Jersey Law Journal, the New Jersey Supreme Court " is set to decide whether an unsigned copy of a purportedly executed will can be admitted to probate when the original document cannot be found."

From the article:

"In In re Estate of Richard Ehrlich, A-43-12, a Burlington trusts and estates lawyer left behind a probate battle over his own assets. When he died at age 74 in 2009, a 14-page "Last Will and Testament" was found was in a drawer in his home, which an appeals court described as "full of clutter and a mess," like his office.


"The purported will, dated May 20, 2000, was on traditional legal paper and had Erhlich's name and law office address printed in the margins but was not signed by him or witnessed. No original of the will was found among his possessions. A handwritten note indicated the original had been mailed to his friend, Harry Van Sciver, a local banker named as executor, who unfortunately had died in July 2005.


"Ehrlich had prepared the unsigned will right before life-threatening surgery in 2000, together with a power of attorney and health care proxy that had the same paper and date but were witnessed by the Burlington County surrogate."

...

"Burlington County General Equity Judge Michael Hogan granted Jonathan's request to probate the unsigned will[.]"

"A divided Appellate Division panel affirmed, based on a 2004 law that allows probate for wills that do not meet the formal criteria — a writing signed by the executor and two witnesses — so long as there exists clear and convincing evidence of the testator's intent.


"Judges Anthony Parrillo and Carmen Alvarez found Jonathan met that standard because Ehrlich clearly prepared the document, which expressed "sufficient testamentary intent" and was "a professionally prepared will and complete in every respect except for a date and its execution.""


...


"Judge Stephen Skillman, the dissenter in Ehrlich, was also on the Macool panel, but he repudiated his earlier stance, stating that "upon further reflection," Macool was "too expansive" in that it "seems to indicate" in dictum that an unsigned draft will can be probated if the putative testator gave "final assent" to it. His view in Ehrlich was that the law "only allows the admission to probate of a defectively executed will, not an unexecuted will.""


More after the jump...

NJ Assembly Judiciary Committee Passes Civil Rape Shield Bill

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"The Assembly Judiciary Committee on Monday recommended passage of a bill that would expand the Rape Shield Law to include civil actions...The bill, A-101, would require that a defendant in a civil case establish specific facts showing good cause for seeking discovery of information concerning the plaintiff's sexual conduct with persons other than the defendant, and also showing that the information sought is relevant to the subject matter of the action and reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence."

More after the jump...

NJ Senate Confirms 15 New Judges for Trial Courts

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"The state Senate on Thursday confirmed 15 of Gov. Chris Christie's recent nominations to the Superior Court bench, the same day they were vetted by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"The nominations went through both the committee and the full Senate without opposition.

"Five of the new judges are from Monmouth County, two each are from Morris and Somerset, and one each are from Bergen, Camden, Hudson, Middlesex, Passaic and Union.

"They will likely be assigned to those counties once they are sworn in, though the state's chief justice has authority to situate judges in any vicinage."

Confirmed Nominees:
  • Peter Bogaard, R-Chester (Morris)
  • Bradford Bury, D-Watchung (Somerset)
  • Maritza Byrne, R-Towaco (Morris)
  • J. Randall Corman, R-Sayreville (Middlesex)
  • Angela White Dalton, R-Howell (Monmouth)
  • Mitzy Galis-Menendez, R-Cliffside Park (Bergen)
  • Katie Gummer, R-Rumson (Monmouth)
  • Daniel Lindemann, R-Wayne (Passaic)
  • Arnold Natali Jr., D-Little Silver (Monmouth)
  • Michael O'Neill, Branchburg (Somerset)
  • Joseph Oxley, R-Red Bank (Monmouth)
  • Nesle Rodriguez, D-Jersey City (Hudson)
  • Donald Stein, D-Haddon Heights (Camden)
  • James Wilson, D-Roselle (Union)
  • Mara Zazzali-Hogan, D-Shrewsbury (Monmouth)

Full article and biopics after the jump...

NJ Judiciary Launches Volunteer Guardianship Monitoring Program

For immediate release: January 30, 2013
For further information contact:
Winnie Comfort
Tammy Kendig
609-292-9580



Judiciary Launches Volunteer Guardianship Monitoring Program
Attorneys, Accountants, Retired Professionals, Students and Others Called to Help


New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner today announced a call to volunteers to monitor the well-being of the state’s most vulnerable citizens, the elderly and disabled who rely on legal guardians to manage their financial and health-related decisions. The volunteers will be the foundation of a novel and significant initiative.


“The Guardianship Monitoring Program is a volunteer initiative that grows out of the need to ensure that friends, neighbors and family members who are incapacitated are treated with the dignity and integrity they deserve,” Chief Justice Rabner said.


“Census data and health care experts tell us that the population of elderly and disabled Americans will grow dramatically in coming years. We must take steps now to meet the increased need for protection with an enhanced level of oversight of legal guardians,” he added.


Every legal guardian in New Jersey is appointed by the court and is responsible for making decisions on behalf of an incapacitated person about personal and medical care, meals, transportation, and even where the person lives. Guardians take control of the person’s assets, manage budgets, pay debts, and make all financial and investment decisions.


Legal guardians can be family members, friends, attorneys and others. They not only manage the affairs of people they assist, but also must report annually on the financial status and the general well-being of the individual in their charge. Written reports are filed each year with the county surrogate.


The annual reports are designed to provide the courts with key information on the quality of financial management. Volunteers will work directly in county surrogates’ offices to review guardian files and the annual reports.


In recent months, county surrogates and court administrators have met to discuss the program. “We greatly appreciate the cooperation of the county surrogates in this initiative,” Rabner noted.


“Experience has shown us that although most legal guardians are caring and responsible individuals, that is not always the case. Unfortunately, some guardians have exploited the very people they promised to help. Because government resources are simply not adequate to provide the level of detailed review that each annual report deserves, we are enlisting volunteers to join the Guardianship Monitoring Program and help out,” Rabner said.


The Judiciary has developed a new statewide database to track all guardianships and ensure that reviews will be conducted in a timely and thorough manner. Until now, the review of annual reports has varied from county to county, and some reviews were minimal. As part of the Guardianship Monitoring Program, with the help of volunteers the new computer program will record every court-ordered legal guardianship and track the monitoring of each case.


Recent cases in New Jersey illustrate the risks to incapacitated persons when reports are not carefully examined. In one case, an attorney-guardian stole $2.6 million from 56 clients. In another, a minister-guardian stole more than $200,000 from 19 clients. Another lawyer is under indictment for allegedly stealing $800,000 from 60 clients.


In addition to the computer system, the Judiciary is hiring additional professional level staff members to work on and coordinate the project. These staff members will have overall responsibility for the implementation and administration of the program.


Volunteers will receive detailed training from court staff on how to read and analyze the guardians’ annual reports and how to gather data for the new computer system. With the new database, missing or incomplete reports will be easier to identify. Volunteer monitors will flag inconsistent or incomplete financial information, which will be reported to judges, and possibly prosecutors, for appropriate action.


The program, which is expected to be statewide by November 2013, will begin in three counties – Hunterdon, Passaic and Mercer. Volunteers in other counties will be kept informed about the start of the program in their counties. Information about the program and how to volunteer can be obtained on the Judiciary’s website, njcourts.com, by calling toll-free 855-406-1262, or by emailing njguardianship.mailbox@judiciary.state.nj.us.


Rabner credited Judge Margaret McVeigh, presiding judge for General Equity of the Passaic Vicinage, Kevin Wolfe, assistant director, Civil Practice Division, Kristi Robinson, Civil Practice liaison, Jack McCarthy, director, Information Technology Office, Siva Appavoo, project manager, and Mark Talbot, lead business analyst, for their leadership on this initiative.


“We need a host of volunteers to help ensure that individuals who cannot take care of themselves are not taken advantage of by others. Please step forward to help us achieve that noble aim,” Chief Justice Rabner said.

Lawyer Censured For Paying Referral Fees

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"The state Supreme Court has censured a lawyer for paying 131 unauthorized referral fees totaling $142,432 over a six-year period.

"David Bolson, a South Orange solo, concentrates his practice in workers' compensation but has never been certified by the court in that specialty or any other, such as would allow fee splitting under Rule 1:39-6(d).

"As a noncertified lawyer, Bolson violated Rule of Professional Conduct 1.5(e), which allows fee divisions only if in proportion to the services performed by each lawyer or if each assumes joint responsibility in a written agreement with the client.

"According to the Disciplinary Review Board, which recommended the censure, a random audit in October 2011 turned up evidence that Bolson was paying what he had documented as "forwarding fees" to lawyers who had referred him contingent-fee matters.

"The Office of Attorney Ethics directed Bolson to document all referral fees paid since 2006."

Full article after the jump...

U.S. Senators Call For End To "Payday" Loans

Per The Consumerist:

"Four of the nation’s largest banks — Wells Fargo, Fifth Third Bank, U.S. Bank and Regions Bank — are involved in high-interest, short-term loans that may not always be called 'payday' loans but might as well be. Thus, a group of five U.S. senators have asked regulators to put a stop to the practice altogether.

"Last week, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut sent a letter — also signed by Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, Sen. Chuck Schumer from New York, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Sen. Tom Udall from New Mexico — to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg and Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry, calling on them to use their authority to end the payday lending by federally regulated banks, which is already illegal in 14 states and can not be offered to active-duty U.S. servicemembers.

“'These bank payday loans are widely recognized as predatory products designed to trap low-income consumers in a cycle of debt,' reads the letter."

More after the jump...

Five Attorneys Running For State Bar Secretary

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"Five lawyers, the largest number since 2006, are seeking State Bar Nominating Committee backing for the post of secretary, the first step on the six- year trek to the presidency.

"The candidates are all current Bar trustees. Three — Robert Brass, Bonnie Blume Goldsamt and Amirali Haidri — are solos, while Robert Hille and John Keefe Jr. are partners at litigation firms.

"The candidate selected by the committee usually runs unopposed, but the wide field of contenders could point to a contested election, as occurred in 2011."

***

"Before the 2011 race, the Bar's last contested election was in 1993, when the Nominating Committee's choice for secretary, Raymond Londa, was defeated by Joseph Bottitta.

"Once elected secretary, the officer moves lockstep each year through the posts of treasurer, second vice president, first vice president, president-elect and president."

Full article after the jump...

Schaefer v. Chatham, 12912-12 - N.J. Tax Court Rejects "Form Over Substance" Dismissal of Tax Appeals

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"County boards of taxation have been put on notice that they should refrain from dismissing property owners' appeals of their tax bills except in the most egregious of circumstances.

"Tax Court Judge Vito Bianco, in a decision released Monday, chided the Morris County Board of Taxation for dismissing appeals by two property owners on the ground that the appraisals they submitted failed to overcome the assessments' presumption of validity.

"'[T]he Board's refusal to allow the Taxpayers to proceed with their appeals despite appearances by counsel and appraisers effectively created a situation where the Taxpayers were precluded from satisfying the evidentiary standard needed to avoid a dismissal for lack of prosecution,' Bianco wrote in Schaefer v. Chatham, 12912-12."

From Schaefer v. Chatham, 12912-12:

"[A] county board of taxation may not create a basis to dismiss for lack of prosecution by improperly denying a taxpayer the right to present testimony which may be adequate to avert such a dismissal[...]

"In this court's observation, recent dismissals by the Board for lack of prosecution occur with much too great frequency for a consequence intended to 'be granted only in the most egregious circumstances[...]

"Clearly this is not the envisioned purpose in the tax appeal process that County Boards were intended to have[...]

"[D]ismissing appeals for lack of prosecution on facts as here fall far short of the 'square deal' for every taxpayer Governor Stokes had hoped for[.]"

More after the jump...

Montgomery v. Millenium Auto Group - NJ Consumer Fraud Act Applicable In Failure To Disclose Used Car As Loaner

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"In an apparent ruling of first impression in New Jersey, a car dealer has been held in violation of the Consumer Fraud Act for selling a used car without disclosing its prior use as a loaner.


"Morris County Superior Court Judge Rosemary Ramsay denied defense motions for remittitur and a new trial on Dec. 14 in the case, in which a jury awarded the plaintiff treble damages of $30,000.

"Ramsay also awarded $45,202 in fees and expenses, in Montgomery v. Millenium Auto Group, MRS-L-2839-10.

"Research by both sides found that no other court has ruled on whether the statute applies to the failure to disclose that a used car was a loaner, plaintiff lawyer Herbert Korn says."

More after the jump...

Jimenez v. St. Patrick's, 2439/2011 - Trial Scheduled In NY Falling Crucifix Case

Per The New York Law Journal:

"A jury in Orange County is scheduled to consider whether a pious man who believes God answered his prayers by curing his partner of cancer can recover damages against a church for the leg he lost after the crucifix where he made his devotions toppled on him.


