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14 posts from January 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Top News Clips for the Week of Jan. 25-31

A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of January 25-31, 2014.

 

Opinion: Background Checks - ‘Ban the Box’ is Not the Answer

Jon Bramnick|The Record

As Americans, we believe in giving people a “second chance.” The proposed “Ban the Box” legislation is not the answer to the problem of a job applicant with a criminal history.

 

Imagine you are looking to hire someone to care for your elderly mother. That person will be alone with her and will have access to her home and her possessions.

 

After receiving applications for the job, you discover that one of the applicants has a criminal history of assault and theft. One would presumably be concerned about hiring that person to assist your mother.

 

You may not have a choice if “Ban the Box” legislation is enacted.

Full Story.

 

Continue reading "Top News Clips for the Week of Jan. 25-31" »

Session Scorecard

Though the 216th Session of the New Jersey Legislature has just started, a number of bills of interest to NJCJI have already been filed. Click here to view the Session Scorecard and check back often as we will keep it updated throughout the session with the status of bills we both support and oppose.

U.S. Chamber Highlights Litigation Concerns in New Jersey

The latest report from the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform highlights litigation trends from across the country, and not surprisingly New Jersey is cast in an unfavorable light. New Jersey is noted as a hot spot for asbestos bankruptcy trust fraud and false claims act litigation. In addition, the report claims New Jersey is second only to California in the number of food related class action suits filed in the state, thanks largely to our state’s 6 year statute of limitations.

Continue reading "U.S. Chamber Highlights Litigation Concerns in New Jersey" »

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Top News Clips for the Week of Jan. 18-24

A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of January 18-24, 2014.

How to Sue Over the Christie Bridge Scandal and Win

John Culhane | Slate

As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tries to recover from the fallout for his administration’s participation in the vindictive decision to close lanes and snarl traffic on the George Washington Bridge for five days, he will get no help from lawsuits brought by angry citizens stuck in the mess. The first suit has already dropped. These claims will surely breed others. They could keep the story alive for years. And they could even result, unusually, in personal liability for the officials involved, including, perhaps, the governor himself.

Full Story.

Continue reading "Top News Clips for the Week of Jan. 18-24" »

Friday, January 17, 2014

2014 Legislative Agenda

New Jersey’s businesses face a stagnant economy coupled with high business costs, but our members know that New Jersey’s economy is taking another serious hit – from excessive litigation. During the 2014 legislative session the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute will advocate for legislation that ensures that New Jersey's civil justice system treats all parties fairly and discourages lawsuit abuse.

Continue reading "2014 Legislative Agenda" »

Legal Impacts of Bridgegate

You can’t turn on the news, open a paper, or scroll through your Twitter feed these days without being inundated with stories about the George Washington Bridge lane closing scandal. While most stories focus on the political fallout, there are real legal implications that deserve attention as well.

 

Here's Who's Behind The Huge Civil Lawsuit From The Chris Christie Bridge Scandal

Brett LoGiurato | Business Insider

Four-hour delays. Late for work. Lost wages. Late for crucial doctor's appointments.

Some of these alleged hardships are at the heart of a proposed class-action complaint in the burgeoning George Washington Bridge scandal. The complaint was filed last Thursday, the day after new revelations tying the administration of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to the lane closures.

Full Story.

 

Chris Christie hires law firm to review administration's role in 'Bridgegate'

By Statehouse Bureau | Asbury Park Press

A former federal prosecutor will head up an internal review by the administration of Gov. Chris Christie of his staff’s involvement with the politically motivated lane closings on the George Washington Bridge in September 2013.

The administration this morning announced the hiring of the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher law firm and specifically Randy Mastro to assist both with the review and an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office into the closings, which snarled traffic for four days in Fort Lee.

Full Story.

 

Bridge scandal: Chris Christie's Nominees Delayed

By Jenna Portnoy | The Star-Ledger

The ongoing scandal over George Washington Bridge lane closures is having more ripple effects through Gov. Chris Christie’s administration.

The Republican governor has put on hold his plan to nominate John Hoffman, his acting attorney general, to the state Superior Court. The move comes as the nomination of Christie’s chief of staff, Kevin O’Dowd, is also in a holding pattern.

Full Story.

 

Good Samaritan Bill Passes Unanimously, Awaits Governor’s Signature

As the previous legislative session wound down, the Senate voted 36-0 in favor of an important piece of legislation that would grant immunity from liability for certain professional services rendered during emergencies.

