250 posts categorized "About NJLRA"

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Summer Internship at NJCJI

The New Jersey Civil Justice Institute is currently accepting applications for a paid summer internship at our Trenton office. The ideal candidate will be a current law student that is supportive of NJCJI's legal reform efforts, comfortable with legal research, and able to write for both a legal audience and the general public. Applicants should send a cover letter, writing sample, list of references, and resume to info@civiljusticenj.org by April 30. NJCJI is a 501(c)(6), so academic credit may also be possible depending on your institution's policies.

Friday, March 28, 2014

NJCJI’s Crash Course in Civil Justice Reform a Success

On Wednesday, March 26, 2014, NJCJI hosted a training session on civil justice reform for legislative staff, government affairs professionals, and other interested parties. The event featured remarks from NJCJI staff, practicing attorneys, and the business community, all focusing on what civil justice reform actually is and why it is important.

Continue reading "NJCJI’s Crash Course in Civil Justice Reform a Success" »

Friday, March 07, 2014

We've Moved

This week we moved into our new office building at 112 W. State Street in Trenton. Stop by and say hello the next time you are in the area!

NewOffice

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Chief Justice Rabner to Keynote NJCJI Luncheon

The New Jersey Civil Justice Institute is excited to announce that the Honorable Stuart Rabner, Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, will deliver remarks at the Institute’s Spring 2014 Membership Luncheon. The event will also include an update on NJCJI's legislative efforts, upcoming events, and our expanding work in the courts.

The event will be held on Wednesday, March 19th from 12:00 - 2:00 PM at the Trenton Country Club.

Register Now

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" »

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!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Legislative Update

Opportunity to Compete Act / "Ban the Box" A-3837

NJLRA Opposes

Status: Second Reading in Assembly

The Assembly Labor Committee advanced legislation on 12/16 which would prohibit employers from asking about a job applicant's criminal history until after the candidate has received a conditional offer of employment.  Only then could the employer conduct a background check or ask whether the person had ever been arrested or convicted of a crime.  If the applicant does have a criminal record, A-3837 restricts what types of crime can warrant rescinding that job offer. 

NJLRA is concerned that this legislation will expose businesses to liability.  Its companion bill, S-2586, has been referred to the Senate Labor Committee. 

 

Economic Opportunity Act II S-3030

NJLRA Supports

Status: Withdrawn from Consideration

The Economic Opportunity Act II of 2013 included a provision to cap appeal bonds at $50 million, which has been sought by the business community for years.  It advanced through the Senate Economic Growth Committee and was second referenced to the Senate Budget Committee before being withdrawn from consideration. 

 

"Good Samaritan Act" A-3694

NJLRA Supports

Status: Posted for Assembly vote on 12/19

Hundreds of licensed architects and engineers headed to parts of Alabama following their devastating tornados in 2011, contributing thousands of hours in pro-bono inspections.  What made Alabama's hospitality possible is a Good Samaritan Law which protects such volunteers from frivolous litigation.  A-3694 would allow New Jersey to welcome the same volunteerism during future natural disasters

See: One year after Sandy, a bill to welcome Good Samaritans in New Jersey

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fernandez-Vina nomination clears Senate Judiciary Committee

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to advance the nomination of Faustino Fernandez-Vina.  If confirmed by the full Senate, he would replace Justice Helen Hoens, whom Governor Christie declined to renominate.  

The Court currently has two vacancies, reflecting a three-year impasse between the Governor and Senate leadership.   

 

Friday, September 20, 2013

It's National Run At Work Day

Running is one of those things in life for which you can't buy an insurance policy, but there's no shortage of running-related injuries and lawsuits in America (cases in point). 

NJLRANational run at work day and the Insurance Council of New Jersey participated National Run At Work Day, which encourages employees across the country to spend 30 liability-free minutes running during their lunchbreak. 

Hope you've had a chance to engage your collegues in some free, non-litigious, non-insurable fun!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Honorable Roberto Rivera-Soto, live from NJLRA

Rivera-Soto at event crop
The Honorable Roberto Rivera-Soto
You may recall former N.J. Supreme Court Justice Roberto-Rivera Soto as the justice who declined to seek renomination to the State's highest court back in 2011, just as the current high court standoff began to unfold.

Rivera-Soto, who is now in private practice, was the keynote speaker at NJLRA's annual Fall Membership luncheon. He offered his insight about the current vacancies on the Court, critisms of the political structure which led to said vacancies, and praise for his former colleagues. 