"Jury selection is slated for Jan. 22 before Orange County Supreme Court Justice Elaine Slobod (See Profile) in a case that hinges on whether employees at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church of Newburgh were involved in securing a 530-pound crucifix to its base when the statue was erected more than 20 years ago.


"Slobod already has held that the church did not have actual or constructive notice of any defect, that the defect was not discoverable through a visual inspection and that "the law does not impose a duty on a church to climb on every monument or statue to determine whether it would fall."


Read Justice Slobod's ruling.


"However, she let the case go forward on the allegation that the church was negligent in securing the cross to the base.


"Jimenez v. St. Patrick's, 2439/2011, involves David Jimenez, 44, a deliveryman for a bakery and pizzeria who often prayed fervently at the cross outside the church for his partner when she was stricken with cancer.


"Jimenez's lawyer, Kevin Kitson of White Plains, described Jimenez and Delia Solis as devout Catholics who immigrated to the United States from Mexico nearly 20 years ago. They have three children, ages 3, 13 and 17, Kitson said.


"After Solis recovered, a grateful Jimenez continued to pray at the statue several times a week. But Jimenez noticed that the statue, which had been subjected to the elements for at least two decades, was getting grimy, and he obtained permission from the parish priest to clean it on May 30, 2010.


"Jimenez was standing on the base and moving from one side to the other to clean Jesus' face while holding the cross-beam of the crucifix for support. Suddenly, the structure tumbled forward, knocking Jimenez to the ground, falling on him and crushing his left leg. The leg was amputated below the knee.


"Jimenez sued the church for more than $5 million. The church raised more than $7,000 for his family, but Kitson said that Solis has been unable to work since the accident."


More after the jump...

Fee Enhancement For Successful OPRA Complaint Against Bergen County Prosecutor's Office - Rivera v. BCPO

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"In an opinion that could serve as a primer for enhanced legal fees in OPRA cases, Bergen County's top judge has awarded $10,445 to a requester of records from the county prosecutor's office.

"The opinion clarified a host of issues, including what makes someone a prevailing party under the Open Public Records Act, when contingency fee enhancements are available and which attorney activities can be counted in calculating the lodestar.

"Assignment Judge Peter Doyne held in Rivera v. Office of the County Prosecutor, No. BER-L-4310-12, that a records requester can recover fees at his or her lawyer's regular hourly rate for time spent traveling to and from court, preparing the fee application, typing up documents and reviewing prior cases handled by the same lawyer."

From the Decision:

"Regarding the fourth factor, RPC § 1.5(a) instructs courts to evaluate the fee amount involved and the ultimate results obtained by the client.  First, Luers’ hourly rate multiplied by the time expended yields a reasonable lodestar of $8,057.50.  See supra, p. 11, for the discussion of the reasonableness of the fee charged by Luers for his services.  Second, plaintiff reports that 95% of the originally redacted names had been released in non-redacted form as a result of the court’s ruling.  In NJDPM, the court awarded plaintiff’s counsel 100% of the proposed attorney’s fee despite obtaining only 70% of the documents requested.  185 N.J. at 147.  Defendants argue that limited success calls for a limited reward.  Rivera sought disclosure of names to determine whether minorities were subject to greater uses of force than the remainder of the population.  The disclosed UFRs do not provide a race or alienage of the individual involved, only a name.  No scientific evidence exists regarding the connection between a last name and race.  As defendants’ counsel noted, there is nothing to say Whoopi Goldberg is Jewish or Senator Kevin O’Toole is Irish.  The defendants’ argument that the lodestar should be reduced to reflect a limited success is not persuasive.  Luers’ “95% success rate” thus justifies the award of a reasonable fee."

More after the jump...

UPDATE: Support 2013 Polar Bear Plunge To Benefit Special Olympics New Jersey - February 23, 2013 MOVED TO LONG BRANCH, NJ

UPDATE Support 2013 Polar Bear Plunge To Benefit Special Olympics New Jersey  February 23 2013 MOVED TO LONG BRANCH NJ
Contact: Katy Lido
Communications Manager
609.896.8000 ext. 271
kll@sonj.org
@SONewJersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 12, 2012
ANNUAL POLAR BEAR PLUNGE MOVING TO LONG BRANCH
Long Branch to Host Event as Seaside Heights Continues to Rebuild

LAWRENCEVILLE – The 20th  annual Polar Bear Plunge to benefit Special Olympics New Jersey, held in Seaside Heights for the last six years, has been moved to Long Branch. This event will take place on Saturday, February 23.

The decision to move the event was made in the weeks following Hurricane Sandy, as the magnitude of devastation to the area became apparent. “This iconic shore town has welcomed us for the past six years, but now they need to focus solely on restoration efforts,” said Marc Edenzon, president of Special Olympics New Jersey. “While Sandy wreaked havoc on the residents and businesses of Seaside Heights, we have no doubt that there is a resiliency among the leadership and greater Seaside Heights Community that will lead to an extraordinary recovery.”

“It is my hope that everybody that was planning on attending the Plunge will still come out to support the event,” said Seaside Heights Mayor William Akers. “Special Olympics New Jersey is a worthy cause and we are pleased that the organizers have found a suitable location to host the event.”

Thousands of people take the Plunge each year into the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean to raise money for the athletes of Special Olympics New Jersey. This past February, over 5,900 plungers raised over $1.4 million in this single-day event.

The Polar Bear Plunge will be held at 1 p.m. sharp, with registration opening at 9 a.m. All Plungers must raise a minimum of $100 to participate. Incentives are given for higher fundraising levels.

Radio station NJ 101.5’s Big Joe Henry, “the Voice of the Plunge” will broadcast live on Plunge Day with interviews, updates and a countdown to Plunge.
For more information, visit www.njpolarplunge.org or call 609.896.8000.

ABOUT SONJ: Special Olympics New Jersey provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in 24 Olympic-type sports for more than 22,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities, completely free of charge, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. Visit www.sonj.org for more information.

Aetna Agrees to Pay $120M to Settle Out of Network UCR Litigation

Per the New Jersey Law Journal & Litigation Daily:

"Settled cases may soon outnumber unresolved cases in the long litigation over health insurers' use of an industry database that set "usual, customary, and reasonable" (UCR) rates for medical procedures. On Dec. 7, Aetna Inc. agreed to a $120 million settlement of claims that its reliance on the database led to low reimbursements for procedures performed by out-of-network providers. The Aetna agreement joins previous UCR settlements by UnitedHealth Group Incorporated and Health Net Inc. UCR suits are still pending against Cigna Corporation and WellPoint Inc."

***

"
The UCR litigation started in 2000, when the American Medical Association and state medical assocations filed a class action suit against UnitedHealth, which ran the Ingenix database that set UCR rates for medical procedures for the entire health insurance industry. Insurers used the Ingenix rates to determine how much they would reimburse for procedures performed by providers not in their network. The AMA and its co-plaintiffs maintained that Ingenix set rates too low, resulting in lower reimbursements by insurers to out-of-network providers, which in turn meant that subscribers had to make higher payments to their providers. (The AMA has kept track of the Ingenix litigation at this online litigation center.)


"Andrew Cuomo, then the attorney general of New York, got involved in the Ingenix controversy in 2007 when his office filed suit against UnitedHealth and the insurers that used Ingenix. According to an investigation by the AG's office, Ingenix data understated the true market rates of medical care by up to 28 percent. The insurers reached a settlement with Cuomo in 2009 in which they agreed to stop using Ingenix and turn over the task of setting UCR rates to a new database, called FAIR Health, to be run by academic institutions instead of the industry.

"In addition to attacking Ingenix, the AMA and the other provider and patient plaintiffs also sued the insurers that relied on the database. Health Net was the first insurer to settle, in 2008, for $225 million. UnitedHealth settled next, in 2009, for $350 million. After legal fees and administrative costs, $250 million was distributed, primarily to providers, Hufford said."

More after the jump...

UPDATE: Support 2013 Polar Bear Plunge To Benefit Special Olympics New Jersey - February 23, 2013 in Seaside Heights, NJ

UPDATE Support 2013 Polar Bear Plunge To Benefit Special Olympics New Jersey  February 23 2013 in Seaside Heights NJ
UPDATE: https://gdm-law.com/index.php?page=news&display=104

Support the 2013 Polar Bear Plunge on Saturday, February 23, 2013 in Seaside Heights, NJ.  Funds raised through the Polar Bear Plunge help to advance the goal of Special Olympics New Jersey, to provide free year-round training and competition in 24 Olympic-type sports to more than 22,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

You can make an online donation of $25, $50, $100 or ANY amount by visiting the donation page listed below!

The Special Olympics, as well as the more than 22,000 children and adults sincerely thank you for your generosity.

PER SPECIAL OLYMPICS NEW JERSEY:

Special Olympics New Jersey is working to address the challenges presented by Hurricane Sandy and to finalize some modifications that will ensure another extraordinary Polar Bear Plunge - celebrating 20 years this February 23! Over the next few weeks we will complete the event logistics and provide information through this website. To All Plungers – Lock down the date, continue to recruit team members and everyone should keep on securing those pledges to ensure that 2013 will be the greatest Plunge in 20 years! Thank you for your patience and your commitment to supporting the athletes of Special Olympics New Jersey.

DECEMBER 19, 2012 - UPDATE HERE: https://gdm-law.com/?page=blog&display=160

Archives of Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, Jr. Now Online

Archives of Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell Jr Now Online

Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, Jr.
(credit to The National Law Journal)

Per The National Law Journal:

"Twenty years after they first became available to the public, the papers of the late Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell Jr. are still yielding interesting nuggets. And you don't necessarily have to travel to Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Va. to find them.

"The Powell archives at Washington and Lee, more than other repositories of justices' papers, is putting material online – including more than 200 complete case files from Powell's tenure on the court from 1972 to 1987."

...

"The latest: a typewritten list from 1987 of all of Powell's opinions – annotated by Powell himself, who put check marks next to his favorite, or most important, cases. Yes, the affirmative action landmark Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, was checked, as was First National Bank v. Bellotti, a key 1978 campaign finance decision. But not Booth v. Maryland, one of Powell's final rulings, on the admissibility of victim impact statements in capital cases."

...

"
But Powell may not have anticipated that the single most requested document from his files would be the so-called "Powell memorandum" – the 1971 memo he wrote to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, urging the business community to aggressively defend the free enterprise system in the courts and in the public from the "broad attack" then being made by liberals in academia and the media."

More after the jump...

First N.J. Alternative Treatment Center Dispensing Medicinal Marijuana

Per The Star Ledger:

"New Jersey's first medical marijuana dispensary opened this morning.

"Greenleaf Compassion Center at 395 Bloomfield Avenue, in the heart of Montclair's commercial district, admitted its first patient at 10 a.m. All initial visits to Greenleaf will be done by appointment only, board member and co-founder Joe Stevens said.

"About 20 registered patients from across the state were scheduled to meet with the dispensary staff to discuss their medical history and decide which of the dispensary's three strains of marijuana would work best. Patients will be limited to purchase a half-ounce of pot at their initial consultation, in order to insure the limited supply reaches all patients, Stevens said."

More after the jump...
First NJ Alternative Treatment Center Dispensing Medicinal Marijuana

Greenleaf Compassion Center, the state's first medical marijuana dispensary.
(Photo by Robert Sciarrino / the Star-Ledger)

Holiday Foreclosure Moratorium for BOA, Freddie & Fannie

Per CNN:

"Mortgage giants, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, announced Monday that they will suspend all bank repossessions beginning December 17 and December 19, respectively, and will not resume the evictions until January 2, 2013.

"The holidays are a chance to be with loved ones and we want to relieve some stress at this time of year," said Terry Edwards, Executive Vice President of Credit Portfolio Management, Fannie Mae.

"According to Freddie spokesman, Brad German, the suspension will not affect other pre- or post-foreclosure activities, such as the filing notices of default or the scheduling of auction sales. Fannie said in its press release that other legal and administrative proceedings will also continue."

...

"Bank of America said it will also put a halt to foreclosure evictions both for loans it owns and for those it services for investors during the holiday period. Other large mortgage lenders, including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Citibank have postponed foreclosures during the holidays in the past, but have yet to say whether they will do so again this year.

"The reprieve is separate from the previously announced moratoriums on foreclosure evictions for victims of Superstorm Sandy in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which will continue through February."

Per The Consumerist:

"For three years in a row, we’ve been able to take note of a particularly heartwarming act by two of the country’s largest mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Just as the two companies did in 2011 and 2010, they announced today that they’ll suspend all bank repossessions of homes starting Dec. 19 and Dec. 17, respectively, running through January 2, 2013. That simple act could help homeowners ensure they can stay home for the holidays."

More after the jump...

Chief Justice Roberts Chides Solicitor General Verrilli

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. scolded a Justice Department lawyer in open court Tuesday, accusing the solicitor general's office of being less than candid in a brief describing the government's change in position on an issue before the court.

