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7 posts from December 2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

What was the worst lawsuit of 2012? Tell us!

Thanks for saving my life.  That’ll cost you $5 million.

When Carteret resident Ellen Shane was taken hostage at knifepoint at Woodbridge Center Mall earlier this year, a Woodbridge Township police officer valiantly saved her life, shooting the hostage taker as he lunged toward Shane and her husband.  His thanks?  The couple filed a $5 million lawsuit against the police department, claiming that she was traumatized.  More information

One, two, three strikes and you’re sued!

Two years after being hit with a baseball at a Little League game, a Manchester woman filed suit against the 11-year-old catcher who overthrew the pitch.  Her husband, demanding a jury trial, sought additional damages for “loss of services, society, and consortium,” as a result of the child’s “reckless… assault and battery” of his wife.  More information.   

No txting while bf is driving.

‘its ur fault i was txtin’ - We’re all familiar with the dangers and consequences of texting while driving.  A Morris County man decided to tinker with unimportant texts while behind the wheel and caused a lifetime of physical disabilities to a couple on a motorcycle.  So who did the couple sue for their significant damages?  The man’s girlfriend, whom he was texting.  They felt that the girlfriend “should have known” her boyfriend was driving and texting.   More information.

Walking while intoxicated? Yup, sue the bar.

On a much more somber note, popular Trenton delivery man Quirino Azcona met a tragic end on a wintery night in 2011.  Azcona began to walk home from a Trenton bar and made it as far as a snow bank before collapsing.  He laid there for an unspecified period of time before he was tragically caught in a city plow and killed. 

But this is where it gets crazy.  Azcona’s estranged wife and children have decided to sue the bar where Azcona is believed to have been drinking that night.  Mother Nature, the National Weather Service, and Jack Daniels were not named in the suit.  At least, not for now.    More information.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

How to end the assault by opportunistic lawyers

It's not just businesses and doctors.  New Jersey's municipal governments (and the taxpayers which fund them) must contend with frivolous litigation, too.  

Read NJCJI's article in the New Jersey League of Municipalities Magazine to find out what local governments and taxpayers can do to fight lawsuit abuse. 

Download 11.2012 League Magazine op-ed



Friday, December 21, 2012

Have a happy, safe, and lawsuit-free holiday season from NJLRA!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Breaking - Roche request to remove judge in Accutane litigation

Among other things, Judge Carol Higbee appeared alongside plaintiffs' attorneys mid trial at a public event and commented on pending litigation.  Repeatedly calling it a "burden" to hear cases involving its Accutane product doesn't sit well with Roche, nor should it sit well with any defendant that's been embattled in ligitation for the past 9 years. 

Roche - a world leader in innovative cancer drugs - is taking the bold and unprecedented step of asking the Superior Court to relieve her of this "burden."

Read here: Download Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendants' Motion to Recuse

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christie announces Supreme Court pics - 1 Republican, 1 Independent

Governor Christie formally nominated Board of Public Utilities director Robert Hanna and Monmouth County Superior Court Judge David Bauman to the state’s highest court.  While calling it a compromise, the announcement is “not part of a deal with Senate President Steve Sweeney,” according to a Star-Ledger report

Hanna was appointed to the BPU by Governor Christie last year and is an unaffiliated voter.  Bauman, a registered Republican, is a Monmouth County Superior Court judge but was appointed to that role by then-Governor Jon Corzine, a Democrat. 

The announcement follows a Rutgers-Eagleton survey in which 91 percent of the state’s small business owners indicated they want the impasse between the Governor and Senate President Stephen Sweeney resolved.  There are currently two vacancies on the Supreme Court, which creates a degree of economic uncertainty for small businesses which operate in New Jersey. 

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Survey finds that businesses want impasse between Governor, Legislature, resolved

Over 90% of small businesses concerned about vacancies on the State Supreme Court, according to Rutgers-Eagleton Survey

TRENTON, N.J. – A recent tide of outrageous lawsuits and vacancies on the State Supreme Court are contributing to a hostile business climate in New Jersey, according to a survey conducted by the Rutgers-Eagleton Institute. 

Nearly three quarters of small businesses surveyed said it was “very important” that the Governor and State Senate resolve their impasse in order to fill vacancies on the state’s Supreme Court, which began in 2010. 

“The New Jersey Supreme Court is crucial to our state’s economy,” said Marcus Rayner, executive director of the Alliance.  “New Jersey’s business community is telling us loudly and clearly that vacancies on the state’s highest court are a leading concern.” 

“As New Jersey's small businesses recover from a sluggish economy and added devastation from Hurricane Sandy, cost drivers like liability insurance and the threat of frivolous litigation only add to business concerns, which can be heavily influenced by court decisions.”

An overwhelming majority (75 percent) of respondents fear that a high-profile lawsuit in Ocean County will negatively impact New Jersey’s business community.  The Court allowed a motorist charged with driving while intoxicated to sue a local establishment for the injuries he sustained after causing an accident; several respondents are planning to make changes to their business as a result of this decision. 

Respondents strongly support a proposal to have specialized business courts handle court cases involving businesses.  An astounding 92 percent of small businesses surveyed want the Legislature to focus on liability reform. 

New Jersey-based small businesses with fewer than 50 employees were surveyed.  Complete survey results can be found online at http://njlra.org.

Monday, December 03, 2012

The "Facebook bill" will be heard in the Assembly today - urge legislators to read section 5 before voting!

A-2878, referred to as the “Facebook bill,” would prohibit employers from asking for certain social networking information from employees and prospective employees.  The bill’s intention to protect employees’ privacy is laudable; however, a provision in Section 5 of the legislation creates an unnecessary hardship for New Jersey’s business community and may place an additional strain on our court system.  This section would create a new opportunity for current, former, and prospective employees to sue New Jersey businesses. 

Under this provision, employers or businesses who seek to hire an employee to administer their company’s social media communications would risk a lawsuit if they ask a prospective employee about his or her social media experience.  An unqualified job applicant would be given the right to seek monetary compensation if social networking was raised even in casual context during the interview process or later as an employee.  New Jersey would be the only state in which an employee or prospective employee would have such leverage, contributing to a hostile business climate in which unemployment outpaces the national average.   Even if an employer is found to have committed no violation of this act, time and capital will be needed for a defense.  Small businesses would be hurt most by litigation, as it can take up to $70,000 to resolve even the most clearly meritless cases. 

As New Jersey seeks to rebuild after the events of Hurricane Sandy, it is critical that we do not impose unintended disadvantages on our state’s economic backbone.  California, Maryland and Illinois have taken steps to protect employees’ privacy without exposing their business community to new and expensive liability in addition to penalties.  Please urge legislators to consider amending or removing Section 5.