 

 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Legislative update

"Unfair Wage Recovery Act," A-4124

Passed by AWC, 5-1 on 6/10/13

 

"Ban the Box," S-2586

Discussion in SLA on 6/13/13

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Read NJCJI's letter-to-the-editor in today's Wall Street Journal

NJCJI's President, Marcus Rayner, talks about how plaintiffs’ attorneys in New Jersey will be able to cash in on legislation governing sex abuse. 

He responded to a Wall Street Journal editorial which called out California for advancing a similar measure.  New Jersey’s proposal would carry even greater consequences.   

Thursday, May 23, 2013

NJCJI Executive Director Marcus Rayner testifies before the NJ Supreme Court

 

Marcus Rayner Headshot
Rayner

NJCJI's President, Marcus Rayner, testified before the state’s highest court on Tuesday, May 21st.  Rayner asked the justices to consider amending the state’s Rules of Evidence to ensure that evidence permitted in New Jersey courtrooms are of comparable caliber to evidence permitted at trial in other jurisdictions.  New Jersey’s Rules of Evidence, which act as a framework to determine whether evidence is admissible in court, have been heavily criticized for being too favorable to plaintiffs and their attorneys.  As a result, plaintiffs from across the country seek to have their cases heard in New Jersey courts whenever possible, where the standard for what may be considered evidence is notoriously and disproportionately low.  The past several years have seen an epidemic of “litigation tourism” in New Jersey as thirty-four other states have adopted all or part of the federal Daubert standard.  Amending New Jersey’s Rules of Evidence would likely cut down on litigation tourism and the associated costs of hearing the cases of non-New Jersey residents and warrant fewer instances of appellate review. 

 

Rayner was joined by Edward Fanning, who testified on behalf of the New Jersey Defense Association, and John Zen Jackson, testifying on behalf of the Medical Society. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Download media coverage of A-2878, the so-called 'Facebook bill'

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Citing liability concerns raised by NJCJI, Governor Christie conditionally vetoes 'Facebook bill'

The so-called "Facebook bill" (A2878) was hailed as a way to safeguard employees' online privacy.  But tucked away in sections 4 and 5, language would have permitted employees and prospective employees to sue businesses who inquired about their Facebook usage.

The legislation would still prohibit employers from requesting employees’ usernames and passwords for social media sites and impose a fine for repeat offenders.  It creates an appropriate level of enforcement without compromising employers’ ability to hire and retain qualified candidates. 

Read the Governor's conditional veto here:

Download A2878 CV

Friday, April 05, 2013

Legal reform and budget break

Legal reform has the power to spur economic growth while being budget-neutral.   It’s one of its most compelling arguments. 

But now that the Legislature is on a budget break hiatus – the period between the end of March and the end of June when only the Budget Committees meet to finalize next year’s fiscal budget – here are some tips to assuage your legal reform energy:

Take a look at your municipal budget.  How much money is your town or city spending on litigation costs?  It’s probably much higher than you think.  Could some endangered local government service be spared if its litigation tab weren’t so high?   Perhaps it’s worth mentioning at your next town council meeting, especially if a lot of cases are referred to expensive private firms.  You’ll be happy you spoke up when your next property tax bill is due. 

Review legal reform measures from this legislative session.  Can any of them advance after the budget break?  

Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester) also introduced several bills in late 2010 which would protect local governments from liability in certain instances where whether is to blame.  The bills were endorsed by the New Jersey League of Municipalities, which you can read about here

See where redistricting has left you.  Are you in a newly configured legislative district?  Use this as an opportunity to educate your legislators (most of whom are seeking reelection) on the importance of a business-friendly climate in New Jersey.  Even if they are familiar with the pro-growth arguments we make, they might not have thought about legal reform as a means to achieving economic growth.  You can check the new legislative map here to see if your municipality has been moved to a different district.

In sum, the budget break is a great time for legal reformers to connect the dots between economic growth in Trenton and municipal and family budgets at home.  It’s a great way to keep up the momentum and learn more about your community at the same time. 

 


Thursday, April 04, 2013

Diegnan/Gill legislation revising shareholder class action lawsuits, A-3123, is signed into law

Legislation which revises the law concerning derivative proceedings and shareholder class action lawsuits was signed into law by Governor Christie.  It was part of a package of bills sponsored by Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex) and Senator Nia Gill (D-Essex)to advance economic-growth initiatives as recommended by the Corporate and Business Law Study Commission. 

A derivative action is a suit brought by a small or minority shareholder against the corporation’s management or directors.  A-3123 establishes a minimum value of shares one needs in order to file such a suit.  It would also amend the parameters under which such a suit may be filed, allowing corporations to avoid unnecessary litigation and costs. 