"The rare episode seemed to be a deliberate effort by Roberts to send a message to the solicitor general's office that it may be giving too-short shrift to the tradition of continuity between administrations that the court is accustomed to seeing. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. was in the courtroom and saw the unusual exchange."

"During routine arguments in an ERISA health insurance case titled US Airways v. McCutchen, Roberts zeroed in on footnote 9 in the government's brief, which described a position taken in previous ERISA cases by Bush Administration Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and then stated that "upon further reflection … the Secretary is now of [a different] view."

"Roberts said angrily, "That is not the reason. It wasn't further reflection. We have a new secretary under a new administration, right?" He was referring to Obama administration labor secretary Hilda Solis."

More after the jump...

NJPURE v. Boynton & Boynton, 12-5610 - Malpractice Carrier Claims Broker Defamed It in Medical Community

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"Medical malpractice carrier NJPURE is accusing an insurance brokerage of making false statements to doctors about it to get or keep business for competing carriers.

"NJPURE — New Jersey Physicians United Reciprocal Exchange — has sued Boynton & Boynton and vice president Kevin Byrne, who allegedly sent disparaging e-mails about its policies, business practices and solvency.

"The suit is based on messages Byrne sent in August to Karen Kava, an employee of ObGyn Associates of North Jersey.

"The Hackensack doctors' group had coverage from Medical Protective, one of six carriers handled by Boynton, but signed up with NJPURE, and Byrne was trying to win back the business.

"His Aug. 21 e-mail to Kava included assertions that NJPURE might be facing a bad-faith claim as the result of a recent $5.59 million jury verdict and that it had been fined $10,000 for its own badmouthing of competitors.

"Those assertions were untrue, according to the complaint in NJPURE v. Boynton & Boynton, 12-5610, filed in federal court in Trenton on Sept. 7."

More after the jump...

Veterans' Day - Thank You

Veterans039 Day  Thank You

Photo Courtesy of (and with great thanks to) Carl Beams who indicates, "I found this metal plaque on the beach in Spring Lake today...Veteran's Day. It's obviously a victim of Hurricane Sandy, I think it came out of the back of one of the benches that used to line the boardwalk. Now, the benches are gone and so is the boardwalk. I'd like to return it to Mr. Camisa's family, so if anyone knows who he is, please email me."

To all our men and women currently in uniform, and to those who have served: the entire Firm offers you our most sincere thanks.

Given the picture at inset, the recent storm and the day, we offer the following from "Liberation Of Paris A Joyous Respite From War" authored by the Philadelphia Inquirer's Tom Infield on August 25, 1994.

***

"'It felt like the war was over.'

"That's how Richard W. Baker of Wildwood, N.J., remembers the joyous scene in Paris 50 years ago today as Allied troops - French and American - crossed the River Seine to drive out the Germans.

"The American Fourth Infantry Division, in which Baker was a private, came inching across the bridge, rifles and reflexes at the ready, looking up at windows, scanning rooftops for snipers - prepared to duck into doorways and start shooting."

***

"The American troops spent one more night in Paris, during which a few German planes bombed the city - a reminder, Baker thought, that the war really wasn't over.

"'Then we were right back in combat.'

"While the Fourth Division was in battle, somebody had to march with French units in the big parade around the Arc de Triomphe and down the Champs Elysees planned for Aug. 29.

"Lucky guys, those men of the 28th Infantry Division.

"Though they had nothing to do with liberating Paris, they got to enjoy the rewards.

"'Some said we didn't deserve it,' said Harold J. Camisa, who was a staff sergeant in the outfit. 'Maybe we didn't.'

"The soldiers of the 28th wore a dark-red keystone patch on their left arms, signaling the division's history as the Pennsylvania National Guard. But by 1944, they were a blend of men from all over the country. Camisa, then as now, was from Bloomfield, N.J."

***

"The 28th Division was a relative newcomer to the war. It had landed well after D-Day and hadn't been introduced to combat until July 31. Since then it had been "mopping up," as the Army called it - eliminating pockets of Germans still fighting west of Paris after the bulk of their forces had retreated east.

"Late on the evening of Aug. 28, the entire division of 15,000 men was put on canvas-covered trucks and driven all night in a downpour. The morning of parade day, they found themselves in the Bois de Boulogne, a park on the western edge of Paris.

"'They told us to shine our shoes and make sure everybody shaves,' Camisa said. 'I'm looking out through the trees, and over there I see all these tall buildings. I say, 'Hey, what the hell's going on here? Where are we at?' And a guy yells, 'Hey, Camie, we're in Paris.' That's the first time I knew.'"

Link to full article follows...

Hurricane Sandy - Various Aid & Information Links (Part 4)

Hurricane Sandy - Various Aid & Information Links (Part 3)

To those who have been affected by the storm and its aftermath, please accept our sincere condolences and best wishes. If there is anything we might be able to do in order to help you and yours get through these times, please do not hesitate to contact us. We hope the following information proves useful.

http://www.app.com/viewart/20121101/NJNEWS/311010085/Here-s-how-you-can-help

Per the Asbury Park Press:
Here's how you can help
Purchase Image Filed Under News
Nov 03app.com



Ways you can help

Are you looking for a way to help in the recovery efforts in Monmouth and Ocean counties? If you want to volunteer, or donate goods and/or services, check out the resources below.

Are you part of an organization in need of volunteers or donations to serve those affected by Hurricane Sandy, email specifics to newstips@app.com.

For urgent and immediate health and safety issues:

Call 911.

For non-immediate health matters or other assistance:

Call 211 or go online at www.nj211.org for help with non-emergency issues, including basic human needs, support for seniors or persons with disabilities, children, or mental health issues.

To file a claim with FEMA:

Call 800-621-FEMA (800-621-3362). Make sure you register with FEMA. A printable form is here:

http://www.ready.nj.gov/plan/pdf/091211_dr4021_application.PDF

To report a downed electrical line:

Contact your local energy provider (info below). Be prepared to give the nearest cross street or the number of a nearby pole that has not been damaged and is away from any downed wires; the pole number can be found on the metal tag attached to the pole.

PSE&G: 800-436-7734

Jersey Central Power &Light (JCP&L): 800-662-3115 Atlantic City Electric: 800-642-3780 Orange Rockland Electric: 1-877-434-4100

To report a gas leak:

Contact your local gas provider.

New Jersey Natural Gas: 800-427-5325

PSE&G: 800-436-7734

To file an insurance claim, if you can't find the company or agent's number:

Call the NJ Department of Banking and Insurance at 1-800-446-7467 or go to www.dobi.nj.gov.

To report complaints about insurance companies:

Call the NJ Department of Banking and Insurance at 1-800-446-7467 or go to https://www16.state.nj.us/DOBI_UIC/servlet/Servlet.idxServlet?div='INS'

A printable complaint form is here: http://www.state.nj.us/dobi/complain.pdf

To report complaints about electric or gas utilities:

Call the NJ Board of Public Utilities: (800)624-0241 or (609)341-9188.

To report possible consumer fraud or price gouging by contractors or others:

State law makes excessive price increases illegal during a state of emergency, and for 30 days following the end of the emergency. Call the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs at 862-209-0130 or 973-220-3474.

To provide volunteer assistance in the cleanup and restoration effort:

Call 1-800-JERSEY-7 (1-800-537-7397). Backup numbers: 609-775-5236 or 908-303-0471. Volunteers may also send an email to rowena.madden@sos.state.nj.us. This service is managed by the NJ Business Action Center and the Governor's Office of Volunteerism, both divisions within the NJ Department of State.

To request volunteer assistance:

Call 211 or go online at www.nj211.org.

Extension of motor vehicle document deadlines:

To ease the burden on customers who did not have a chance to visit a motor vehicle office in October, MVC Chairman and Chief Administrator Raymond P. Martinez has issued Administrative Order 2012-03 authorizing a 30-day extension for all driver's licenses, vehicle registrations and vehicle inspection stickers that expired on October 31.

The order is here: http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/pdf/About/Admin_Order_2012_03.pdf

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection - NJ DEPs Hurricane Sandy Page - precautionary wastewater measures, how municipalities can by I Want This" apply for emergency land use permits, when to boil their water, and much more.

Link

http://www.nj.gov/dep/special/hurricane-sandy/

East Freehold Fire Company collecting donations to help out

The East Freehold Fire Company, located at 191 Dutch Lane, Freehold, will be collecting donations for neighboring towns/brother Fire Departments that have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The company will begin collecting donations starting at 9 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, at its main base. The company will also be collecting general toiletry products, canned foods, snacks, T-shirts, socks, etc.

•Also, home-cooked meals and baked goods for our shore-town Emergency Services that have been working around the clock. They will be delivered by the East Freehold Fire Company in the early evening.|

Cleaning materials needed in Monmouth County

The Monmouth County hurricane-relief center is in need of cleaning materials: Detergents, disinfectants, wipes, rubber gloves, mops and brooms, sponges, rakes and shovels, goggles and trash bags. The Thompson Park center, on Route 520 in Middletown, is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Monmouth University volunteers

Kristine Turner of Monmouth University is looking to donate the services of six to 10 women athletes at the school to help an organization somehwhere in the area around West Long Branch. Please email her at kjeremia@monmouth.edu.

East Freehold collection point

The East Freehold Fire Company collect donations for neighboring towns and fire departments beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday at its main base at 191 Dutch Lane Road. Item accepted include toiletries, canned foods, snacks, T-shirts, socks, etc. Home-cooked meals are also accepted in the early evening for emergency workers. Cal Rick at (732) 740-5576 with any questions.

Donation site planned in Deal

Children in the Deal community have organized a drop-off location from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the old Boy Scouts building at the corner of Deal Road and Monmouth Road, opposite the police station. Bring bottled water, non-perishable food, new clothing, blankets, personal hygiene items, baby items, sheet and pillow, and batteries.

For more information, or if you would like to volunteer, please call Joe Betesh at (732) 284-6641.

Donation center in Deal needs supplies

A collection will be held at the Old Boy Scouts building at the corner of Deal Road and Monmouth Road in Deal on Sunday, Nov. 4 from noon to 4 p.m.

The following items are needed: bottled water, non-perishable food, clothing, blankets, personal hygiene items, baby supplies, sheets/pillows, batteries.

For more information or if you would like to volunteer please call Joe Betesh at (732) 284-6641.

Cleaning supplies needed

The Monmouth County Hurricane Relief Center is in need of cleaning materials: detergents, disinfectants, wipes, rubber gloves, mops and brooms, sponges, rakes and shovels, goggles and trashbags.

The Thompson Park center, on Route 520 in Middletown, is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Red Cross

To donate to the American Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, visit our Facebook page.

Firehouse in Marlboro accepting clothing donations

The Robertsville Volunteer Fire Company will be accepting clothing donations for families in need that were devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Anyone wishing to donate please bring donations to the fire company at 94 Route 520. Any questions call 732-536-3565.

Middletown seeks volunteers

Volunteers who are not already assigned elsewhere should report to the Town Hall Court Room, 1 Kings Highway, Middletown, at 2 p.m. today (Saturday) for deployment. Thank you for your willingness to help.

Belmar seeks supplies, cooks

Belmar Mayor Matthew Doherty Saturday announced that a Hurricane Relief Distribution Center is open at the Belmar Arts Council Building at the corner of Seventh Avenue and River Road. (608 River Road) The center is a place for the public to bring donations to assist those in Belmar affected by Hurricane Sandy. Belmar officials stressed the ongoing need for flashlights (with batteries); shelf-stable food such as canned tuna fish, peanut butter, and granola bars; baby food and toiletries.

Professional food service vendors who wish to volunteer on-site outdoor cooking operations and food service delivery should contact April Claudio at 732-681-3700.

Mayor Doherty also asked that anyone able to contribute to the financial relief effort toward Belmar’s recovery visit www.belmar.com.

Charity seeks volunteers

Operation Blessing International, one of the largest charities in America, is calling for volunteers in New Jersey who want to help residents in Bayville and Tuckerton areas who have lost or damaged homes.

Volunteers are needed to remove debris and drywall from homes and other cleanup efforts in the Mystic Island area. Volunteers should meet at 8 a.m. for orientation and safety briefing at the Old Police Station, 7 Gifford Road, Little Egg Harbor Township. Operation Blessing Intl. will provide tools. Volunteers must wear appropriate clothing such as work boots and long pants.

Homeowners can fill out work order requests starting Saturday morning at the Old Police Station (see above) or at the International Living Water Christian Center, 1103 Radio Road, Mystic Island/Tuckerton. For more info log on to www.ob.org

Animal Center needs supplies

The Jersey Shore Animal Center has no power and no generator as of Friday afternoon. It is cold and dark inside, the volunteers are great but the animals need help!!

