54 posts categorized "Governor Christie"

Thursday, April 03, 2014

State Bar Forum on Judicial Independence Long on Complaints, Short on Solutions

The New Jersey State Bar Association’s Task Force on Judicial Independence held the first of its four public hearings on April 1, 2014, at the New Jersey Law Center.  Though over 20 people testified at the three-hour hearing, few offered concrete suggestions for how the court system could be improved. The majority of the testimony focused on perceived problems with the system.

Continue reading "State Bar Forum on Judicial Independence Long on Complaints, Short on Solutions" »

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Christie Outlines Budget Priorities

On February 26, Gov. Christie delivered his budget address to a joint session of the legislature, officially kicking off negotiations on the state’s FY 2015 budget. The legislature’s focus for the next few months will essentially be on the budget, as it must be passed by July 1.


Continue reading "Christie Outlines Budget Priorities" »

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bridgegate Update

The Bridgegate scandal continues to dominate the New Jersey political scene, drawing the media’s and the legislature’s attention away from other issues. The ripple effects of the investigation are being felt well beyond the legislature as the number and scope of subpoenas increases.

Continue reading "Bridgegate Update" »

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

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" »

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.



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

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

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, 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. 



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, 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, May 30, 2012

Bruce Harris nomination tomorrow, 10 a.m.

Some say it's a done deal: Bruce Harris, Mayor of Chatham and Governor Christie's Supreme Court nominee, won't be approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow. 

The Star-Ledger reported this last week (Spoto, 5/22), and others have weighed in since.  Here is a sampling:

"Before a second of testimony has been heard or a single question has been asked, once again Democrats are disrespecting the nomination process and rushing to judgment to kill another qualified man’s nomination before he even sits in the committee room."- Kevin Roberts, spokesman for Governor Christie

"The nomination of Mr. Harris sends the wrong message, that we can only achieve diversity on the Supreme Court through lowering the bar for qualifications.  In a state with many distinguished African-American lawyers and judges, nothing could be further from the truth." – Senator Ronald Rice, leader of the NJ Black Legislative Caucus

"I don’t think it’s going to be an extremely long hearing because there’s just not a lot of experience to question him on," Senator Nick Scutari, Senate Judiciary Chair

(and of course)

"It's interesting that someone like Nick Scutari, with his educational background [found Harris unqualified]" - Governor Christie

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Protecting those who help others is gaining traction in New Jersey

In recent years, concerns regarding civil liability have prompted some entities and individuals to think twice before getting involved during an emergency. 

A trio of bills, including one which is scheduled for consideration by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee on Thursday, seeks to change that.


A-2178/S-1165                          Status: on AHE agenda, 5/10/12

Many New Jerseyans rely on healthcare services offered by federally qualified health centers, nonprofit clinics, and retired-but-certified volunteer physicians who provide treatment.  The threat of liability for these individuals and entities, however, is a powerful disincentive.   Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Herb Conaway and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg would provide civil immunity to the aforementioned acting in good faith. 


A-2099/S-1416                        Status: 2nd reading the Assembly

When a West Virginia woman was unable to speak after calling 9-1-1, first responders arrived at her home but did not have consent to forcibly enter.  She was later found dead by family members.  An assembly committee approved legislation which would grant civil immunity to first responders who must forcibly enter a property in order to provide emergency assistance.  It awaits consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee (contact Senator Scutari).    


 A-832/S-852                        Status: Signed into law

Automatic external defibrillators can save lives if they are used within the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest.  That is why the John Taylor Babbitt (JTB) Foundation made it its mission to fundraise and donate AEDs to places of public assembly, according to the Chatham Patch and Mendham-Chester Patch.  The problem the Foundation encountered is that for each device donated, 8 – 10 were being rejected.  The reason, according to JoAnne Babbitt, is that some organizations, including churches, youth recreation leagues, and schools, will not accept a donated AED because of the increased liability they assume.  AEDs were not covered under New Jersey’s Good Samaritan law. 

Fortunately, that changed with the stroke of a pen last week, as the Governor signed A-832/S-852 into law with overwhelming legislative support from both parties.  Senator Nicholas Scutari was the lone legislator to vote against it.  New Jersey has joined the ranks of 43 other states which grant civil immunity to those who own or utilize an automatic external defibrillator (AED) during a cardiac arrest. 


Let’s hope the positive momentum help A2178 and S1416 materialize as well. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Co$t of bullying

Many of New Jersey’s school districts have maintained that New Jersey’s bipartisan anti-bullying law, while well-intentioned, is a costly unfunded mandate.  A state panel agreed, which prompted the law’s sponsors and Governor Christie to allocate $1 million to the state’s local school districts in order to help them pay for staffing and training. 