Continue reading "Good Samaritan Bill Passes Unanimously, Awaits Governor’s Signature" »

The Class Action Settlement Problem

This event is postponed because of weather. It will be rescheduled.

The New Jersey Chapter of the Federalist Society is hosting Ted Frank, Founder and President of the Center for Class Action Fairness for an event titled The Class Action Settlement Problem on Wednesday, January 22.

“Since its founding in 2009, the Center for Class Action Fairness has revolutionized the law of class action settlements. At this event, the Center’s Founder and President, Ted Frank, will discuss why class action settlements are so prone to abuse, the tactics attorneys use to enrich themselves at the expense of the class, and why consumers are better off when class action abuse is curbed.”

The event will be held on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at The Morris Museum in Morristown. 1 hour of CLE credit has been requested and appetizers will be served.

RSVP to: NJFedSoc@gmail.com

 

State of the State Outlines Gov. Christie’s Plans for 2014

Gov. Chris Christie delivered the 2014 State of the State Address on January 14 before a joint session of the state legislature. During the speech the governor laid out his priories for the coming session, which include lowering the state’s tax burden and reforming the k-12 education system.

 

14Jan14_SOTS

Click here to view video of the speech from C-SPAN.

Continue reading "State of the State Outlines Gov. Christie’s Plans for 2014" »

Court Exposes Abuse by Plaintiff Attorneys in Bankruptcy Trust Litigation

One of NJCJI’s top priorities for 2014 is advancing legislation that will bring transparency to bankruptcy trust litigation and discourage fraud so that settlement dollars are available to legitimately injured parties. The desperate need for this legislation was most recently illustrated by a ruling from U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge George Hodges revealing the “tort system was infected by the manipulation of exposure evidence by plaintiffs and their lawyers.”

Bankruptcy Judge: Plaintiffs, Lawyers Covered Up Evidence In Garlock Mesothelioma Cases: LexisNexis, Jan. 13, 2014.

Judge Finds Fraud and Deceit by Plaintiffs’ Lawyers in Asbestos Cases: Bloomberg Business Week, Jan. 13, 2014.

The Asbestos Scam, Part 2 (opinion): The New York Times, Jan. 13, 2014.

The Judge Won’t Call Asbestos-Lawyer Shenanigans Fraud, But It Sure Smells Like It: Forbes, Jan. 11, 2014.

Embattled Gasket Maker Sues Asbestos Lawyers For Fraud: Forbes, Jan. 10, 2014.

Judge Slashes Asbestos Liability In Garlock Bankruptcy To $125 Million: Forbes, Jan. 10, 2014

While the asbestos trusts are currently the most well-known types of these trusts thanks to the relentless television ads by plaintiffs’ attorneys, they are not the only such trusts. Any company filing for bankruptcy that faces potential legal claims can set up a trust to streamline and resolve claims.

As a state with a strong manufacturing sector and a court system known for allowing questionable claims to move forward, New Jersey businesses stand to lose if double-dipping and fraud are not limited.

 

Save the Date

The New Jersey Civil Justice Institute's bi-annual membership luncheons for 2014 have been scheduled for March 18th and September 16th. Both events will be held from 12:00 - 2:00 PM at the Trenton Country Club. We hope to see you there!

Top News Clips for the Week of Jan. 13-17

 

Here's Who's Behind The Huge Civil Lawsuit From The Chris Christie Bridge Scandal

Brett LoGiurato | Business Insider

Four-hour delays. Late for work. Lost wages. Late for crucial doctor's appointments.

Some of these alleged hardships are at the heart of a proposed class-action complaint in the burgeoning George Washington Bridge scandal. The complaint was filed last Thursday, the day after new revelations tying the administration of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to the lane closures.

Full Story.

 

Chris Christie hires law firm to review administration's role in 'Bridgegate'

By Statehouse Bureau | Asbury Park Press

A former federal prosecutor will head up an internal review by the administration of Gov. Chris Christie of his staff’s involvement with the politically motivated lane closings on the George Washington Bridge in September 2013.

The administration this morning announced the hiring of the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher law firm and specifically Randy Mastro to assist both with the review and an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office into the closings, which snarled traffic for four days in Fort Lee.

Full Story.

 

Bridge scandal: Chris Christie's Nominees Delayed

By Jenna Portnoy | The Star-Ledger

The ongoing scandal over George Washington Bridge lane closures is having more ripple effects through Gov. Chris Christie’s administration.

The Republican governor has put on hold his plan to nominate John Hoffman, his acting attorney general, to the state Superior Court. The move comes as the nomination of Christie’s chief of staff, Kevin O’Dowd, is also in a holding pattern.