They need sheets, towels, blankets anything to keep them warm. You won’t get through on the phone since they have power. They are at 185 Brick Blvd in Brick. 732-920-1600 www.jerseyshoreanimalcenter.org

Ocean County donation centers

According to the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management, shore residents looking to donate items to areas of Ocean County can go to the following locations after they call to find out what is needed:

•Little Egg Harbor Senior Center at 641 Radio Rd. Contact is Lt. Tom Williams at 609-276-3349.

•St. Mary’s of the Pines Church at 100 Bishop Ln. in the Manahawkin section of Stafford.

•Ocean County Hunger Relief Inc. at 917-5 Main St. in Toms River. Call 732-505-4357 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

•The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties at 3300 Route 66 in Neptune Township. Call 732-918-2600 from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

•Lacey United Methodist Church at 203 Lacey Rd. in the Forked River section of Lacey. Call Linda Applegate at 609-661-1819.

•Jackson Crossings at 21 S. Hope Chapel Rd. in Jackson. Call Vito Cardinale at 917-739-1300.

•Calvary Lighthouse Church at 1133 County Line Rd. in Lakewood from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Stafford shelter not accepting donations

Stafford: The Southern Regional High School Shelter is no longer accepting donations or drop-offs of supplies, including food and clothing, police said.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/staffordtwp.pba or follow Stafford police on Twitter @staffordpolice.

“Our neighbors are going to be needing help for a long time,” police said in a statement. “We are humbled and proud of the strength of our communities that has been displayed. We ask you to slow down with your eagerness to help right away. We have a long road ahead and many will need your generosity for a long time to come.”

Point Pleasant Beach clothing drive

Joanna Douglas, a teacher from Pt Pleasant Beach Elementary, is organizing a food, clothing, and shoe drive this Sunday, Nov. 4, 12-2 p.m. at the Point Beach High School gymnasium. Contact Joanna Douglas at joannarwilcox@gmail.com for additional information or to volunteer.

Red Cross relief fund

To donate to the American Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, visit our Facebook page.

Monmouth County donation drop-off site

Monmouth County has established a donation site for desperately needed items to assist the victims affected by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. The site has been set up at Thompson Park, 805 Newman Springs Road (Route 520) in Lincroft.

The donation center is located at the service entrance of the park. It is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to receive donated items. Thompson Park is a donation site only - no distribution will be made there.

Items needed include:

»Bottled Water
» Non perishable food
» Pet food
» New clothing (especially socks and underwear)
» Blankets
» Personal hygiene items including baby items


Stafford seeks supplies

Stafford first responders are seeking donations of supplies listed below. The donations can be dropped off at the Stafford Municipal Building located at 260 Bay Avenue Manahawkin, NJ 08050 in the Council Meeting Room.

Supplies needed:

Women’s and men’s underwear, socks

Baby wipes

Deodorant (men’s &women’s)

Sweatshirts

Sweatpants

T-shirts

Gloves, hats, scarves, work gloves

United Way recovery fund

United Way Thursday announced the creation of the United Way Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund (#sandyfund). Contributions to the fund will be used by local United Ways along the Eastern Seaboard, to address the near-term and long-term recovery needs of communities most affected by the hurricane.

Contributions to the Fund will be used by local United Ways in 12 states, including New Jersey. In the areas where the Fund is operating, Hurricane Sandy has affected nearly 8 million people.

Donations to the United Way Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund can be made online at uwsandyrecovery.org. A $10 donation can be made by texting the word RECOVERY to 52000. Promote the United Way Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund on Twitter using #sandyfund.

Tips box for interested volunteers:

Do not self-deploy or begin a collection without registering or consulting with a reputable disaster relief agency.

Visit www.nj211.org/hurricane.cfm#volunteer or call “2-1-1” 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week for volunteer opportunities.

Stay local, and help immediate neighbors in need. For local volunteer opportunities, visit United Way Volunteer Link at www.unitedwaynnj.org/Volunteering

Move for Hunger

RED BANK: Sounds to Go DJs, in cooperation with Move For Hunger, is collecting food, clothing, and toiletries for locals in need. Donations can be dropped off at 21 East Front Street. Needed items are:

- Shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes

- Sanitizer, deodorant, lotion, feminine hygiene products

- Diapers, towels, clothing, blankets, pillows

- Games, toys, etc.

Source: Red Bank RiverCenter business alliance

Hurricane Sandy - Various Aid & Information Links (Part 2)

To those who have been affected by the storm and its aftermath, please accept our sincere condolences and best wishes. If there is anything we might be able to do in order to help you and yours get through these times, please do not hesitate to contact us. We hope the following information proves useful.

http://www.lbieoc.org/
Long Beach Island Joint Emergency Operations Center for Hurricane Sandy

Limited Re-entry Instructions

November 4, 2012, 3:20 p.m.

Long Beach Island will be open to residents only, on Monday, November 5, 2012 from 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Entry will take place from 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon. No one will be permitted to enter after 12:00 noon.

Due to unsafe conditions, there will be no access for residences of Holgate and North Beach.

Residents must show their re-entry placard, driver’s license showing an LBI address or proof of residence (i.e., tax bill, deed, etc.).

Re-entry Instructions

(Revised 11/4/12 4:33 p.m.)

New Jersey Natural Gas

Hurricane Sandy Response Update

November 3, 2012, 3 p.m.

(WALL) -- In the 72 hours since New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) shut off natural gas service to the hurricane-damaged areas of Long Beach Island, and Bay Head to Seaside Park, NJNG has begun its on-the-ground assessment of the damage to the system and restoration requirements.

NJNG also has made an initial, official request to FEMA for up to 5,100 electric space heaters.  Until this request is approved, the Red Cross advises that nearby heated shelters with hot meals and cots are available at Pinelands Regional High School in Tuckerton, Southern Regional High School in Manahawkin, and Pine Belt Arena in Toms River.

Damage Assessment

The current damage assessment is the first step in a sequential process to restore service.  Each section of the pipeline must be rigorously evaluated to check for all damage, including breaks and water intrusion.   Once this assessment is completed, a determination can be made as to whether some sections of the pipeline can be salvaged.  Damaged sections will need to be rebuilt.

Restoration Plan

Developing a restoration plan is the next step in the process, and it can only be reliably undertaken once the full extent of the condition of the system is known.

As soon as the plan is finalized, NJNG will share with customers how the restoration process will unfold.  Work will be undertaken in stages, starting closest to the point of supply and then working outward.  Some areas will be completed before others.  It is important to note that even at that point, a precise schedule will be impossible to provide, because the speed of the work will depend on the conditions encountered block by block, and house by house.

Individual Service

All customers who have had service interrupted—both within and outside the shut-off areas-- should be advised that when their area does have natural gas service, the following conditions must be met before service can be restored: first, their home must be habitable and they must have returned to it; second, their home must have electricity; and third, any furnaces, boilers or appliances exposed to flooding damage must be serviced and determined, by qualified technicians, to be safe for use.

Communication

NJNG is committed to keeping our affected customers informed at every step of this process.  We will be mailing an update to affected customers by November 9.  Customers can also obtain up-to-date information on our web site, njng.com, on Facebook, and through the media.

We know how frustrating this process is.  It is a long, exacting process that must be done safely and correctly at every step of the way.  It is why we worked so hard to try and save service to all our customers before making the decision to shut down the system.  We will not rest until service is restored to all of our customers.

For reference, listed below are some of the frequently asked questions we are receiving from all our customers—both within and outside of our shut-off areas.

My natural gas service was interrupted during the storm, how do I get service restored?
If your meter has been turned off by an NJNG technician or your service was interrupted during the storm, and you are now ready for service to be restored, please call us at 800-221-0051. A service technician will be dispatched to your home or business to reconnect service. Do not try to turn it back on. Only a licensed service technician may perform this task.
• In order to restore natural gas service, our technicians require safe and clear access to your home, as well as electricity. Please be sure that your equipment is clear of any standing water. This will help to ensure the safety of you and our employees.
• If your natural gas meter was under water, see the response to the following question.


What should I do if my natural gas meter was under water?
Please contact NJNG at 800-221-0051 to schedule an appointment so that we can change the regulator and the meter at no cost to you.

What should I do if my natural gas appliances were under water?
If your home or business was flooded and the natural gas appliances were under water, do not attempt to operate the appliances. Please contact a qualified plumber or appliance service contractor, for a safety inspection to ensure that appliances and controls were not damaged.

Hurricane Sandy - Various Aid & Information Links

To those who have been affected by the storm and its aftermath, please accept our sincere condolences and best wishes. If there is anything we might be able to do in order to help you and yours get through these times, please do not hesitate to contact us. We hope the following information proves useful.

http://www.fema.gov/sandy

For Disaster Survivors

State and Local Websites

For Those Who Want to Help


FOR YOUR PETS:

http://www.northcountrygazette.org/2012/11/04/rescue_hotlines/
The Humane Society of the United States, the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have teamed up to launch a 24-hour hotline for New Jersey evacuees who were unable to bring their pets with them before Hurricane Sandy hit.

Hurricane Sandy Pet Rescue Hotlines

New York City hotline: 347-573-1561

New Jersey hotline: 1-855-407-HSUS

Evacuees with pets still at home or with emergency animal needs are urged to call the New Jersey Hurricane Sandy Pet Rescue hotline at 1-855-407-HSUS for assistance.

The New Jersey Hurricane Sandy Pet Rescue hotline is for animal emergencies only. People seeking immediate assistance for people in need should dial 911.

~~~

Find local resources

Get the latest information on pet-friendly emergency shelters and other local resources with The HSUS’s Twitter feed (visit link or the feed at the bottom of this page) andFacebook page. (Personal Twitter or Facebook accounts not necessary.)  11-4-12

Rent Receiver Potentially Liable For Tenant's Injuries In Foreclosed Building - Rojas v. Rubenstein

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"A lawyer serving as a court-appointed rent receiver for a foreclosed building can be sued in his official capacity by a tenant injured on the premises, an appeals court ruled on Thursday.

"The Appellate Division, in Rojas v. Rubenstein, A-5755-10, reinstated a tenant's claim against Glenn Peterson, a Clifton attorney who spent 13 months as the receiver for the apartment building at 201-210 Parker Ave. in Passaic.

"The court, however, affirmed dismissal of the claim against Washington Mutual Bank (WaMu), the mortgage lender that had foreclosed on the building before the injury occurred."

From the Appellate Division's decision:

"We are satisfied the court's ruling is correct and is amply supported by our decision in J.L.B.  Peterson was appointed by the court as a rent receiver, with professional responsibilities.  Any negligence by Peterson in failing to inspect or repair the railing was a result of his official duty as a rent receiver; he had no  personal responsibility with respect to the property."

More after the jump...

New Jersey Considering Bill To Permit Assisted Suicide for Terminally Ill - A-3328; S-2259

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"New Jersey legislators are pushing for adoption of a law that would make New Jersey the third state, after Oregon and Washington, to allow assisted suicide.

"Legislation pending in the Assembly and Senate would let a terminally patient with less than six months to live receive and self-administer life-ending medication if he or she expressed a wish to die.

"The prime sponsor, Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, says the bill was written to put the patient in control of the decision to end his or her life, and minimize the potential for pressure from others, such as heirs and health-care providers.

"It would amend New Jersey’s criminal code, which since 1978 has made helping another person commit suicide is a second-degree crime if death results, and a fourth-degree crime if it does not. Action taken in accordance with the proposed law would be exempt from prosecution under N.J.S.A. 2C-11-6.

"Although the bill in its current form calls for a referendum on assisted suicide, Burzichelli says he intends to strike that requirement, since the legislation concerns a civil-rights issue and as such does not lend itself to a public vote."

~~~

"The bill requires a patient seeking a lethal prescription to request it orally to his or her attending physician and reiterate the oral request at least 15 days later. The patient must then make the request in writing, and at least 48 hours must elapse between the signing of the written request and the writing of the prescription."

~~~

"Any provision in a contract, will, insurance policy, annuity or other agreement is invalid if it conditions or restricts a person’s decision to make a request for assisted suicide, under the legislation. The bill also may not be construed to permit a physician or other person to end a patient’s life by euthanasia, lethal injection or mercy killing, or lower the standard of care to be provided by a health-care professional."

~~~

"The Assembly measure, A-3328, introduced on Sept. 27, was referred to the Health and Senior Services Committee. The Senate version, S-2259, is sponsored by Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, and Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex."

Full article after the jump...

NJ Alternative Treatment Centers Limited To Non-Profit Entities - Natural Medical Inc. v. Department of Health, A-3406-10

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"A New Jersey appeals court on Thursday upheld the state's medical marijuana law, along with the Department of Health's determination that only nonprofit entities may qualify as cultivators and dispensaries.

"The Appellate Division turned away a challenge by Natural Medical Inc., a for-profit company that argued the department's restrictions on "alternate treatment centers" (ATCs) were onerous and beyond statutory authority.