As the Gloucester County Times pointed out in an editorial earlier this month, $1 million spread over 612 school districts isn’t likely to quell the districts’ concerns regarding the law’s cost. 

And as NJLRA points out in a letter-to-the-editor, with so many bureaucratic nuisances, litigation is all but assured. 

“It ought to be possible to have an effective anti-bullying strategy in each of our schools without breaking anyone’s bank,” the GC Times wrote.

New Jersey needs a strong anti-bullying law. But with respect to this particular law, the bleeding has only begun.

Read NJLRA’s letter here

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

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

**Legislative Updates**

Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula’s “Trade Secrets Act” was passed unanimously by the General Assembly during Monday’s voting session.  Under A-921/S-2456, a company or organization would be able to sue for damages or losses that result from someone taking proprietary information (a recipe, chemical formula, invention, intellectual property, etc.) and trying to profit from it by selling it or manufacturing it.  If I take a secret recipe for a food item, sell it and make money from it, for instance, I would have to pay royalties to the company or person from whom I stole it.   A-921/S-2456 has now passed both houses and has the support of NJLRA. 

On the agenda for Thursday’s Assembly Regulated Professions Committee hearing is A-3929, which would require civil actions against certain licensed professionals (including most doctors) to be brought within two years instead of six.  This is especially important as witnesses become unavailable and records are destroyed over the extended period.  NJLRA supports this bill and looks forward to the committee’s favorable passage.  It is sponsored by Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson).

Monday, August 15, 2011

We’re officially encouraged by Governor Christie’s remarks at the Jersey Shore last week:

Christie on Perry: a laudable record on tort reform (Max Pizarro / Politicker NJ)

Tort reform was a key element in Texas’s economic recovery at a pace unheard of in most other states.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Patterson nomination confirmed by the Senate

Anne Patterson’s nomination to the New Jersey Supreme Court was approved late last night by the Senate, by a vote of 36-0

Senators Madden and Lesniak abstained, while Senator Stack was not present at the time the vote was recorded.  Senator Ciesla was absent. 

Patterson will assume the seat being vacated by Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto this fall.   

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

NJ Supreme Court Update

In case you missed it, Edwin Stern, who was temporarily appointed to the New Jersey Supreme Court by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner following the Justice Wallace controversy, retired last week after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70. 

Justice Rabner has temporarily appointed Judge Dorothea O’C Wefing from the Appellate Division to serve on state’s the high court. 

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Patterson nomination approved by Senate Judiciary Committee

 Nominee received bipartisan support from Senate Panel

Citing her temperament and diversity of experience, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Anne Patterson to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Patterson declined to speak in-depth about ongoing matters before the Court, but said she fully appreciated the distinct roles of an activist and a judge. 

"Clearly you have the requisite skills to serve in this position," said Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), who chairs the committee.

Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), who previously cited concerns about the Court's lack of racial diversity, voted against Patterson’s nomination.

Patterson, 52, was originally nominated in May 2010 by Governor Chris Christie to fill the vacancy left by Justice John Wallace, whom he did not renominate for tenure. She was ultimately nominated to fill the anticipated vacancy left by Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto, who announced that he will not seek tenure.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Patterson hearing scheduled to begin today at 1 p.m.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin reviewing Anne Patterson’s nomination to the State Supreme Court today at 1 p.m., according to reports, in Committee Room 4. 

Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), who chairs the Judiciary Committee, told the Star-Ledger that the panel would be “looking for her [Patterson’s] philosophical views and thoughts on certain “facts and circumstances.”  He plans to ask how she would feel if she were not reappointed to the bench after seven years “for the same reasons Wallace was not reappointed.”   

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Anne Patterson hearing scheduled for Tuesday, May 31st at 1:00 p.m.

You can listen to the hearing live on the Legislature’s homepage.   

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Supreme Court Update: Patterson will be scheduled for May 24th

Full consideration by the State Senate is expected to take place in June, according to sources.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

New Jersey Supreme Court 101

The path Anne Patterson is taking to the State’s highest Court can be confusing to most non-judicial scholars.  Let’s recap:

The basics

The New Jersey Supreme Court is made up of 7 justices, compared to 9 on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Justices are initially nominated by the Governor and are referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.  Once the State Senate bestows its blessing on the nominee, the Justice serves for an initial term of seven years. 

Following the seven year term, the Governor decides whether to nominate the Justice for tenure.  All justices must retire by age 70, if not sooner. 

Tradition calls for three justices of each party to occupy the bench, with the seventh justice to be of the Governor’s party. 

