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8 posts from February 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

NJLRA Statement on NJ Supreme Court Decision in Kendall v. Roche


NJLRA Statement on NJ Supreme Court Decision in Kendall v. Roche

5-1 decision will allow case to proceed, despite concerns regarding statute of limitations, FDA’s approval

 TRENTON, N.J. – Marcus Rayner, executive director of the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance, issued the following statement regarding the state Supreme Court’s decision in Kendall v. Roche:


“The New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in Kendall v. Roche negatively impacts thousands of businesses across the state at time when we are trying to create jobs and recover from a severe economic downturn.  The court’s disregard for New Jersey’s statute of limitations adds uncertainty in challenging times. 

“By finding that the Federal Food and Drug Administration’s approval is inadequate, Roche and other product manufacturers can now be found liable for damages even if all steps to obtain the proper labeling were taken and approved.  This adds great uncertainty to the business community and essentially adds enormous overhead costs to the development of critical and life-saving drugs. 



AnnMarie McDonald



# # #

The New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance (NJLRA) is a statewide, bipartisan group of businesses, individuals and organizations committed to improving the State’s civil justice system by advocating for legal reforms in the legislature and in the courts. NJLRA believes a balanced civil justice system is critical to ensuring fair and open courts, maintaining and attracting jobs and fostering economic growth in New Jersey. NJLRA is the only organization in New Jersey dedicated exclusively to civil justice reform.

Read NJLRA’s letter-to-the-editor in the Times of Trenton


Advocating for traffic changes might be more helpful 

Carl Wilkins’ family suffered an unspeakable nightmare when their loved one was tragically struck and killed after a double hit-and-run incident. The family’s attorney has indicated that they intend to sue NJ Transit, the state of New Jersey and Ewing Township for his death, along with the women who committed this crime (“Hit-and-run victim’s family targets NJ Transit, Ewing, state, 2 others,” Feb. 8).

The individuals who killed Mr. Wilkins deserve to be found liable for their actions. Taking the law a step further, however, and suing the township, state and NJ Transit is costly and misdirected anger. There is no question that this was a tragedy. But as Ewing Township fights to keep its streets safe with fewer police officers, adding a hefty lawsuit to the agenda will undoubtedly jeopardize their ability to provide the services we have become accustomed to as taxpayers.

Suing Ewing Township won’t make crossing the street safer. But working with local and state government to address traffic patterns instead of working against them may yield the changes we need to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again.

-- Marcus Rayner, Feb 23rd  
The writer is executive director of the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance (njlra.org).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A dirty secret the Kiddie Kollege nightmare left behind

In 2006, children at a South Jersey daycare facility played freely.   Then state inspectors informed them that their facility existed on a heavily contaminated former thermometer factory.  A class action lawsuit against the building’s owners, as well as local, county, and state government entities found all parties liable. 

It may take several years until all of the damage done to these children comes to light, which is why the judge ordered each of these entities to pay for the children’s medical monitoring until age 24.  The fund was supposed to consist of $1.5 million for neuropsychological tests for the 100 children involved.  Early detection and treatment if health problems emerge, the order stressed. 

But so far, nearly 6 years parents were first told that their children were subjected to unsafe levels of mercury at Kiddie Kollege, not a single test has been administered through this fund


As is the case with far too many class-action lawsuits, the victims’ plight has taken a back seat to disputes over attorneys’ fees.  $1.5 million was put in escrow for medical testing last year.  But the $3 million requested by the five law firms representing the plaintiffs and $1.4 million already paid to Franklin Township’s attorney by its insurer are far from settled, delaying the children’s medical monitoring.  The township’s attorney has even asked for a new trial

The children who this case was supposed to be about haven’t accessed the testing that may affect the quality and duration of their lives.  But the lawyers who fought for it (and against it) probably don’t want you to know that. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Governor’s budget address

Governor Christie’s budget address will take place at 2 p.m. today.  While lawsuit reform measures are typically devoid of budgetary line-items, changes that NJLRA seeks would add much-needed business investment to the state’s economy

You can listen the Governor’s budget address live on the Legislature’s homepage, linked here

Monday, February 13, 2012

NJLRA Applauds Passage of Bill Requiring Study of NJ’s Looming Physician Shortage

The State Senate unanimously passed S-173, sponsored by Senator Robert Singer, which would require the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to conduct a study of New Jersey’s looming doctor shortage. 