"The statutory provision at issue here, considered in full, does not allow for automatic licensure. Nor does it express an explicit legislative commitment to an unlimited number of ATCs," the judges said in Natural Medical Inc. v. Department of Health, A-3406-10."

From the decision:

"At issue is whether the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (Act), N.J.S.A. 24:6I-1 to -16, grantsappellants, a for-profit corporation and its principal, an unqualified right to apply for permits to operate alternatetreatment centers (ATCs) to cultivate and distribute marijuana and to have their applications processed and evaluated irrespective of need. Subsumed within this issue is the question of whether in limiting the initial permitting to the statutorily-mandated minimum of six ATCs, the Department of Health (Department) acted arbitrarily, unreasonably, or in contravention of the Act. For reasons that follow, we answer
both questions in the negative."

Law Journal article and Full Decision after the jump...

Student Loan Found as "Special Circumstance" in Chapter 7 Discharge - In re Howell, 11-12685 B

Per The New York Law Journal:

"A Western District bankruptcy judge has found that a debtor's non-dischargeable student loan obligation is a "special circumstance" that can overcome the statutory presumption of abuse when a higher-income debtor attempts to eliminate financial obligations under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

"Chief Judge Carl Bucki's recent decision in In re Jeffrey Howell and Rebecca Howell, 11-12685, is the latest in a plethora of rulings on an issue that has divided courts all over the country. Bankruptcy judges in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Delaware, Oklahoma and Georgia have reached the same conclusion as Bucki; judges in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arizona, Kansas and New Hampshire have come to the opposite conclusion."

More after the jump, including the full decision...

New Jersey Supreme Court To Review State v. O'Driscoll, A-7-12

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"New Jersey's Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to review a case that could broadly impact drunken driving defendants charged with refusing a breath test.

"The justices granted certification in State v. O'Driscoll, A-7-12, in which a refusal conviction was overturned because the police provided outdated information that understated the penalty for not providing a breath sample."

More after the jump...


The New Jersey Law Journal Releases The 2012 New Jersey Superior Court Survey

The New Jersey Law Journal Releases The 2012 New Jersey Superior Court Survey
Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"We present in these pages the results of the Law Journal's sixth cyclical survey of New Jersey lawyers about the quality of judging on the state's trial bench. It is designed to assess the comparative strengths and weaknesses of judges, their demeanor and their potential biases, all of which are highly relevant to customers of the courts.

"As in the past, the survey is a private enterprise, conducted without the cooperation or endorsement of the judiciary.

"The survey is meant to provide a forum that pools the practicing bar's collective knowledge about judges' performance. Lawyers share that lore informally all the time, but not in any quantifiable way that can be readily referenced and distributed. This survey supplies that medium.

"Most of the survey is good news. Statewide, lawyers gave 350 judges an average overall score of 8.04 on a 1-to-10 scale, which is a solid "B." The deviations from that average were for the most part gradual.

"Ratings necessarily produce comparisons, which unavoidably produce bests and worsts in the rankings of judges. But that is not the point of the survey. Rather, we intend it as useful feedback for judges from the lawyers who appear before them, and as useful information for a lawyerfacing a judge for the first time.

"We hope the survey will be read and used in that spirit."

Ronald J. Fleury
Editor in Chief

Taxpayer's Guilty Plea Precludes Civil Defense - Anderson v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 11-1704

In a precedential ruling, the Third Circuit has held in Anderson v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 11-1704 that "under the doctrine of collateral estoppel, [the Defendant's] previous guilty plea for criminal tax evasion conclusively establishe[s] the taxability to him of specific income that his criminal indictment charged him with failing to report."

Per the New Jersey Law Journal:

"Walter Anderson was charged in 2005 with failing to pay more than $200 million in taxes on nearly $500 million in unreported income from offshore businesses for the 1995 to 1999 tax years.

"Nearly all the income was from Gold & Appel Transport, a British Virgin Islands entity Anderson formed in 1992 to which he transferred his interests in three companies: Mid-Atlantic Telecom, Esprit Telecom and Telco Communications Group. The government alleged that he hid his ownership of Gold & Appel and another company also set up to evade taxes.

"Facing up to 80 years in prison, Anderson pleaded guilty on Sept. 8, 2006, to failing to report a combined $365 million in income for 1998 and 1999, the years with the highest amounts. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

"Charges for the other three years were dismissed, but the Internal Revenue Service then went after him for unpaid taxes for all five years. In July 2007, it issued a notice of a $184 million tax deficiency as well as a fraud penalty of $138 million."

Links to full decision and NJLJ article after the jump...

Financial Abuse Of Elderly On The Rise

Two similar, but worthwhile articles from USA Today:

"Financial abuse of the elderly is getting worse, and most seniors don't know how to seek reliable financial help.

"There is no silver bullet that will end the financial abuse of America's seniors," says Don Blandin, president and CEO of the non-profit Investor Protection Trust (IPT), which released a survey Wednesday about elder exploitation. IPT conducted the survey after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau requested more information about the problem. The experts IPT surveyed said the most common type of abuse is when family members steal or divert funds or property. The next biggest problems are caregiver theft and financial scams perpetrated by strangers."

More after the jump...

State v. Vankerkooy - New Jersey Appellate Division Holds Radar Device Reliable (Stalker Dual SL)

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"A state appeals court has upheld the scientific reliability of the Stalker Dual SL, a widely used radar device for detecting speeders.

"The court, in State v. Vankerkooy, A-1423-10, held Wednesday that a prosecution expert, flown in from Texas to testify at the municipal court hearing on reliability, provided sufficient ground to rely on the radar readings.

"The per curiam, unpublished opinion appears to be the first by an appeals court concerning the device."

***

"In 2010, an appeals court held that speed readings from another Stalker device, the Lidar, which uses laser technology, could not be used until the machine's accuracy was established through independent testing. That case, State v. Green, 417 N.J. Super. 190 (App. Div. 2010), was precedential."

Full article and link to per curiam decision follow...

Freeman v. Fischer - Plaintiffs' Counsel Awarded $800,000 in vintner shipping case

Underlying case discussed here:

https://gdm-law.com/index.php?page=blog&from=36&display=46

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

In Freeman v. Fischer, Plaintiffs challenged a New Jersey law prohibiting out of state wineries from shipping to New Jersey residents, while permitting local wineries to do so. Eventually, the U.S. District Court "stayed the proceedings while the Legislature moved a bill that ultimately was enacted last January. The law now permits direct-shipping licensure of wineries that produce less than 250,000 gallons a year, ship only their own products, ship no more than 12 cases a year per person for personal use and comply with tax-collection requirements.

"In light of the legislation, the parties entered into a joint consent order Hayden signed last April 24, which resolved all issues except for fees. The plaintiff lawyers sought $822,089 in total fees and costs."

More after the jump...





Online TV Streamer Shut Down - WPIX v. ivi, 11-788-cv

Per The New York Law Journal:

"The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit yesterday barred a company that streams live TV shows over the Internet from continuing to transmit the programming, finding that to hold otherwise would 'destabilize [an] entire industry' and inflict irreparable damage on the networks.

"In a unanimous decision, the court upheld Southern District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald (See Profile) and sustained a preliminary injunction barring ivi Inc. of Seattle from transmitting copyrighted material belonging to media powerhouses such as ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox Television and Major League Baseball."

Entire NYLJ article and full decision of WPIX v. ivi after the jump...

New Jersey Legislature to Overturn Recent Supreme Court Decision In Murray v. Plainfield Rescue Squad

As discussed here: https://gdm-law.com/index.php?page=blog&display=92 a unanimous New Jersey Supreme Court held in Murray v. Plainfield Rescue Squad, A-28-10 that a rescue squad (as an entity) is not entitled to immunity under New Jersey law. Instead, the Court ruled that N.J.S.A. 26:2K-29 immunizes only "officers or members" of rescue squads — along with doctors, nurses, some emergency technicians, and hospitals and their trustee boards and staffs — from liability in providing "intermediate life support services" in good faith.

Per the New Jersey Law Journal:

The bill, S-2165, sponsered by Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman, R-Somerset and co-sponsor, Sen. Anthony Bucco, R-Morris would add "first aid, ambulance or rescue squads" to list of entities and individuals that have statutory insulation from civil liability in emergency care situations.

More after the jump...

Poker Found To Be Game of Skill - United States v. Dicristina, 11-CR-414

In reversing the Defendant's conviction of violating the federal Illegal Gambling Business Act, New York's Eastern District Judge Jack Weinstein wrote, "Bluffing, raising and folding require honed skills to maximize the value of the cards dealt by Lady Luck[.]"

The link to the complete 120-page decision can be found below...

Court Emancipates Adult Child Over Parental Objection - Ort v. Ort

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"An 18-year-old who wants to put herself through college is entitled to court-ordered emancipation over a parent's objections, an Ocean County judge has ruled.

"Superior Court Judge Lawrence Jones rejected her noncustodial father's resistance, which the judge summed up as 'an implicit suggestion' that she 'is simply too young at eighteen for entrustment with governing her own life.'"

From Ort v. Ort (approved for publication):

"Once a child of divorced parents turns eighteen years old, it is very common for the non-custodial parent to immediately attempt to emancipate the child and terminate child support. This case, however, presents a completely opposite issue: What happens when a child who turns eighteen seeks her own emancipation over parental objection, i.e., when a parent asserts that emancipation is premature or otherwise inappropriate because the child is allegedly still within the sphere of parental influence?"

More after the jump...

Violation of "Seat Belt" Law May Serve As Predicate Offense - State v. Lenihan, A-4667-10

GUADAGNO, P.J.F.P. (temporarily assigned) writing for the Appellate Division:

"In this case we are asked to determine whether a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-76.2f, the 'seat belt law,' can serve as a predicate offense to support a conviction under N.J.S.A. 2C:40-18(b), which proscribes knowingly violating a law or failing to perform a duty imposed by law intended to protect the public health and safety and recklessly causing serious bodily injury.  Defendant appeals her plea-bargained conviction under N.J.S.A. 2C:40-18(b), arguing the law is unconstitutionally vague and the seat belt law is not a law intended to protect the public health and safety as contemplated by this statute. We reject both arguments and affirm."

More after the jump...

Filial Responsibility Laws Gaining Traction - Health Care & Retirement Corp. of America v. Pittas

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"In the Pennsylvania case, Health Care & Retirement Corp. of America v. Pittas, 2012 Pa. Super. 96 (May 7, 2012), a judgment in the amount of $92,943.41 was entered against John Pittas, for care rendered in a nursing home to Pittas' mother, under that state's filial responsibility law.  In September 2007, after completing rehabilitation for injuries sustained in an automobile accident, Pittas' mother was transferred to a nursing home owned by Health Care & Retirement Corporation of America (HCR), for long-term skilled nursing care and treatment.  She resided there and received treatment until March of 2008, when she relocated to Greece, leaving a large unpaid balance due to the nursing home.  Two months later, HCR commenced a lawsuit against her son."

New Jersey has a similar statute at N.J.S.A. 44:4-1 et seq. which gives standing to sue an "indigent" person's adult children to "two residents of the municipality or county" where the "indigent" person resides.  See N.J.S.A. 44:4-141.

Links to the Pennsylvania appellate decision and the thoughtful synopsis of William P. Isele, Esq. below.  (Registration required for the NJLJ article.)

State v. Herrerra and Gonzalez, A-121-10 - New Jersey Supreme Court Holds Exclusionary Rule Does Not Apply Where Suspects Attack Officer

In reversing the Appellate Division, with Chief Justice Rabner writing for a unanimous Court, per the Clerk's syllabus:

"The issues in this appeal are whether the exclusionary rule applies to a prosecution for a violent attack against a police officer after a possibly unlawful motor vehicle stop, and whether defendants would be entitled to racial profiling discovery to challenge Trooper Acevedo’s credibility at a new trial for attempted murder."

***

"HELD: The exclusionary rule does not apply to a prosecution for attempted murder and related offenses after a possibly unlawful stop. An attenuation analysis is unnecessary. Defendants are not entitled to racial profiling discovery in seeking to suppress the drug evidence or to challenge the Trooper’s credibility at a new trial."

More after the jump...it probably didn't help the defendants' cause that they attacked the officer, tried to take his gun, got shot fleeing the scene and had nearly a pound of cocaine in their vehicle.

New Jersey Supreme Court Upholds License Plate Decals for Drivers Under 21 - Trautmann v. Christie, A-16-11

From the unanimous New Jersey Supreme Court syllabus:

"In this appeal, the Court determines the validity of Chapter 37 of the Laws of 2009, “Kyleigh’s Law.”