The road less traveled

Approximately one year ago this week, Governor Christie bucked tradition by choosing not to appoint Justice John Wallace for lifetime tenure – a tenure that would last two years, until he reached the mandatory retirement age.   Governors have traditionally nominated Justices for lifetime appointment despite the Justice’s party affiliation, which some argue is necessary so Justices aren’t pressured to take political conditions into their decisions on the Court. Others argue that it is the Governor’s right to base lifetime tenure on ideology as well as moral integrity.  Governor Christie then announced his intention to appoint Anne Patterson, a Republican, to the Supreme Court. 

 This is where Patterson’s path to the high court becomes unique.  In response to the bucking of tradition, Senate President Steve Sweeney declared that the Democratically-controlled legislature would not hold a hearing on Anne Patterson’s nomination until Wallace’s lifetime term would have ended in 2012.  The Governor did not budge on his decision not to nominate Wallace. 

 This left a vacant seat on the court.  In keeping with precedent, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner appointed appellate judge Edward Stern as a temporary justice.  Chief Justices have traditionally nominated the senior appellate judge to temporarily fill a vacancy on the high court when one occurs. 

 Not everyone was happy.  Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto declared in December, via a Court decision, that he would abstain from the Court’s decisions in protest because he did not believe Rabner did not have the authority to appoint a temporary justice.  Rivera-Soto later modified his stance, saying he would indeed vote on cases where Stern's vote did not affect the outcome.  Calls for Rivera-Soto’s immediate resignation grew louder from Senate Democrats and newspaper editorial boards.  A few weeks later, he informed Governor Christie that he would not seek renomination when his term ends this September. 

 Fast-forward to this week.  With the possibility of two vacancies on the Supreme Court this fall looming, Governor Christie and Senate President Sweeney announced that they reached an agreement: The Senate Judiciary Committee would consider Anne Patterson’s nomination by the end of May – to the seat about to be vacated by Justice Rivera-Soto, not Justice Wallace. 

Senate Judiciary Committee

Approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee is the next step in this process.  The Committee, headed by Senator Nick Scutari (D-Union) is made up of a total of eight Democrats.  There are five Republicans on the Committee.

Senator Ray Lesniak (D-Union) said that he intends to vote no.  Senators Scutari and Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Union) have released statements.

 LRW will keep you informed as the hearing unfolds. 

Monday, May 02, 2011

NJLRA Statement on Anne Patterson Nomination

NJLRA issued the following statement after the announcement that Governor Christie and Senate President Sweeney agreed to hold a hearing on the nomination of Anne Patterson to the seat being vacated by Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto on the State Supreme Court:

"We applaud Governor Christie and Senate President Sweeney for coming together to advance Anne Patterson's nomination and we look forward to a thoughtful hearing on her well-qualified candidacy.

“A strong and fully-constituted Supreme Court is vital to New Jersey's business community, as important issues decided by the Court directly impact New Jersey’s economic competitiveness.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

NJLRA joins Innovation New Jersey

Continuing our quest to promote economic growth in New Jersey, NJLRA has joined Innovation New Jersey, a coalition of the state’s leading business and higher education organizations.

Innovation New Jersey seeks to foster the life sciences and biotechnology industries in New Jersey by uniting the state’s business and higher education communities.  NJLRA is optimistic that enacting meaningful lawsuit reform measures will encourage an innovation-based economy by making it safe for responsible pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to operate here in New Jersey. 

“Statistics show that New Jersey’s pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are a leading source of jobs and economic stability in New Jersey,” said Marcus Rayner, executive director of NJLRA.  “By protecting these companies from frivolous litigation, we are allowing them to invest more of their resources into doing what they do best: creating jobs and saving lives.”

Innovation New Jersey has received the support of Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno.  Together, the coalition hopes to achieve the following:

  • Encourage increased private and public sector research and development;
  • Promote the commercialization of new medicines, technologies and products to improve the quality of life globally;
  • Stimulate economic growth in New Jersey;
  • Retain and advance high-paying innovation-related jobs in the State;
  • Increase the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) related graduates from New Jersey colleges and universities.

A complete list of Innovation New Jersey’s members can be found on INJ’s new website, http://innovationnj.net/

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The New Map

As most LRW readers already know, New Jersey’s new legislative district map has arrived.  Changes weren’t as drastic as some anticipated, and what this means for tort reform over the next decade remains to be seen.  LehighValleyLive.com has the before and after photos:   


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Will trial lawyers make Caterpillar Inc. regret staying in Illinois?

Last month, we underscored Governor Christie’s pitch to attract Illinois businesses in an op-ed.  New Jersey’s “well-educated, diverse talent pool” and “innovative financing, incentive, and assistance programs” for new businesses is ideal for entrepreneurship – especially to a state which raised its corporate tax rate from 4.8 to 7 percent. 

The CEO of one business, however, recently told Illinois Governor Pat Quinn that his business would stay – but that the state’s business climate needs to change.   