Assemblyman Diegnan said this legislation would make New Jersey “even more attractive for businesses looking to set up shop or expand their presence in the state,” calling it a “common-sense update to our corporate business law to show that New Jersey is truly ‘open for business’” [read statement].

This sentiment was echoed by Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester) a cosponsor:

"With fierce competition on all sides from our neighboring states, we must seize any advantage that will help make New Jersey an even more attractive place in which to do business,”  he said.   

NJCJI thanks Governor Christie for signing A-3123, as well as the sponsors and cosponsors for addressing this issue. 

Monday, April 01, 2013

Read NJCJI's Letter-to-the-Editor in the Times of Trenton

NJCJI's letter-to-the-editor regarding the vacancies on New Jersey's highest court in Sunday's Times of Trenton.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Lacking support, S-2460 held by Senate Commerce Committee

The so-called 'bad faith' bill was held by the Senate Commerce Committee, due to a lack of support. 

 

Bad faith bill is bad policy for New Jersey

 

Read NJCJI's position here

Thursday, February 28, 2013

'Bad faith' bill is bad policy for New Jersey

S-2460, the covertly dubbed “Consumer Protection Act of 2012,” is a new lease on trial lawyers’ attempt to create a new cause of action for ‘bad faith’ (S-766/A-3434).

That bill, S-2460, is now scheduled for a hearing on Monday, March 4th, in the Senate Commerce Committee. 

Proponents argue that this bill will help policyholders who have been affected by Superstorm Sandy by codifying existing case law, protecting their right to sue insurance companies who fail to pay claims to which they are entitled.  In reality, it adds uncertainty and greater consumer costs to New Jersey's homeowners' insurance market:
  • Very few victims of Sandy will be helped.  Those who lacked flood coverage, had inadequate coverage limits, or could not afford their deductible could not file suit under this bill.
  • Policyholders would be able to recover damages in excess of the terms of their insurance contract.  In addition, they would be able to file for attorneys' fees, court costs, and prejudgment interest dating to the time the suit was filed.   
  • All New Jersey insurance customers, including businesses which purchase commercial insurance, will pay higher insurance premiums as a result.

And as we noted last month, many of us opt for lower premiums in exchange for higher deductibles.  Others quickly sign on the dotted line and hope we never meet the devil lurking in the details.  But when the worst happens, as many New Jerseyans experienced late last year, customers expect their insurer to cover their losses as defined in their coverage. 

New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co. (NJM) CEO Bernie Flynn told a legislative committee last month that they expect payouts to reach $300 million.  State Farm has made a point of expediting their 30,000 Sandy-related claims.  On some occasions, however, an insurer may fail to live up to their end of the agreement and deny payment to a customer.  New Jersey consumers are able to file suit against their insurer in these instances.  But recently reintroduced legislation threatens to add more bureaucracy and litigation into an already stressed civil justice system. 

S-2460, the covertly dubbed “Consumer Protection Act of 2012,” is a new lease on trial lawyers’ attempt to create a new cause of action for ‘bad faith’ (S-766/A-3434).  It wouldn’t simply codify existing case law with respect to ‘bad faith;’ rather, a court would only need to find that an insurer acted ‘unreasonably’ in order to win a bad faith case, adding subjectivity and the potential for awards beyond one’s coverage. 

Acting Department of Banking and Insurance commissioner Kenneth Kobylowski noted that New Jersey’s strong homeowners’ insurance market had rates near the national average despite having property values among the highest in the country. 

"To have average premiums in the middle of the marketplace is just a testament to how stable, how competitive and how well-run our homeowners' market is," he told NJ BIZ

But if the cost of doing business increases for New Jersey’s insurance industry, we can all expect our premiums to rise. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Subway is the latest example of why NJ's Consumer Fraud Act needs fixing

We can tell you that New Jersey’s courtrooms are among the nation’s easiest in which to file a ridiculous lawsuit, but sometimes the weaknesses of the NJCFA speak for themselves. 

Two New Jersey residents contend that the size of their ‘footlong’ sub from Subway fell short of twelve inches.  And with a straight face, they were able to file a lawsuit under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act with ease.  Their lawyer is seeking class-action status on behalf of everyone who’s purchased one and meets the criteria. 

A recent NJ BIZ article (Advocates hope bill takes bite out of N.J. fraud law / Jared Kaltwasser, 2/4/13)) examines a possible remedy for the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, sponsored by Assemblyman Craig Coughlin.  A-3264 has been referred to the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Register now for NJLRA's Spring Membership Luncheon, honoring two of New Jersey's Outstanding Legislators

March 12 event
There is no cost to attend.  Advanced registration is required.