"New Jersey’s graduated driver’s license system (GDLS) requires a new driver to first obtain a permit and then a probationary license, before applying for a basic license. In general, holders of GDLS authorizations cannot drive between certain hours of the day, cannot drive with more than a certain number of non-parents and nondependents in the vehicle, and cannot use wireless devices. GDLS supports safety on the roadways by phasing-in new drivers’ exposure to driving tasks and environments under supervised conditions. Chapter 37 facilitates enforcement of GDLS restrictions by requiring individuals who are driving pursuant to permits or probationary licenses to display “removable, transferable, highly visible, reflective decals” on their vehicles. As applied by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, only drivers under the age of twenty-one must obtain and display the decals.

"Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief on the grounds that Chapter 37 is preempted by the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, 18 U.S.C.A. §§ 2721-2725; violates equal protection; and constitutes an unreasonable search and seizure. The trial court dismissed plaintiffs’ complaint and the Appellate Division affirmed. The panel found that the decal requirement is not preempted by the federal statute because disclosure of a person’s age group is not “personal information” under the Act; that the decal requirement does not violate equal protection because it is a rational and suitable means of furthering a legitimate and appropriate government interest; and that the decal requirement does not give rise to an unreasonable search and seizure because a driver has no
reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her age group and an officer’s examination of the decal is not a “search.” The Court granted certification. 208 N.J. 369 (2011).

HELD: The judgment is affirmed substantially for the reasons expressed in the opinion of the Appellate Division. Chapter 37 is not preempted by federal law, does not violate equal protection, and does not give rise to an unconstitutional search and seizure.

Full decision after the jump...

New Jersey Supreme Court Holds No Bystander Emotional Distress Claims For Pet Owners - McDougall v. Lamm, A-99-10

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"New Jersey's highest court has refused to recognize an emotional-distress cause of action for witnessing the grisly death of a pet, no matter how dear to the owner.

"'Although we recognize that many people form close bonds with their pets, we conclude that those bonds do not rise to the level of close familial relationship or intimate, marital-type bond,' the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday in McDougall v. Lamm, A-99-10.

"The unanimous court refused to expand to pets the doctrine of Portee v. Jaffee, 84 N.J. 88 (1980), which allows a suit for emotional distress by one who witnesses the death of a family member."

***

Directly from the syllabus of  McDougall v. Lamm, A-99-10:

"HELD: There is no basis in law or public policy to expand the traditionally and intentionally narrow grounds established in Portee v. Jaffee, 84 N.J. 88 (1980), which permits compensation for the traumatic loss of carefully defined classes of individuals, to include emotional distress claims arising from observing a pet’s death. Although humans may share an emotional and enduring bond with pets, permitting that bond to support a recovery for emotional distress would require the Court to vastly expand the classes of human relationships that would qualify for Portee damages or to elevate relationships with animals above those shared with other human beings."

More after the jump...

Online Poker Sites Reach Plea Deal To Repay Clients

From The Associated Press, through The New York Times:

"Settlement deals reached between federal prosecutors and three Internet poker companies call for more than a half billion dollars to be paid to the government, enabling U.S. poker players to recover more than $160 million lost when the companies shut down U.S. operations last year, authorities said Tuesday.

"U.S. District Judge Leonard B. Sand approved settlement agreements with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. A separate agreement between the government and a third company, Absolute Poker, had not yet been approved by the court."

More after the jump...

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor: Recent USSC Criticism, "demonstrate[s] only too well the lack of understanding some of our citizens have about the role of the judicial branch."

As reported by The New Jersey Law Journal:

"Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor called the heated criticism of the Court over the recent decisions involving the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 'unfortunate,' telling a Senate committee today that it shows a need for more civics education.

"O'Connor testified that comments labeling Chief Justice John Roberts a 'traitor' or that he betrayed former president George W. Bush 'demonstrate only too well the lack of understanding some of our citizens have about the role of the judicial branch.'"

***

"And this isn't the first time O'Connor has talked about what she calls the need for iCivics. In early 2011, she said during an appearance at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University in Phoenix that, 'People simply don't know today how their government works. They don't know the difference between federal and state courts. We live in a very uneducated age.'"


Complete NJLJ Article after the jump...

New Jersey Reinstates Red Light Camera Program

New Jersey Reinstates Red Light Camera Program
Per the New Jersey Star Ledger:

"Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday night said all of New Jersey’s red-light cameras have been certified, so towns may soon be able to resume issuing tickets for the devices that have quickly multiplied across the state.

***

"The DOT 'will be giving guidance to the municipalities shortly on how to proceed,' Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said Tuesday night.
The length of an amber light generally is set at one second for every 10 mph of the posted speed limit — 5 seconds in an intersection with a speed limit of 50 mph.  But New Jersey’s red-light camera pilot program required a stricter standard."

More after the jump...

PIP Carrier May Not Obtain Provider's Records Unrelated To Medical History, Condition, Treatment, Dates & Costs of Treatment - Selective Ins. Co. of America v. Hudson East Pain Management, A-105-10

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"A unanimous New Jersey Supreme Court on Wednesday turned back a health insurance carrier's quest for information about medical providers' ownership structures and business practices, finding no basis in statute or contract.

"'We may not, under the guise of statutory construction, expand its scope in the boundless fashion plaintiff seeks merely because plaintiff has formed the belief that the defendants may not have complied with the requirements of other statutes or regulations,' the court said in Selective Ins. Co. of America v. Hudson East Pain Management, A-105-10."

From the syllabus, with Judge Wefing writing for the Court:

"This appeal presents a discrete, narrow legal question:  is a health care provider who has received an assignment of personal injury protection (PIP) benefits from an insured obligated upon request to furnish to the insurer broad information with respect to the provider’s ownership structure, billing practices, and regulatory compliance?

***

"HELD:  An insured had no duty to provide information to plaintiff with respect to the ownership structure, billing practices, or referral methods of the medical providers from whom he or she sought treatment for his or her injuries.  Because an insured had no obligation to supply that information to plaintiff, the assignment of benefits executed by an insured could not serve to impose that duty on the providers."

More after the jump...

N.J. Supreme Court Holds Rescue Squad Entities Subject To Civil Liability - Murray v. Plainfield Rescue Squad, A-28-10

A 5-0 Court (with Presiding Appellate Division Judge Wefing, temporarily assigned and not participating, presmably because she wrote the Appellate Division decision which was reversed) finds that, "Although N.J.S.A. 26:2K-29 provides immunity to 'officers and members' of a rescue squad for civil damages in rendering 'intermediate life support services in good faith,' the plain language of the statute does not provide immunity to a rescue squad as an entity."  Murray v. Plainfield Rescue Squad, A-28-10, --- N.J. --- (2012).

In so holding, the unanimous Court's (with Justice Albin authoring the decision) syllabus appears as:

"1. The objective of all statutory interpretation is to discern and effectuate the Legislature’s intent. The Court begins by looking at the statute’s plain language. The statutory words are viewed in context with related provisions so as to give sense to the legislation as a whole. If the Legislature’s intent is clear on the face of the statute, then the Court must apply the law as written.


"2. N.J.S.A. 26:2K-29 provides: “No EMT-intermediate, licensed physician, hospital or its board of trustees, officers and members of the medical staff, nurses or other employees of the hospital, or officers and members of a first aid, ambulance or rescue squad shall be liable for any civil damages as the result of” acts or omissions committed while providing “intermediate life support services in good faith.” This statute distinguishes between entity liability and individual liability. It shields a “hospital” -- an entity -- and individuals, including hospital employees, EMTintermediates, and “officers and members” of a rescue squad. The plain language of N.J.S.A. 26:2K-29 does not provide immunity to a rescue squad as an entity.

"3. The Legislature knows how to write an immunity statute covering both an entity and its individual members. For example, N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.7(b) immunizes an “emergency services or medical transport person or their respective employers” for certain conduct, and N.J.S.A. 52:17C-10(d) grants immunity to a “telephone company . . . or any employee, director, officer, or agent of any such entity” for provision of 9-1-1 services. In the case of volunteer squads, the Legislature specifically conferred immunity on the entity and the individuals:  N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-13.1 provides immunity to a “volunteer first aid, rescue or emergency squad . . . which provides services for the control and extinguishment of fires or emergency public first aid and rescue services,” while a companion statute immunizes the individual workers. Viewing N.J.S.A. 26:2K-29 within the context of surrounding statutes also shows that the Legislature knows how to draft a law immunizing a rescue squad as an entity. N.J.S.A. 26:2K-14, enacted approximately one year before N.J.S.A. 26:2K-29, states that “no . . . first aid, ambulance or rescue squad, or officers and members of a rescue squad, shall be liable” for civil damages resulting from acts or omissions committed while providing “advanced life support services in good faith.” The Legislature evidently intended to shield rescue squads rendering advanced life support services, but not rescue squads rendering intermediate life support services. The legislative history of N.J.S.A. 26:2K-29 drives home this point. Initial versions of N.J.S.A. 26:2K-29 contained language similar to N.J.S.A. 26:2K-14, to immunize both rescue squads and their members, but the Legislature rejected that language and enacted the legislation as it appears today.

"4. The Rescue Squad urges the Court, as a matter of public policy, to read the statute as providing immunity to it. The Court cannot engraft onto the statue an immunity provision that the Legislature pointedly omitted. The Court is charged with interpreting a statute, not rewriting one. The public policy of the Legislature is expressed in the language of N.J.S.A. 26:2K-29. The Legislature chose to provide immunity to volunteer rescue squads, N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-13.1, and to rescue squads rendering advanced life support services, N.J.S.A. 26:2K-14. By the clear language of N.J.S.A. 26:2K-29, the Legislature chose not to provide immunity to rescue squads, as entities, rendering intermediate life support services.  If the failure to provide immunity to such rescue squads was an oversight, any corrective measure must be taken by the Legislature."

Full text of the decision after the jump...

Bruce D. Steiner & Martin M. Shenkman:  Beware of the Reciprocal Trust Doctrine

An excellent resource for lawyers and clients alike, outlining the mechanics (and potential pitfalls) of specific gifting strategies.  The article includes an excellent primer of the Reciprocal Trust Doctrine as well as straightforward (and creative) attempts of avoiding same.

More after the jump...

Camden Attempting To Retrieve Internal Affairs Records From ACLU - In re Camden Police Cases, 11-cv-1315

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"Camden is trying to get back police internal affairs records that landed in the lap of a lawyer representing one of the scores of plaintiffs suing the city over alleged planting of drug evidence.

"The city has asked a federal judge for a protective order to forbid Alexander Shalom, of the American Civil Liberties Union-New Jersey, from using or possessing information from a computer disk mailed to him anonymously.

"Shalom's client, Joel Barnes, is one of 63 federal plaintiffs who allege they were wrongly charged or convicted due to police misconduct. The cases are consolidated on a master docket as In re Camden Police Cases, 11-cv-1315, and more cases are pending in state court.

"Shalom is opposing the motion, which has a July 16 return date before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider."

***
"Shalom says the unlabeled disk arrived by mail on May 8, 2012, in an envelope that bore his own name as both addressee and sender. "After a click or two, it became clear that it was related to the Camden police" and after a few more clicks, he was "looking at things I hadn't seen before, things I wanted to have seen," Shalom says.

"At that point, he stopped reading and wrote a letter to Camden's lawyer, John Eastlack Jr. of Weir and Partners in Cherry Hill, enclosing a copy of the disk. He told Eastlack that based on a cursory review, some of the documents were relevant to the civil rights suits and responsive to plaintiffs' discovery requests but had not been produced."

More after the jump (Registration Required)...

Larry D. Butler v. Sheriff of Palm Beach County, et al. - "You don't let a pistol-packing mother catch you naked in her daughter's closet."

As initially reported by FindLaw (link below), "When the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals starts a decision with the admonition, 'You don't let a pistol-packing mother catch you naked in her daughter's closet,' you keep reading."  As the faithful reader quickly discerns, "mom" is employed (at least as of even date) as "a corrections officer at the Eagle Academy, which is a 'bootcamp facility for minors' run by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office."

Directly excerpted from Judge Carnes' decision:

"Nineteen-year-old Uzuri Collier called Larry Butler, who was of a similar age, and invited him to her house. Butler responded to the invitation the way most young men over the age of consent would have -- he went. Once Butler was at Uzuri's house, he and she consented to watch television for a while. Then they consented to do what young couples alone in a house have been consenting to do since the memory of man (and woman) runneth not to the contrary. The record does not disclose how long these two young people had known each other in the dictionary sense, but that afternoon in Uzuri's bedroom they also knew each other in the biblical sense."

In affirming the dismissal of the 1983 claims, the 11th Circuit penned the following gems:

"The record does not tell us how the timing worked out as unfortunately as it did.  It may be that the two young people simply lost track of time, which would be understandable given the circumstances.  Or it may be that Uzuri’s mother, Dorethea Collier, left work early that day.  However it happened, Collier came close to catching the couple coupling.  So close that when they heard her, Butler had only enough time to dash into the bedroom closet wearing nothing but a look of surprise."