“The New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals warned us in 2010 that New Jersey will be short nearly 3,000 doctors by 2022 if preventative measures are not taken,” said Marcus Rayner, executive director of the Alliance. “This is on top of the current 12% gap between physician supply and demand.

“It’s encouraging that the Legislature is taking this issue seriously and trying to avert a crisis situation.

“New Jersey’s doctors, especially those in high-risk specialties, carry some of the highest liability insurance premiums in the country.  It is becoming harder for the average physician to undertake the expense of practicing in New Jersey when so many other states have enacted cost-saving liability reform during the past several years.

If enacted, S-173 would convene a strategic planning summit of stakeholders.   The Department would be required to report findings and recommendations to the Governor and Legislature six months after enactment. 

The legislation was approved by a vote of 40 – 0.  It awaits action by the General Assembly. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Save-the-Date: NJLRA's Spring Membership Luncheon

NJLRA will hold its annual Spring Membership Luncheon on

Tuesday, March 13th at noon, at the Trenton Country Club in West Trenton

Previous keynote speakers have included Senator Ray Lesniak (D-Union) and Rich Bagger, former chief-of-staff to Governor Christie.

This year's keynote speaker TBA. 


There is no cost to attend, but an RSVP is required.  Email us to RSVP - we hope to see you there!

Friday, February 03, 2012

New this week…

Assemblyman Herb Conaway, chair of the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee, reintroduced legislation granting civil immunity for certain volunteer physicians, nonprofit clinics, and federally qualified health centers. 

A volunteer physician is defined in this bill, A-2178, as a physician who is retired but maintains licensed and is not receiving compensation for patient care. 

New Jersey is projected to be short by nearly 3,000 physicians by the end of the decade.  Medical specialties, including OB-GYNs, are expected to be among the hardest hit.  By protecting volunteer physicians, nonprofit clinics, and federally qualified health centers – acting in good faith – from liability, A-2178 would remove a significant disincentive to practice in areas in which there is high demand for such services. 

Assemblyman Conaway is also the sponsor of A-1806, which would accomplish similar objectives and reverse the 2010 New Jersey Supreme Court decision in Ryan v. Renny.  The decision gutted the state’s affidavit of merit statute

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Lawsuit Abuse: Now Affecting Your Child’s Future

We already know that lawsuit abuse impacts access to healthcare, insurance costs, and (if you live in New Jersey) your ability to profit from driving under the influence.  But a new study suggests that frivolous litigation may have extended its reach to the playground as well. 

According to research conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, three primary barriers have been identified which impede children’s usage of playgrounds.   A greater focus on academics and a lack of financial capital to install or maintain equipment isn’t necessarily surprising.  But “risk of injury” is a barrier which is un-divorceable from liability. 

Daycare centers, schools, municipalities, YMCAs, and other public entities (read: taxpayers) may be in legal jeopardy if a child is injured, irrespective of the reason.  This reality has prompted playgrounds to adopt a plastic, safety-minded exterior – to the point of boredom.  Alice G. Walton writes in the Atlantic that children master such equipment quickly and move on to more intoxicating electronic stimuli.  Monkey bars just aren’t as exciting when they’re so low to the ground that you can walk, instead of holding on for dear life. 

“Safety guidelines, which are admittedly important, can defeat the very purpose of the playground: rather than promoting physical activity, they are dampening it,” writes Walton. 

Of course, experts say that the ripple effects of dwindling, unstructured playtime will affect how today’s children solve problems and resolve conflict as adults.  Fewer cuts and bruises may save entities hefty seesaw-induced legal fees later on, but at the cost of a sedentary childhood. 

Lawsuit abuse has managed to make its way to the playground.  And it’s a painful reality to digest.