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Geoffrey D. Mueller


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...