***

"Collier continued to hold Butler at gunpoint, threatening to kill him if he did not follow orders.  After Collier’s husband 'inquired further' about the naked man’s identity and determined who he was, Butler was allowed to get dressed and leave, although Collier kept the gun pointed at him while he was dressing.  One can assume that it did not take Butler long to get dressed and get out[.]"

***

"The Eleventh Circuit affirmed, concluding, 'If the allegations are true, Collier's treatment of Butler was badder than old King Kong and meaner than a junkyard dog. She might even have acted like the meanest hunk of woman anybody had ever seen. Still, the fact that the mistreatment was mean does not mean that the mistreatment was under color of law.'"


FindLaw article and complete decision after the jump...

In re Estate of Ehrlich - NJ Appellate Division Again Holds Unexecuted Will May Be Probated

In a 2-1 decision, the New Jersey Appellate Division holds that an unexecuted will may be probated under certain circumstances.

In, In re Estate of Ehrlich, A-5439-10, Judges Parrillo and Alvarez upheld probate of the unsigned will (authored by an trust and estates drafting attorney, no less) based on N.J.S.A. 3B:3-3 which permits a will to probate even if that will does not satisfy the formal statutory criteria. To be admitted to probate, the proponent of the will must establish by clear and convincing evidence that the deceased intended it as his or her will.

In so holding, the Court relied on, In re Probate of Will and Codicil of Macool, 416 N.J. Super. 298 (App. Div. 2010). There, the Court interpreted N.J.S.A. 3B:3-3 as codifying a "harmless error" doctrine for wills, although notably, the Court did not permit probate of what it termed a "draft" as the putative testator passed before she was able to review the document.

Interestingly, Judge Skillman, dissenting in Ehrlich, agreed with the Macool decision.  Nonetheless, Judge Skillman's dissent indicates that Macool was "too expansive"  in that N.J.S.A. 3B:3-3 "only allows the admission to probate of a defectively executed will, not an unexecuted will."

Due to the split, the opponents to probate have an appeal as of right.

The full decision after the jump...

Video "Red Light" Camera Program Leads To Class Action Lawsuit

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"Ten days after New Jersey suspended most operations of cameras that catch red-light runners, a putative class action has been filed against a municipality that uses them, seeking refunds of $1.48 million in fines.

"The June 29 suit, in Camden County Superior Court, claims that Cherry Hill's failure to follow state regulations led to yellow lights that were too short in duration, causing inaccurate data.

"The named plaintiffs in Spector v. Cherry Hill Township, are David Specter of Voorhees and Henry Anderson of Marlton, each of whom paid $85 fines after being issued summonses. They allege unjust enrichment and violations of 42 U.S.C. 1983 and the New Jersey Civil Rights Act."

More after the jump...
(Registration Required)

New Jersey DOT Suspends Video "Red Light" Camera Program Due To Inherent Flaws In System

New Jersey DOT Suspends Video quotRed Lightquot Camera Program Due To Inherent Flaws In System
Per The Bergen Record:

"The state's Department of Transportation is suspending the red light camera program after learning that a formula used differs from the nationally accepted one.

"The legislation creating the pilot program used a specific formula to determine the proper duration of the yellow light at a traffic signal. That formula, the DOT said, differs from the legally required one that the DOT and municipalities use when installing traffic signals.

"This was a smart move on the part of the DOT, from both a safety and fairness perspective," said Assemblywoman Valerie Valnieri Huttle, D-Bergen. "The pilot program has proven invasive and potentially dangerous. It's time to pass the bipartisan legislation I've sponsored to disband this program altogether."

"Locally, two towns impacted by the program's suspension are Englewood Cliffs and Palisades Park. The suspension order impacts 63 of the 85 intersections statewide where red light cameras are operating or were approved for installation.

"Englewood Cliffs installed a red light traffic camera at the intersection of Palisade and Sylvan avenues to help reduce the number of accidents at the location."

More after the jump...

United States Supreme Court Upholds Nearly Entire Health Care Law - NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS v. SEBELIUS

In a 5-4 decision, with Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito, dissenting, the United States Supreme Court upheld the nearly the entire Health Care Bill finding that Congress possesses the power to enact the challenged provisions.  The only issue the majority had with the bill was the Medicaid provision which the opinion indicates is an easy fix.

"The Federal Government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance. Section 5000A would therefore be unconstitutional if read as a command. The Federal Government does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance. Section 5000A is therefore constitutional, because it can reasonably be read as a tax," Chief Justice Roberts wrote in his opinion.

“The Framers created a Federal Government of limited powers, and assigned to this Court the duty of enforcing those limits. The Court does so today. But the Court does not express an opinion on the wisdom of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Constitution, that judgment is reserved to the people.”

The entire caption:

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS ET AL. v. SEBELIUS, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ET AL.
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT
No. 11–393. Argued March 26, 27, 28, 2012—Decided June 28, 2012*

*Together with No. 11–398, Department of Health and Human Services et al. v. Florida et al., and No. 11–400, Florida et al. v. Department
of Health and Human Services et al., also on certiorari to the same court.

***

Full decision below...

State v. Palma - New Jersey Appellate Division Holds That Pedestrian Death Does Not Result In Per Se Jail Sentence

The Appellate Division, in a per curiam decision, vacated defendant's jail sentence and remanded the case, State v. Palma, A-3473-10, for development of a record of aggravating and mitigating factors in lieu of a hard-line rule whereby a pedestrian death would be dispositive to sentence a driver to jail.

Per the decision:

"Defendant's guilty plea arose out of a motor vehicle accident that took place on February 22, 2010, in Red Bank.  Defendant was traveling eastbound on Bergen Place, then stopped at a red light at the intersection with Broad Street.  After the light turned green, she made a left turn and proceeded northbound on Broad Street.  At that time, a motorist in the southbound lane signaled to defendant that she had just hit a pedestrian.  Defendant immediately stopped her SUV.  Unbeknownst to defendant, she had dragged the pedestrian, who was lodged underneath her car, down Broad Street.  Almost two months later, the victim died of injuries incurred in the accident.

"Defendant voluntarily submitted to a blood test, which revealed she was not using intoxicating substances.  Defendant also voluntarily produced her cellular phone records, which did not reveal that she was using her cell phone at the time of the accident.  There was no evidence defendant intentionally struck the victim or had fallen asleep while driving.  There was also no credible evidence defendant had run the traffic signal, exceeded the speed limit, or had acted recklessly.  As a result, the State charged defendant with careless driving, to which she entered a plea of guilty."

More after the jump...

Southern Union Co. v. United States - United States Supreme Court Holds That Jury Must Determine Facts To Increase Criminal Fine

In a 6-3 decision authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the United States Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial prohibits a judge from determining those facts necessary to increase the fine imposed in a criminal case. Instead, such findings are left squarely within the province of the jury.

Southern Union Co. v. United States, 11-94 builds on Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U. S. 466 (2000) and Blakely v.  Washington, 542 U. S. 296 (2004).  To wit:

"While the punishments at stake in these cases were imprisonment or a death sentence, there is no principled basis under Apprendi to treat criminal fines differently.  Apprendi’s “core concern”—to reserve to the jury “the determination of facts that warrant punishment for a specific statutory offense,”  Ice, 555 U.S., at 170—applies whether the sentence is a criminal fine or imprisonment or death.  Criminal fines, like these other forms of punishment, are penalties inflicted by the sovereign for the commission of offenses. Fines were by far the most common form of noncapital punishment in colonial America and they continue to be frequently imposed today. And, the amount of a fine, like the maximum term of imprisonment or eligibility for the death penalty, is often determined by reference to particular facts.  The Government argues that fines are less onerous than incarceration and the death sentence and therefore should be exempt from  Apprendi. But where a fine is  substantial enough to trigger the Sixth Amendment’s jury-trial guarantee, Apprendi applies in full."

The decision overturns an $18 million penalty against a pipeline operator for illegally storing mercury.

Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Anthony M. Kennedy and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented.

More after the jump...

New Jersey Supreme Court Jettison's Doctrine of Laches

In Fox v. Millman, A-39/40-10, Justice Helen Hoens authoring for a unanimous Court wrote:

"Substituting the equitable doctrine of laches for the clear guidance expressed in statutes of limitations would create a chaotic and unpredictable patchwork in which the only certainty would be the inconsistency of outcomes as different judges, or, as in this matter, juries, evaluate timeliness individually[.]"

Likewise, "even were we to agree in principle that laches might be applied so as to shorten an otherwise permissible period for initiation of litigation, we would nonetheless conclude that only the rarest of circumstances and only overwhelming equitable concerns would allow for that result[.]" (emphasis added).

Similarly, the Court's syllabus also notes:

"The United States Supreme Court has observed that if a suit in equity raises claims as to which there is an applicable statute of limitations, it does not preclude the defense of laches, provided there has been unreasonable delay within the time limited by the statute.  Patterson v. Hewitt, 195 U.S. 309, 318
(1904).  On the other hand, if the suit is an action at law, the United States Supreme Court has held that applying laches within the term of the governing statute of limitations is no defense at law.  United States v. Mack, 295 U.S. 480, 489 (1935).  This Court has traditionally conformed to this distinction between law and equity in considering the application of laches."

***

" Although Lavin v. Hackensack Bd. of Educ., 90 N.J. 145 (1982), was limited to applying laches to a claim not governed by any statute of limitations, the trial and appellate courts relied on a footnote in Lavin, which discussed applying laches to defeat a claim despite the fact that the time fixed by an analogous statute of limitations had not passed, to conclude that it was appropriate to utilize laches in this case.  The Court disagrees.  Causes of action brought at law are governed in the first instance by statutes of limitations that have been fixed by the Legislature to create defined and regularly applicable periods against which to determine timeliness.  Laches, on the other hand, remains an equitable doctrine, utilized to achieve fairness."

Full decision after the jump...


Sanctions Upheld For Failure To Preserve Allegedly Privileged Emails

In Goldmark v. Mellina, A-5918-10, the Appellate Division upheld a fine levied against a party's firm for failing to preserve emails it alleged to be privileged.  In so holding, the Court wrote that the assertion of privilege does not relieve counsel of the obligation to preserve the communications for a possible in camera inspection.

In a per curiam decision, the Court held, "Upon taking the position that relevant material is privileged or subject  to protection from discovery, a litigant has the obligation of maintaining and eventually disclosing the material as directed by the court.  See, e.g., R. 4:10-2(e)(1).  It would make a mockery of our discovery rules to allow a party or its counsel -- after identifying privileged information -- to destroy or carelessly lose or  misplace the materials in question."

***

"Sellers' counsel's obligation to  preserve those documents pending the court's further direction arose at that moment, if not sooner, sโ€‹ee RPC 3.4(a), and was particularly enhanced in this case because one of the parties to those communications was terminally ill."

More below...


Gov. Christie nominates Edward DeFazio & Peter Bogaard to the Superior Court Bench

Following up his recent string of nominations, Gov. Christie's run continues.  Links below.

Minor's Explicit Instant Messages Inadmissible In Abuse Trial

Justice Anne Patterson, for a unanimous Court in State v. J.A.C. A-102-10 held, "The content of the instant messages written by and to the victim in this case constitutes 'sexual conduct' within the meaning of  N.J.S.A. 2C:14-7(f),  and that content is therefore protected by New Jersey’s Rape Shield Law.  Any probative value of the content of the victim’s messages is substantially outweighed by its prejudice."

Similarly, "[w]hether C.A.’s attempts to impersonate an experienced adult communicated fact or fantasy, the instant messages clearly constituted 'sexual conduct' and the trial court’s determination that the communications fell within the scope of the Rape Shield Law was correct.  The specific content of C.A.’s instant messages is at best minimally relevant to defendant’s effort to demonstrate the child’s motive to lie.  The testimony permitted by the trial court unmistakably established that C.A. implicated defendant in the midst of a confrontation with her parents and teachers that was unprecedented in her young life. The instant messages, however, are not admissible to prove that this victim had a propensity for invention. A ruling permitting detailed questioning about the language of the messages could have a profound and permanent impact on a sixteen-year-old victim, invading her privacy and subjecting her to a humiliating experience without advancing the truth-seeking purpose of a trial.  Such a ruling would divert the attention of the jury from the crimes alleged and would effect considerable prejudice in this case without any corresponding benefit because the contested evidence is of minimal probative value. Consistent with the Legislature’s objective in enacting N.J.S.A. 2C:14-7, and this Court’s analysis in Budis and Garron, the trial court properly excluded the evidence."

***

Full decision below.

11th Circuit Finds Banana Peel Potential Evidence of Bias

Per NJLJ, in Jones v. UPS Ground Freight, No. 11-10416:

"A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has ruled unanimously that banana peels can be evidence of racial harassment supporting an employment discrimination claim by an African-American man.