When: Tuesday, March 12th, 12:00 p.m.

Where: Trenton Country Club

  REGISTER HERE

Thursday, February 07, 2013

A-1831 unanimously clears Assembly Health Panel

In our ongoing quest to keep good doctors practicing in New Jersey, NJLRA supported A-1831 before the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee, which advanced it with bipartisan support.

If enacted, A-1831 would help lower liability insurance premiums, which is frequently cited as a key reason for New Jersey’s so-called medical brain drain.  Insurance premiums begin to increase the moment a lawsuit is filed.  This bill would prevent insurance carriers from raising liability premiums based on a claim of medical practice, unless the physician is found liable in court.  It would also prohibit insurers from increasing liability premiums in certain charitable or emergency situations. 

A-1831 is an important first step to help reverse the public crisis of doctors fleeing our state, which is expected to worsen significantly in the next few years.  

Practicing specialized medicine in New Jersey is comparatively difficult for recent medical school graduates.  In addition to their student loans, new doctors must bear New Jersey’s high cost of liability insurance premiums.  Specialties which carry some of the highest premiums, including obstetrics and gynecology, disproportionately impact New Jersey women.  It is no longer cost effective for many existing OBGYNs in New Jersey to deliver babies, and many have stopped doing so altogether. 

We thank the committee and Chairman Conaway for their advancement of this measure. 

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Assembly Health Committee to hear medical liability reform measure

The Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee is scheduled to hear A-1831 on Thursday, marking an important step toward addressing deep concerns about the cost of liability insurance within the medical community.   

Sponsored by Chairman Herb Conaway (D-Burlington), A-1831 would prevent insurance carriers from raising liability premiums based on a claim of medical practice, unless the physician is found liable in court, and would prohibit insurers from increasing liability premiums in certain charitable or emergency situations. 

This legislation would also provide civil immunity to healthcare professionals who volunteer their services in good faith.  Civil immunity would be available to volunteer healthcare professionals who do not have an active provider-patient at the time of the emergency.  As our population outpaces the number of physicians we need to adequately care for the health of New Jersey residents, volunteer healthcare professionals will become increasingly important.  By offering civil immunity to these volunteer medical personnel, A-1831 takes a step toward addressing our New Jersey’s public health needs. 

Practicing specialized medicine in New Jersey is comparatively difficult for recent medical school graduates.  In addition to their student loans, new doctors must bear New Jersey’s high cost of liability insurance premiums.  Specialties which carry some of the highest premiums, including obstetrics and gynecology, disproportionately impact New Jersey women.  It is no longer cost effective for many existing OBGYNs in New Jersey to deliver babies, and many have stopped doing so altogether.  It’s not just a matter of addressing a significant healthcare cost-driver; it’s also about ensuring that New Jersey residents – especially women – have access to medical care.   

The hearing will take place at 10 a.m. in committee room 16.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Good Morning America puts the Subway lawsuit to the test

 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

And the worst lawsuit of 2012 is...

Carteret resident Ellen Shane’s “Thanks for saving my life.  That’ll cost you $5 million” lawsuit.    

  2012 worst lawsuit

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.  Read More

Shane ‘won’ this infamous distinction with nearly 2/3 of the vote, our widest Worst Lawsuit margin to date.

Thank you to everyone who participated in our poll! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

A-3282 Passes Assembly Health Committee with Bipartisan Support

A-3282 clarifies that first aid, ambulance or rescue squads, as entities, have immunity from civil damages in certain circumstances

While this may seem to be a routine legislative clarification, the catalyst case, Murray v. Plainfield Rescue Squad, was eye-opening. 

In August 2004, a young man was shot by his own brother.  Alive and able to speak, his parents immediately called 911.  The Plainfield Rescue Squad arrived by ambulance and fruitlessly performed CPR; some believe that if he had instead been immediately transported to the hospital, Odis Murray would have had a 20 – 30 percent chance of survival. 

The Murrays decided to file a wrongful death lawsuit – not against their other son, Akeem Murray, who intentionally fired the shot that killed Odis – but against the Plainfield Rescue Squad

A lower court found that the because the Squad provided “intermediate life support services in good faith,” they were protected from civil liability under N.J.S.A. 26:2K-29, also known as the Good Samaritan Act. 

The Supreme Court ultimately disagreed.  The spirit of the act was to protect volunteers acting in good faith from liability so as to not dissuade volunteer responders from helping in the first place.  While it specified who would be protected, it did not define ‘rescue squads’ clearly enough for the Court’s liking. 

