« November 2011 | Main | January 2012 »

10 posts from December 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Have you cast your vote for the craziest lawsuit of 2011 yet?





Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy holidays

Have a happy & safe holiday season, from all of us at NJLRA!

Friday, December 23, 2011

NJLRA Statement on $4.1 Million Settlement Awarded to Man Who Overdosed on Stolen Drug

Since you just can’t make some things up (“Man who overdosed at teen house party awarded $4.1 million settlement,” Markos, The Record), here is NJLRA’s statement:

Ridgewood drug store to pay nearly half; underscores need for legal reform

TRENTON, N.J. – Marcus Rayner, executive director of the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance, released the following statement regarding a $4.1 million settlement awarded to a 21-year-old who overdosed on Xanax stolen from a local pharmacy:

“In this case, the pharmacy was the victim – not the plaintiff, who made a decision to ingest stolen drugs.  Yet it is the pharmacy that is being denied justice by today’s legal system and the drug user who is benefiting from it. 

“The pressure to settle cases – even ones as ridiculous as this – is high, particularly for small businesses like Harding Pharmacy.  This isn’t CVS or Walgreens, with a legal department to handle such matters.  This is a neighborhood business, which settled a case of questionable merit presumably because the cost of justice is simply too high and out-of-reach. 

“In New Jersey a drunk driver can already sue a bar tender if he injures himself while driving under the influence.  Apparently pharmacies which have drugs stolen from them can be financially liable for thieves’ overdoses.  It is a classic example of abusing the system in the hopes of winning a jackpot judgment at everyone else’s expense. 

“This case underscores just how much our tort system has become out-of-step with common sense and fairness.  Instead of investing in Ridgewood’s local economy, $1.9 million will be going into the pocket of a man who made poor and illegal choices. 

Scott Simon voluntarily ingested Xanax stolen by a friend who used to work for the pharmacy nearly four years ago.   His cohorts did not seek immediate medical attention after he went into a coma.  Harding Pharmacy will pay $1.9 million.  Other parties will pay the remaining amount. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Read Marcus’s letter-to-the-editor in today’s Record

A Florida resident, who makes a living by suing under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), is poised to make litigation tourism New Jersey’s premier industry. 

“The ADA was intended to protect consumers, not liquidate businesses.”

Read it here in The Record

Friday, December 16, 2011

Legislative Update

A-3434, which NJLRA opposes, was passed in the Assembly yesterday by a vote of 44-27.  This bill, which requires a review of consumer contract for unconscionability, may actually be in conflict with Federal law under a U.S. Supreme Court decision handed down on April 27th, 2011 in AT&T vs. Concepcion.  In that decision, the Court ruled that "[w]hen state law prohibits outright the arbitration of a particular type of claim, the FAA [Federal Arbitration Act] displaces the conflicting rule."  Please click here for more information

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cast your vote for the Craziest Lawsuit of 2011!

Last year, a teen who sued the surviving members of family she killed during her failed suicide attempt for her “mental anguish” took this unenviable prize.  Here are this year’s nominees:


Click below to vote now!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

NJLRA opposes A3434, scheduled for floor vote on Thursday

The Assembly is scheduled to consider A-3434 during Thursday’s voting session. 

NJLRA opposes A-3434, which requires a review of consumer contract for unconscionability and sets the standard for review.  

Members should note that this bill may actually be in conflict with Federal law under a U.S. Supreme Court decision handed down on April 27th, 2011 in AT&T vs. Concepcion.  In that decision, the Court ruled that "[w]hen state law prohibits outright the arbitration of a particular type of claim, the FAA [Federal Arbitration Act] displaces the conflicting rule." 

We are most concerned, however, that this bill would attempt to require a court to deem an agreement to arbitrate unconscionable if the contract is standardized and not negotiated between the parties.  This would encompass a large number of existing consumer contract agreement forms currently used and ultimately increase the cost to consumers of goods and services.

Further, the language in the bill seems to deem a contract unconscionable where the agreement provides for the location of the arbitration.  These provisions do not fairly reflect the circumstances in which standardized consumer contracts are used, which are rarely negotiated between the parties.  In reality, consumers have the choice to enter into the agreement or to walk away.

Arbitration offers as meaningful and effective a forum for resolving disputes without lawsuits, and arbitration is often less costly and faster for both parties.  It has been favored in New Jersey as a fair and efficient means to resolve claims.

Click here to contact your legislator and ask him/her to vote “no” on A-3434. 

Friday, December 09, 2011

Statute of limitations bill, A-3929, advanced by committee

The Assembly Regulated Professions Committee unanimously approved A-3929, which requires certain civil actions against certain licensed professionals to be brought within two years, down from six.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

**Legislative Updates**

Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula’s “Trade Secrets Act” was passed unanimously by the General Assembly during Monday’s voting session.  Under A-921/S-2456, a company or organization would be able to sue for damages or losses that result from someone taking proprietary information (a recipe, chemical formula, invention, intellectual property, etc.) and trying to profit from it by selling it or manufacturing it.  If I take a secret recipe for a food item, sell it and make money from it, for instance, I would have to pay royalties to the company or person from whom I stole it.   A-921/S-2456 has now passed both houses and has the support of NJLRA. 

On the agenda for Thursday’s Assembly Regulated Professions Committee hearing is A-3929, which would require civil actions against certain licensed professionals (including most doctors) to be brought within two years instead of six.  This is especially important as witnesses become unavailable and records are destroyed over the extended period.  NJLRA supports this bill and looks forward to the committee’s favorable passage.  It is sponsored by Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson).

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Lame Duck Season is upon us

The so-called “lame duck” session of the Legislature – the period between Election Day and the start of the next legislative session in January – is traditionally a period of frenetic lawmaking activity.  For outgoing legislators who may be retiring or have not been reelected, it is the very last chance they have to shepherd bills through the democratic process. 

NJLRA has five bills which it hopes will advance:

A-2473/S-480, which would apply the $50 million appeal bond cap enjoyed by tobacco companies to all businesses in New Jersey, so they do not have to prepay in order to appeal a judicial decision.

A-3333/S-2855, which would limit causes of actions under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act to consumers who suffer an ascertainable loss (as opposed to businesses), and make the Act applicable only to transactions which occur in New Jersey. 

A-4228/S-3028, the “New Jersey Licensed Alcoholic Beverage Server Fair Liability Act.” This bill would prevent drunken motorists, convicted of DUI, from suing licensed beverage servers who served them in the event they drive drunk and cause themselves injury.  (Yes, thanks to the New Jersey Supreme Court, we need legislation to clarify that drunk drivers cannot legally profit from their irresponsibility).

A-4135, which would allow defendants the right to immediately appeal a class action certification.

A-1982/S-760, which would address skyrocketing medical malpractice premiums and a consequential physician shortage in certain specialties by: protecting volunteer physicians acting in good faith from liability; prevent insurance companies from immediately imposing an increase on doctors who are named in a malpractice suit; require physicians providing expert testimony to be licensed in New Jersey and board certified in the appropriate specialty; and reverse the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in Ryan v. Renny, which gutted the Affidavit of Merit Statute enacted in 2004. 

LRW will keep you abreast should any of the aforementioned bills advanced.  For the most up-to-date legislative calendar, click here to visit the Legislature’s website