Full Story.

 

Judge Questions Whether $765 NFL Concussions Settlement is Enough

Cindy Boren | Washington Post

A federal judge in Philadelphia issued a preliminary rejection of a $765 million settlement of concussion claims by more than 4,500 former NFL players on Tuesday, ruling that the amount agreed upon may be insufficient to cover payouts, medical tests and treatments.

Full Story.

 

Will Consumer Class Actions vs. Target Survive?

By Alison Frankel | Reuters

Who doesn't empathize with the 70 million Target customers whose private information was supposedly hacked?

No one likes to worry about identity theft and impaired credit ratings, the odds of which, according to Reuters, drastically increase for data breach victims. But that doesn't mean Target customers have a cause of action in federal court.

Full Story.

 

Litigation Finance Firm Raises $260 Million for New Fund

By William Alden | New York Times DealBook

An upstart investment firm that bets on lawsuits has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for its second fund.

The firm, Gerchen Keller Capital, is expected to announce on Monday that it has amassed about $260 million for the fund, bringing its total investor commitments to $310 million. The fresh capital, coming less than a year after Gerchen Keller opened its doors, underscores investors’ confidence in an obscure corner of Wall Street that has gained adherents in recent years.

Litigation finance, as the business is known, often involves bankrolling plaintiffs in exchange for a slice of the lawsuit’s potential winnings.

Full Story.

 

Corporate Takeover? In 2013, a Lawsuit Almost Always Followed

By Steven M. Davidoff | New York Times DealBook

These days, you can be sure that when a company announces it is being acquired, it will also be sued by a bevy of plaintiffs’ lawyers.

Full Story.

 

N.J. Senate Confirms Robert Hanna as Superior Court Judge

By Alexi Friedman | Star-Ledger

As Gov. Chris Christie’s choice for state Supreme Court judge, Robert Hanna waited a year for a confirmation hearing that never came. Senate Democrats blocked his selection and another Christie nominee to fill a different seat on the high court, fearing they would cause partisan imbalance.

Full Story.

 

Ceremony for Newest N.J. Justice, Fernandez-Vina, Set for Friday

By Salvador Rizzo | The Star-Ledger

The newest associate justice on the state Supreme Court, Faustino Fernandez-Vina, will be sworn in Friday in a ceremony at Rutgers University in Camden, the court announced today.

Fernandez-Vina, a Republican who was appointed last year by Gov. Chris Christie, joined the court Nov. 19 and has been hearing cases already.

Full Story.

 

BP Appeal to Stop 'Fictitious' U.S. Oil Spill Claims Fails

By Reuters

One of BP's attempts to curb payouts for what it says are "fictitious" and "absurd" claims related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill has failed after a legal appeal was rejected by a U.S. court.

Full Story.

 

Bill Protecting Rescue Squads from Lawsuits Hits a Dead End with Change of Legislative Session

By MaryAnn Spoto | The Star-Ledger

A bill protecting rescue squads from civil lawsuits stopped dead in its tracks Tuesday after the legislative session ended without the state Senate voting on the measure.

Full Story.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

New Jersey's Craziest Lawsuit of 2013 is...

Ladies and gentlemen: we have a 'winner'!

Craziest Lawsuit of 2013 Results

We asked for your opinion, and you told us: suing for $40 million because your son was booted from the school track team takes the cake for craziest lawsuit of them all. 

A distant second was a class action lawsuit alleging that the popular 'footlong' sandwich at Subway restaurants fell a fraction of an inch short in some stores. 

"I was surprised that the red light camera settlement didn't 'score' higher," said Marcus Rayner, NJLRA's executive director.  "Motorists were paying fines up to $140, and instead of recouping their losses, the attorney settled for over $4 million and kept the majority of it.  The average motorist will receive about $8." 

Interestingly, the Subway lawsuit and red light camera settlement were brokered by the same attorney, South Jersey-based Stephen DeNittis. 

"It was a profitable year for him," said Rayner.

Whether Lance Armstrong's autobiography could be considered a work of fiction and a golfer who sued a threesome for failing to yell "fore!" accounted for 10 and 12 percent of votes, respectively. 

The poll was conducted December 26th through the end of the year.  For previous winners, click here:

2010 | 2011 | 2012

Happy 2014!

Hope everyone had a happy, safe, and lawsuit-free New Year! The Legislature reconvenes on Monday, January 6th.  We will have the results of our 'Craziest Lawsuit' up shortly.