***

"William Acker Jr., a senior U.S. district judge in the Northern District of Alabama, granted summary judgment to UPS in December 2010. Acker said Jones' treatment was not sufficiently severe and pervasive to constitute a hostile working environment, concluding "there is nothing inherently racist about a banana, absent direct supporting evidence."

"But Ripple wrote that the appellate panel had "no difficulty" concluding that the evidence created a jury question on the banana issue. Quoting language used by the Third and Seventh Circuits, Ripple wrote, "it has become easier to coat various forms of discrimination with the appearance of propriety because the threat of liability takes that which was once overt and makes it subtle."

"Ripple wrote that Jones' version of events suggested the bananas were not appearing on his truck by mere chance: Jones said he found bananas on his truck on multiple occasions, they were always in one of two places on the truck even though he parked it in a different location each night, and there's no evidence that bananas were found on any other truck or that Jones found any other trash on his truck. Ripple added that UPS could make to a jury its argument that it was just as likely the bananas had nothing to do with Jones or his race."

More after the jump (registration required)...

New Jersey Supreme Court Holds Condo Ban on Political Signs Unconstitutional

In Wednesday's 5-1 opinion, the New Jersey Supreme Court in Mazdabrook Commons Homeowners’ Ass’n v. Khan (A-65-10) (067094) held that "[b]alancing the minimal interference with Mazdabrook’s private property interest against Khan’s free speech right to post political signs on his own property, the sign policy in question violate[d] the free speech clause of the State Constitution."

Full text of the decision below.

New Jersey Appellate Division Holds No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in a Cell Phone Number

Excerpts from State v. DeFranco, A-2054-10:

"While the victim remained with Det. Potter on November 10, the new number, which had an area code different from the -973 area code for towns in Morris County, was tried.  Although at first the call went to voice mail, on a second try, the call was answered by defendant, who exhibited no surprise that the victim
had defendant's number and never indicated that the number, which belonged to defendant's cell phone, was in any respect private.

"We perceive a significant difference between the "generated information" afforded protection by the New Jersey Supreme Court in its privacy decisions and the "assigned information" that defendant seeks to protect in this case.  The ISP records, the long-distance billing information, the banking records, and the
utility usage records of Reid, Hunt, McAllister, and Domicz, respectively, constituted the keys to the details of the lives of those to which the seemingly innocuous initial information pertained.  While in some circumstances, knowledge of a telephone number might be equally revelatory, here it was not.  The number was simply a number.  In the circumstances of this case, we do not find that defendant's professed subjective expectation of privacy is one that society would be willing to recognize as reasonable."

Full decision below.

New Jersey Senate Panel Recommends Increases in Fines for Cell Phone Use While Driving

From the New Jersey Law Journal:

"The New Jersey Senate Law and Public Safety Committee on Monday recommended increased fines for texting or talking on a cell phone while driving.

"The committee passed a measure, S-69, that would raise the current $100 fine to $200 for a first offense, $400 for a second offense and $600 for a third or subsequent offense.

"Third and subsequent offenders would receive three motor vehicle penalty points and could face a 90-day drivers' license suspension.

"The bill's sponsor, Sen. Richard Codey, D-Essex, testified that research has shown that drunken drivers have reaction times 10 times better than drivers texting or talking on a cell phone."

More after the jump (registration required)...

Federal Estate Tax Changes a Factor in Calculating Damages in Wrongful Death Cases

Beim v. Hulfish, A-5947-10
--- N.J. Super. --- (App. Div. 2012).

"This appeal arises in connection with the Wrongful Death Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:31-1 to -6.  The novel issue presented is whether an heir's loss of a prospective inheritance resulting from the imposition of increased estate taxes —— incurred due to the premature death of a decedent —— is recoverable in a
wrongful death action.  Because such a tangible, readily calculable diminishment in an heir's expectancy is in the nature of "pecuniary injuries resulting from such death," N.J.S.A. 2A:31-5, we conclude that it is an element of damages for the jury to consider in this case, subject to appropriate expert evidence.  We reverse and remand for further proceedings.

***

"In 2008, Mr. Kellogg's estate paid $1,196,083.57 in estate taxes.  Plaintiffs allege that had Mr. Kellogg survived until 2009 or later, his estate's tax obligation would have been reduced by $626,083 in 2009, and by the full amount of $1,196,083.57 in 2010.  See Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (the 2001 Act), Pub. L. No. 107-16, 115 Stat. 38, (codified as amended in scattered sections of 26 U.S.C.) (reducing estate taxes in 2009 and eliminating them entirely for 2010 only).  The 2001 Act was set to expire on December 31, 2010, returning the estate tax to its pre-2001 configuration pursuant to a built-in sunset provision.

"On December 17, 2010, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the 2010 Act), Pub. L. No. 111-312, §301, 124 Stat. 3296, (codified as amended in scattered sections of 26 U.S.C.) went into effect.  The 2010 Act extended the estate tax provisions of the 2001 Act through 2012.

"In the Law Division, plaintiffs sought to recover the difference in estate tax consequences between 2008 and a later year with reduced estate taxes (depending upon what year the jury determined was the appropriate date of death), as damages under the Wrongful Death Act.  Their theory was that Mr. Kellogg's heirs suffered a lost inheritance —— or at least the loss of a substantial portion of an inheritance —— by the early imposition of greater estate taxes, and that such loss is recoverable as "pecuniary injuries" under N.J.S.A. 2A:31-5 since it was the fault of defendants' tortious conduct."

New Jersey Supreme Court Amends Holding on Presumed Damages In Certain Defamation Suits

As noted here: https://gdm-law.com/?page=blog&display=51 - the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the doctrine of presumed damages applies in private-plaintiff cases that do not involve matters of public concern. However, the Court sua sponte "excised three sentences from the original opinion that purportedly authorized the award of punitive damages based only on nominal damages — in clear conflict with the Punitive Damages Act."

More after the jump (registration required).

Medicinal Marijuana Decriminalization Vote Tabled

Per The Trentonian:

"A scheduled vote in the New Jersey Assembly on a bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana has been postponed.  The measure would decriminalize possession of up to a half ounce of pot — about 35 joints — to make it a civil offense punishable by a fine of $100 to $500. The bill was pulled Thursday so minor amendments could be made. One would defer a portion of the fine to drug education. Another would mandate drug counseling for repeat violators."

More after the jump...

NJ Assembly Judiciary Committee Approves A-1465 by a 7-0 Vote to Decriminalize Possession of Small Amounts of Marijuana

The legislation, summarized below passed through the Assembly Judiciary Committee by a bipartisan 7-0 vote.

Key points:

Under Assembly Bill 1465, the possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana would be a summary offense, punishable by a fine of $150 for a first violation, $200 for a second violation and $500 for a third. Currently, possession of this amount is a disorderly persons offense that carries a penalty of up to a $1000 fine and six months in jail. Additional fines of more than $600 may also be imposed under the existing statute. Currently, a conviction also results in a criminal record that cannot be expunged for at least five years.

Bill sponsors and more details after the jump...

New Jersey Supreme Court Holds Presumed Damages Available In Certain Defamation Suits

Per NJ Law Journal:

W.J.A. v. D.A., A-77 September Term 2010; Supreme Court; per curiam opinion; decided May 16, 2012. On certification to the Appellate Division, 416 N.J. Super. 380 (App. Div. 2010). [Sat below: Judges Axelrad. Fisher and Sapp-Peterson in the Appellate Division; Judge Perskie in the Law Division.] DDS No. 36-1-6304 [30 pp.]

At issue in this appeal is the vitality of the doctrine of presumed damages, which encompasses the losses "which are normal and usual and are to be anticipated when a person's reputation is impaired."

***

Held: The doctrine of presumed damages applies in private-plaintiff cases that do not involve matters of public concern.

New Jersey expanded application of the requirement of proof of actual malice established by the U.S. Supreme Court in New York Times v. Sullivan to statements regarding private citizens in matters of public concern. In Senna v. Florimont, the New Jersey Supreme Court refined the paradigm for making such a judgment in a private defamation case. Under Senna, the first question is whether Adams is a media defendant. Clearly, he is not. As to content, Adams' speech accuses Anderson of engaging in serious criminal conduct, thus qualifying for per se treatment. But that allegation, in itself, does not vault the public-concern threshold. An analysis of the context of the speech, including examination of the speaker's status, ability to exercise due care, and targeted audience, likewise suggests that there is no matter of public concern. The malice standard of New York Times v. Sullivan does not apply here and is no bar to the application of presumed damages.

***

Text of the decision after the jump.

Automatic Expungment Bill Gains Traction

New Jersey's proposed bill for automatic expungement of criminal records for certain offenses clears another hurdle.  Proponents of the bill would have expungements virtually simultaneous with graduation from drug court.  The AOC opposes due to concerns of workload and blurring the roe of judges as neutrals.  More after the jump...

The Judicial History of Whiskey

The judicial history of whiskey. And Maker's Mark wins in the 6th Circuit.

In other news, the sun continues to rise in the east.

A few choice excerpts:
  • Justice Hugo Black once wrote, “I was brought up to believe that Scotch whisky would need a tax preference to survive in competition with Kentucky bourbon.” Dep’t of Revenue v. James B. Beam Distilling Co., 377 U.S. 341, 348-49 (1964) (Black, J., dissenting).
  • All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.
  • “As many counties of Kentucky claim the first production of Bourbon as Greek cities quarrel over the birthplace of Homer.”  H.F. WILLKIE, BEVERAGE SPIRITS IN AMERICA—A BRIEF HISTORY 19 (3d ed. 1949).

    More after the jump...



New Jersey Retroactively Applies "Scared Witness" Hearsay Exception

In State v. Rose, --- N.J.Super. --- (App. Div. 2012), New Jersey's Appellate Division applied N.J.R.E. 804(b)(9) retroactively and permitted the admission of a witness' statement who refused to testify after allegedly being threatened by the Defendant's family.

Link below.  See also, State v. Byrd, 198 N.J. 319 (2009).

Out of State Wineries Permitted to Ship to New Jersey

New York Announces Pro Bono Requirement for Admission to Bar

"Starting next year, prospective lawyers must show that they have performed at least 50 hours of law-related pro bono service before being admitted to the New York state bar, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced yesterday."

Read more after the jump (registration required).

New Jersey Appellate Division Provides Encyclopedic Survey of Hearsay Rule and The Exceptions Thereto

An excerpt from the Court's opinion in Konop v. Rosen, ___ N.J.Super. ___ (2012) (DOCKET NO. A-2908-10T1):

Plaintiff's expert, Dr. Meyer N. Solny, opined that defendant deviated from accepted medical standards by failing "to ensure that the patient was adequately sedated and not moving during the procedure and by [failing] to stop the procedure when excessive patient movement occurred." Solny's opinion rested exclusively upon a notation that appeared in a consultation report prepared by Dr. Victor S. Flores upon plaintiff's initial admission to the hospital.

Before trial, defendant moved to bar the notation, claiming it was inadmissible hearsay. Defendant also argued that, if the notation was excluded from the consultation report, Solny's opinion was factually unsustainable and summary judgment was appropriate. Following oral argument, the judge scheduled a hearing pursuant to N.J.R.E. 104 to consider defendant's application.
Following the hearing, in an oral opinion, the judge concluded that the notation was inadmissible hearsay and should be redacted from the medical records. After originally agreeing to stay his decision so plaintiff could seek appellate review, the judge subsequently vacated the stay and granted summary judgment to defendant. Plaintiff now appeals from the January 26, 2011, order excluding the notation and granting defendant summary judgment.

Plaintiff contends that the judge erred in determining the notation was inadmissible hearsay, and, as a result, summary judgment should have been denied. Defendant counters by arguing that the judge properly excluded the notation because it was hearsay, not subject to any exception in our Rules of Evidence, and otherwise "untrustworthy." Both parties agree that if the notation is inadmissible, summary judgment was appropriate.
We have considered these arguments in light of the record and applicable legal standards. We reverse and remand the matter for further proceedings.

Vacant Property Owner Owes Duty of Care To Warn of Dangerous Condition

The New Jersey Supreme Court has recently reversed an order for summary judgment in a property owner's favor where a police officer was checking on vacant apartment buildings and fell, sustaining injuries.  Instead, the Supreme Court found the officer to be a licensee and remanded for an inquiry into the officer's knowledge of the allegedly dangerous condition.

Fee Shifting Possible in Medicare Reimbursement Hearings Even Where Government Does Not Make a Physical Appearance

The adversary can recover fees as long as the government parties merely "direct some purposeful advocacy at the decision-maker," which can be done in writing, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held on April 20 in Handron v. Secretary Department of Health and Human Services, 10-1021.

More after the jump...(registration required)

NJ Law Against Discrimination Held to Cover Claims by