“The Legislature chose to provide immunity to volunteer rescue squads and to rescue squads rendering advanced life support services,” wrote Justice Barry Albin in a unanimous decision.  “By the clear language of N.J.S.A. 26:2K-29, the Legislature chose not to provide immunity to rescue squads, as entities, rendering intermediate life support services.

“If the failure to provide immunity to such rescue squads was an oversight, any corrective measure must be taken by the Legislature.”

The Legislature took the first step toward clarifying the intent of the Act today.  Primary sponsors of A-3282 include Assemblymen Eric Peterson (R-Hunterdon), Anthony Bucco (R-Morris), and Chairman Herb Conaway (D-Burlington).  Its companion bill, S-2165, is sponsored by Senator Kip Bateman (R-Somerset) and has been referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.   

Click here for Assemblyman Conaway's statement.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

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

Happy-holidays_1750_1

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

When a child drinks cologne, by all means, sue the doctor...

It’s a story that’s easy to miss in the post-Sandy, post-Election Day, “fiscal cliff” news cycle, but one that will stick with you for a while after learning about it. 

A New Jersey appeals court has determined that an emergency room doctor must stand trial for failing to report to the Division of Youth and Family Services that he treated a child who ingested cologne. 

The 3-year-old patient, identified in court papers as “S.A.,” was abandoned by her mother soon after birth in 1998.  The Division (DYFS) placed her in the care of her father two years later.  She was brought to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune in early 2001 by other relatives, who said that she was “walking with an unsteady gait and was observed as lethargic and weak with an unusual odor on her breath.”

From a layman’s standpoint, it appears that the emergency room doctor, Daniel Yu, performed a thorough examination, leading him to conclude (correctly) that the young child ingested cologne.  She was treated and her extended family was on its way. 

Two months after the cologne incident, DYFS received a disturbing report: S.A., still under her father’s care, had been severely burned and beaten.  She had chemical burns on various parts of her body, including her vagina.  At this point S.A. was removed from her father’s custody by the Division.  She was later adopted by the plaintiff in this case, L.A. v. DYFS, A-2726-11, who is identified as L.A. in court papers. 

 

And in 2007, L.A. filed suit – not just against the Division, which evidently had some history with the child’s family – but against Dr. Yu and Jersey Shore University Medical Center.  DYFS settled with L.A. for $5 million.  No suit was filed against the child’s abuser.  

N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.10 requires anyone who believes a child is being abused or neglected to contact DYFS.  Mercer County Superior Court Judge Paul Innes didn’t believe that a toddler ingesting a foreign substance was indicative of abuse.  It’s the sort of thing that happens in the happiest of homes from time to time, to the tune of at least 100,000 childhood emergency room visits each year.  The appellate court, however, disagreed with his assessment, and the case will be going forward. 

The medical community fears that if Dr. Yu and the hospital are found liable, doctors and hospital staff will be pressured to report abuse for tiniest of infractions, overwhelming a DYFS system that is already overwhelmed and creating an adverse affect on children’s health and well-being.  The threat of DYFS involvement may discourage parents from seeking immediate care when children swallow things they shouldn’t, mask their child’s symptoms, or even deter them from bringing their child to the emergency room altogether in order to avoid the legal scrutiny and uncertainty to follow. 

The need to reform our legal system isn’t just about the taxes we pay or improving New Jersey’s economy.  It’s also about injecting common sense into real-life situations we all face. 

So, should the doctor and hospital be found liable of malpractice for not reporting that a toddler drank cologne to DYFS, you may want to prepare yourself for a barrage of questions the next time you take your kid to the E.R. for sticking a LEGO in his ear.     

Friday, November 16, 2012

Gas cans and natural disasters become the new face of legal reform

The chaos and heartache brought about by Hurricane Sandy forced New Jerseyans to appreciate the utilities and shelter we often take for granted, and incidentally, renewed our appreciation for gasoline and the containers which store it. 

You may not realize it, but if you used a gas can during Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath, it was likely manufactured by Blitz, a company in a small Oklahoma town.  And sadly, it's now a relic of the pre-lawsuit abuse era.

Blitz sold more than 14 million cans per year for the last decade, which translates to 75 percent of all gas cans sold in the United States.  Fewer than two incidents per million cans sold were reported, and most involved obvious misuse.  Pouring gasoline from the container onto an open fire was a common theme. 

Of the 62 cases filed since 1994, only two made it to court and only of those cases was successful.  The rest were settled or dismissed, notes a New York TImes report.  Nevertheless, it still cost the Oklahoma-based company $30 million in legal fees, and presumably, higher insurance premiums to cover the additional $30 million paid by their insurance companies.   Sadly, these costs of doing business in America forced the leading manufacturer of gas cans in the United States to close its 117-person operation for good.  Buying domestic also just got a bit harder. 

