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5 posts from January 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Prefiled Civil Justice Bills

The following pieces of legislation were prefiled for introduction for the new legislative session, which officially began on January 10th.   Please contact NJLRA if you would like additional information about any of the following:

Summary

New Bill #

Old Bill #

Sponsors

Extends $50 million cap on appeal bonds in civil actions to all industries in New Jersey

A241

A2473

Schaer, McKeon

Permits litigants contesting class certification the right to immediately appeal that ruling. 

A894

A4135

Chiusano, Wisniewski

Caps noneconomic damages in medical malpractice actions at $250,000.

A966

A1367/S610

Weber, Chiusano, McHose

Establishes a medical malpractice part in the Superior Court.

A1689

A260

Russo

Concerns liability in good faith treatment cases, standards of care, insurance coverage for medical malpractice actions and also sets time limits on medical malpractice claims being filed.

A1806

A1982/S670

Conaway, O'Scanlon, Weber, Handlin, McHose, Angelini, Riley, Huttle, Chiusano

Establishes limits for certain damages in medical malpractice actions.

A1926

A1806/S1844

Casagrande

 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bergen County pharmacy settlement in the running for U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Ridiculous Lawsuit

A $4.1 million settlement awarded to a north Jersey man who overdosed on stolen drugs as a teen is gaining national infamy.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce nominated it for this month’s Most Ridiculous Lawsuit http://www.facesoflawsuitabuse.org/

The plaintiff, who said the neighborhood pharmacy should have done a better job of guarding the drugs his friend stole, sued several partygoers, the host, and the host’s mother in addition to the pharmacy. 

The pharmacy will pay the majority of the settlement.

As of today, the Bergen County settlement is killing the competition by a 3 – 1 margin.  You can cast your vote on the Institute of Legal Reform’s website.     

"In this case, the pharmacy was the victim - not the plaintiff, who made a decision to ingest stolen drugs.” said Marcus Rayner, NJLRA’s executive director.   “Yet it is the pharmacy that is being denied justice by today's legal system and the drug user who is benefiting from it.”

“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, Harding Pharmacy will be sending $1.9 million to the pocket of a man who made poor and illegal choices,” he said. 

Doesn’t this just make your heart, um, not swell with pride?

Monday, January 09, 2012

Item of note: last day of the 2010-2011 voting session

A-3304, which NJLRA opposes, is scheduled for consideration by the full Assembly today.  If enacted, this legislation would make the 2008 False Claims Act retroactively applicable to alleged offenses occurring up to 14 years ago, from March 1998.

A lot can happen in nearly 14 years.  Companies change. Employees change.  Exonerating evidence is harder to come by.

But this bill doesn’t take any of that into consideration.  Instead, a company – no matter how big or small, equipped with a legal department or not – may be forced to defend itself against a False Claims lawsuit without the benefit of time-sensitive exonerating material. 

More importantly, A-3304’s retroactive application of the False Claims Act is unconstitutional, and puts companies that do business in the State of New Jersey in serious danger of unfair and unjust litigation abuse. 

Thursday, January 05, 2012

A-265 Receives Broad Support in the Assembly Judiciary Committee

What do the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, NJBIA, New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, National Federation of Independent Business-New Jersey, Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey, Chemistry Council of New Jersey, New Jersey Food Council, and the Healthcare Institute of New Jersey have in common?

All were present to support A-265, sponsored by Assemblyman David Russo, which would create specialized business courts in New Jersey.  Chairman Peter Barnes noted the wide range of support. 

Legal issues involving businesses are complex, laden with terminology and evidence which is unfamiliar to the common court.  Highly technical matters are identified and addressed at great cost to both businesses and taxpayers alike.  The advantage of a business court is that it would permit business-related judicial matters to be heard by courts with an established background and knowledge of such litigation.  A majority of northeastern states already have a business court in place, and it is actively under consideration by several others. 

Establishing a business court doesn’t just improve the efficiency of our court system – it sends a strong message to businesses that New Jersey is a solid place in which to expand and hire workers. 

A-265 was posted today for discussion only.  NJLRA looks forward to the bill’s reintroduction and advancement in the 215th legislative session, which begins next week.  You can download a copy of NJLRA's testimony in support of business courts here.  

Legislation to create a business court in New Jersey on AJU agenda for discussion

A-265 would create a specialized business court within the New Jersey Superior Court.  

Legal issues involving businesses are increasingly complex, laden with terminology and evidence which is unfamiliar to the common court.  Highly technical matters are identified and addressed at great cost to both businesses and taxpayers alike. 

And unsurprisingly, we are among a minority of states on the east coast which do not have a business court in place.

NJLRA supports A-265 because it would permit narrow business-related judicial matters to be heard by courts with an established background and knowledge of business litigation.  And with an unemployment rate in excess of 9 percent – the highest in the region – the creation of a business court serves as an incentive for leading employers to increase their business presence in New Jersey.  The highly specialized industries, including the life sciences, which are affected by this legislation have the potential to create long-term, high paying jobs that will be essential to growing our state’s economy over the next several years.   

It is sponsored by Assemblyman David Russo (R-Midland Park).