For New Jerseyans who retained their homes but lost their power, gasoline offered somewhat of a lifeline for those with generators to fill.  And as shelters and motels filled to capacity, generators were able to keep more people in their homes even as temperatures dropped.  A not-so-small silver lining during a catostrophic storm.   

Of course we hope we never see a storm of Sandy's magnitude ever again.  But if we do, the absence of Blitz in our markets may make generator-powered electricity a difficult commodity to deliver.  

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Resources: Donate. Volunteer. Get Help.

Volunteering

Help is needed in the Northern and Coastal parts of the state to sort donations and dispense meals, flashlights, and toiletries.  Jersey Shore Hurricane News has the most up-to-date information about where manpower is most needed, as well as find information about gas stations.  You can find them on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/JerseyShoreHurricaneNews.  The Red Cross also has a mobile app you can use to find blood donation sites.  Access it here to find out where to donate blood.  

Donating

Instantly donate $10 to the American Red Cross by texting "REDCROSS" to 90999. Donate online here. For non-cash donations, visit Jersey Shore Hurricane News for the most up-to-date dropoff locations.

FEMA and Small Business Assistance

Those affected by the storm in Atlantic, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union Counties must register with FEMA in order to receive assistance.  You may register with FEMA here.  The Federal Small Business Association may be able to assist those with businesses in the affected areas. 

Hurricane Sandy Resources - Where to Vote

Our thoughts are with our fellow New Jerseyans and those New Yorkers affected by Hurricane Sandy.  Below is a list of resources pertaining to voting, volunteering, donating, and accessing assistance. 

Voting

Eligible voters may cast a ballot at their county clerk’s office during regular business hours today and tomorrow.  (Click here for your county clerk’s location).  

Voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy may vote at ANY open polling location and may cast a provisional ballot.

For displaced voters with access to the Internet or a fax machine, you may vote by email or fax by downloading an application here

For additional questions, please call 1-877-NJVOTER.

Volunteering

Help is needed in the Northern and Coastal parts of the state to sort donations and dispense meals, flashlights, and toiletries.  Jersey Shore Hurricane News has the most up-to-date information about where manpower is most needed, as well as find information about gas stations.  You can find them on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/JerseyShoreHurricaneNews.  The Red Cross also has a mobile app you can use to find blood donation sites.  Access it here to find out where to donate blood.  

Donating

Instantly donate $10 to the American Red Cross by texting "REDCROSS" to 90999. Donate online here. For non-cash donations, visit Jersey Shore Hurricane News for the most up-to-date dropoff locations.

FEMA and Small Business Assistance

Those affected by the storm in Atlantic, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union Counties must register with FEMA in order to receive assistance.  You may register with FEMA here.  The Federal Small Business Association may be able to assist those with businesses in the affected areas. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Legislative Updates - "Facebook bill" advances, Statute of limitations bill stalls

The State Senate advanced legislation this week that would prohibit employers from asking employees and prospective employees about their social media usage.  While intended to protect workers’ privacy, NJLRA and other business advocates stress that the so-called Facebook bill creates a new provision for workers to sue their employers, and with it, great potential for abuse.  [Learn more about S-1915].

Legislation to amend New Jersey’s statute of limitations in certain civil cases was held from consideration by the full Senate.  NJLRA and other business advocates have voiced concerns about both S-1651 and S-2281.  [Learn more about NJLRA’s position].

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

NJLRA at the Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce Expo, today at the Sun National Bank Center

2012 Expo
Yup, those are bottle openers.  Thanks to the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Voss vs. Tranquilino decision, restaurants and their employees may be found liable for injuries drunk drivers cause themselves while driving drunk. 

Also making an appearance are “I stole this pen – sue me!” giveaways, NJLRA’s handy grocery bags, a how-to business owner’s guide to lobbying state government, and NJLRA’s new personal responsibility poster (or lack thereof, as the multitude of common sense disclaimers suggest). 

NJLRA will be here at the Sun National Bank Center on Hamilton Avenue until 3 p.m. today.  Stop by!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Be part of the solution!

Hard to believe it, but NJCJI turns 5 this month! And incase you still aren't quite sure what exactly legal reform is all about, here's a message from our President:

 

 

Here's to the next five! 

Friday, October 05, 2012

Legislative Update - The "Facebook bill"

S-1915, which prohibits employers and prospective employers from requesting access to workers’ social networking accounts, was passed by the full Senate.  While NJLRA applauds the sponsors’ intent to protect employees’ privacy, the Senate did not amend Section 5 which would give current and prospective employees new grounds to sue businesses. 

NJLRA supported removing this clause.  Casual conversation over the mere existence of a social networking page with a subordinate, for instance, would become a thing of the past. Forgetting that could cost employers tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees – and it also gives the disgruntled ex-employee or the unqualified job applicant unprecedented leverage over their employer.   

Previous post.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

ICYMI: Read NJLRA’s Letter-to-the-Editor in the Asbury Park Press

Reforms to liability laws might keep doctors in N.J.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Legislative Update

Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) introduced legislation which would give judges more discretion in cases involving the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. Under current law, the court is required to award threefold the damages sustained by any person in interest and attorneys’ fees, filing fees and reasonable costs if a violation occurs. This bill, A-3264, gives the court discretion in awarding damages. They would not be permitted to exceed three times the actual damages sustained by the consumer. The bill also provides that the consumer fraud act applies only to New Jersey residents and transactions that take place within the State. A-3264 has been referred to the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee. The full text can be found here, on the Legislature’s website.

Friday, September 21, 2012

NJ is Treacherous Ground for Physicians: A Panel Discussion

Ten years ago the Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) worked hard to enact meaningful medical liability reform in New Jersey.  Since then, court decisions have gutted key statutes and insurance premiums have skyrocketed.  We are now on the brink of a severe doctor shortage as other states enact liability reform and attract new physicians. 

MSNJ will be hosting a panel discussion on Thursday, September 27th with leading legislative and legal experts to discuss what can be done to combat the unique issues facing New Jersey’s doctors and their impact on public health. 

To register for this free event, please click here to visit the Medical Society’s website

Thursday, September 13, 2012

NJCJI welcomes Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. to Annual Membership Luncheon

Kean_event_marcus
President Marcus Rayner greets Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean (R-Union) at NJCJI's annual Fall Membership Luncheon

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Since it's peak convention season, now is the perfect time to REGISTER to VOTE!



While we’re all embroiled in patriotism (or nausea, depending on your perspective), now is the time to keep the momentum going and turn your sentiments into action.  The deadline to register to vote is October 16th, not Election Day.  Click here and follow prompts to register.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Have a happy, safe, and lawsuit-free Labor Day from NJLRA!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Register for NJLRA’s Annual Fall Membership Luncheon!

With fall just around the corner, it’s time to register for NJLRA’s annual Fall Membership Luncheon!  This year’s speaker will be Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr.  It will take place on Thursday, September 13th at noon at the Trenton Country Club.

Time flies, so register today! 

 Click here to register online.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Why we’re opposed to the statute of limitations bill on today’s Senate board list

Child sexual predators exist everywhere.  They harm children from all demographics and shatter families from all socio-economic statuses.  It often takes years for victims to come forward and bring their accusers to justice.  Like most reasonable people, we understand this reality.  And that is why a criminal statute of limitations does not exist in New Jersey, and is not in question. 

What today’s legislation addresses is the ability of victims to sue for damages.  The civil statute of limitations is a time limit on cases brought by accusers seeking monetary damages from sex abuses or their employers for the abuses they have suffered.  The statute of limitations on these efforts is currently two years from the time a person realizes that they have been injured by sexual abuse, not from the act itself.  Advocates maintain that this window is not long enough. 

Senator Paul Sarlo and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald agree.  They have introduced legislation known as the Child Protection Act of 2012, which would bring the civil statute of limitations to 10 years from the time a victim realizes they have been abused instead of the 2 years currently on the books in New Jersey.  And it would hold their employers and supervisors accountable from this point forward. 

Unfortunately, that is not the legislation that the Senate will be voting on today.  Today’s legislation, S-1651, would completely eliminate the civil statute of limitations in all sex abuse cases.   And it would be applied retroactively, leaving all current board members and officials vulnerable to claims which may or may not have occurred decades ago.  And unlike criminal trials, the burden of proof is much lower in civil cases, so mounting any sort of defense is likely in vain.  The most damning cases would undoubtedly be the ones involving public schools and municipalities, because ultimately, it’s the taxpayer’s dime that will be used to settle claims. 

Today’s legislation is well-intentioned.  But it takes a step beyond what is rational under the American judicial system.  Child sex abuse victims experience society at its worst.  They shouldn’t have to carry the financial burdens of therapy as they move forward; it is the responsibility of the perpetrator and those who have failed the child.  But the legislation being considered today swings too far in the opposite direction.  New Jersey’s honest charities, volunteers, and taxpayers will be left exposed to a plethora of indefinite, unintended consequences and opportunities for the dishonest to take advantage of the law’s newly-expanded liabilities.  And it’s an expense all of us will bear. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Christie, Romney, and Legal Reform

Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential pick.  This means Governor Christie officially belongs to New Jersey for at least another 16 months. 

With movement on pension and education reform, legal reform and medical liability reform may rise on the Governor’s agenda.  The need for legal reform has grown more apparent in recent months as studies confirmed that New Jersey will face a shortage of physicians by the end of the decade.  The State Senate unanimously passed legislation authorizing DHSS to convene a summit to analyze the shortage’s implications for New Jersey residents; its Assembly counterpart, A-1828, awaits action by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Rayner on Aurora Massacre: Don’t blame Warner Brothers

Listen to executive director Marcus Rayner discuss the first of what is expected to be many lawsuits stemming from the movie theatre massacre in Aurora, Colorado on 1210 WPHT Philadelphia with Rich Zeoli. 

“There’s only one person who’s responsible, and it’s the guy who’s been arrested.”

The controversial lawsuit was filed by a survivor of the massacre who was not physically injured.  His lawyers say they are considering filing suit against everyone from Warner Brothers to the shooter’s doctors, to the move theater itself.  The suspect, who was unemployed, does not seem to make the cut.   

You can listen to the entire segment here: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/personality/rich-zeoli/#

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Have a happy, safe, and lawsuit-free 4th of July from NJLRA!

Red light cameras proponents say such cameras at intersections make our roads safer, deterring motorists from running them and causing serious accidents.  But many New Jersey motorists and taxpayers criticize them as being unfair for failing to take justifiable conditions into consideration, a fundraiser for cash-strapped government entities, a great way to get rear-ended by tailgaters, if not all of the above. 

Two South Jersey residents filed the first putative class-action lawsuit against Cherry Hill Township last month.  They say that yellow signals are too short at such intersections, in violation of regulations set by the Legislature in 2008, and a refund is issued to drivers.  The refunds would be administered by a court-supervised program.  It’s unclear how much (if anything) individual motorists would reclaim once attorneys’ fees and administrative costs are calculated. 

Read more in the New Jersey Law Journal.   

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How will SCOTUS Obamacare decision affect NJ? Read NJCJI’s op-ed in the Star-Ledger to find out

Excerpt:

Later this week, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as “Obamacare.” The law’s constitutionality has sparked discussions and debate over the past three years as we vet the best way to keep ourselves healthy. But irrespective of your position on the mandates and regulations that comprise it, New Jersey has a health care crisis all its own — one that has the potential to affect how its residents access specialized medical care in the very near future, and one that the court’s decision isn’t likely to affect.

New Jersey’s crisis is a shortage of doctors. And the hemorrhaging will affect us all.

Ask around and you’re likely to hear frustration about the amount of time it takes to schedule a visit with an OB-GYN. Unfortunately, that is becoming the norm. The New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals reports that there is already a 12 percent gap between physician supply and demand. New Jersey’s medical schools graduated 860 newly minted physicians in 2009; only 370 stayed in the state. By 2020, New Jersey is expected to be short an additional 3,000 physicians needed to care for its population.

And these shortages are most profound in obstetrics, cardiovascular specialties and family medicine. In short, women will bear the brunt.

Link.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

“Ambulance-chaser” bills advance

On Monday, the Assembly Judiciary Committee advanced legislation to prevent accident reports from being made available to the general public for 90 days following an accident.  Such reports are often aggressively sought by trial lawyers, which prompted Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz to dub the legislation, A-801, the “ambulance chaser bill.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a similar measure on Thursday, which would bar solicitation for 30 days following an accident.  S-761 is sponsored by Senator Nicholas Scutari

According to a report by Michael Booth in the New Jersey Law Journal, constituents often expressed concern to the legislators after receiving pieces of mail from attorneys referencing their “upcoming court case.”   The current Assembly version of the bill would require the word “advertisement” to be included on such mailers, in capital letters.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Legislative Alert: Insurance Fraud, False Claims Legislation to be heard on Monday

A-944, which establishes and enhances certain insurance fraud measures, will be heard in the Assembly Financial Institutions Committee on Monday, June 18th
at 10 a.m. in Committee Room 15

NJLRA supports A-944

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A-2165, which would change the effective date of the New Jersey False Claims Act, will be heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on
Monday, June 18th
at 10 a.m. in Committee Room 12

NJLRA opposes A-2165
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Please contact Marcus Rayner for more information about either of the above.