Doug Oberhelman, CEO of Caterpillar Inc., which manufactures heavy equipment in the Peoria area, employs 23,000 people.  Governor Quinn reportedly acknowledged that the state’s business image is in need of an overhaul. 

Illinois ranked eighth in the region in job growth as a percentage of its population last year, according to Chicago Business.  To the chagrin of Caterpillar’s overseas representatives, personal income tax also rose, from 3 percent to 5 percent.  They expressed concern about the company’s ability to attract engineers, and reiterated that even if Governor Quinn’s call for a 30 percent reduction in businesses’ liability for workers compensation is enacted, Illinois would still have the 2nd highest rates in the nation. Illinois businesses also want to see a cap on civil liability. 

Governor Quinn also told Oberhelman that he plans to invest in Illinois’s infrastructure and help manufacturing companies improve their ability to export.  Let’s hope that that Illinois trial lawyers don’t take it as a green light to invest in workers compensation lawsuits in the meantime. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Read NJLRA’s op-ed in the Home News Tribune & Courier News

Lawsuit abuse a continuing drag on NJ business

By Marcus Rayner | March 29, 2011

“From a college student suing a Chinese restaurant for soup she spilled on herself (Somerset County), to a drunken motorcyclist who drives into a parked car and sues a restaurant (Ocean County), lawsuit abuse has an economic impact on businesses in every corner of the state. Every dollar spent fighting nonsense lawsuits is a dollar not spent on innovation or job creation, and it doesn't need to be this way.”

 Several hundred miles from here, Illinois business owners are learning about a place with an abundant supply of workplace talent and a high-quality lifestyle sure to make any entrepreneur envious. Weary from crippling tax hikes, a labor shortage and a shrinking consumer base, Illinois business owners can only dream about this land of milk and honey: New Jersey.

"Well-educated, diverse talent pool," reads the ad, placed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Want to start a business? "Innovative financing, incentive and assistance programs. Exceptional quality of life."

The catch? Here in New Jersey, businesses are vulnerable to lawsuit abuse. Everything the ad says about New Jersey is true. Christie's efforts to improve the business climate in New Jersey, combined with our state's existing assets make New Jersey fertile grounds for entrepreneurship. His outreach to the national business community is both constructive and sorely needed as we seek to reclaim our economic footing here in New Jersey. And business retention as well as recruitment will be critical to our economic growth over the next decade, a point that leaders in both political parties have made.

Click here to read entire piece.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Photos from NJLRA's Spring Membership Luncheon

Rich Bagger, Governor's Chief of Staff
Rich Bagger, Chief-of-Staff to Governor Christie

Marcus Audience


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Governor: NJ will double R&D tax credit

Governor Chris Christie’s budget address included several tax cut proposals, the first of which would be significant to one of New Jersey’s signature industries: pharmaceuticals. 

“We will double our State Research and Development Tax credit to encourage High Tech and Bio-Tech entrepreneurs to create their next great discovery, and the jobs that go with it, right here in New Jersey,” he said. 

New Jersey’s pharmaceutical companies have been shedding jobs over the past few years, according to the Healthcare Institute of New Jersey. Doubling New Jersey’s Research and Development Tax credit, as encouraging as it is, address our hemorrhaging of pharmaceutical jobs in part.  Imagine how much further this proposal would reach if coupled with meaningful tort reform legislation to address the assault on the industry by the trial bar

A-3333, which would reform New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act, comes to mind.  After all, why should New Jersey settle for “Hellhole” status when it has the potential to host High Tech and Bio-Tech entrepreneurship? 

The prepared text of the Governor’s budget address is available here

Governor’s budget address today at 2 p.m. EST

You can listen to Governor Christie’s budget address live via NJN

Monday, February 14, 2011

Which state is the most litigious in the nation? New Jersey, of course…

NJLRA’s former chair, Taysen Van Itallie, underscores just how serious New Jersey’s “Sue Me” image has gotten in the New Jersey Law Journal.

New Jersey had 10,579 new civil cases in 2008 – more than twice as many filed in Illinois, a state with a larger population. 

It begs the question: how exactly can we make our state more attractive to businesses without addressing the tort situation? 

“Businesses of all sizes are sensitive to a state’s lawsuit climate.  Let’s be sure we have a plan to improve ours,” writes Van Itallie. 

You can read his entire op-ed in the New Jersey Law Journal here

Monday, January 31, 2011

Good reading: Tort reformers have momentum in NJ

Sherman “Tiger” Joyce, president of the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA), had the following to say about New Jersey’s prospects for civil justice reform in The Metropolitan Corporate Council publication:

“Of course, the litigation industry also remains strong throughout New Jersey, home to once-and-future judicial hellholes, and ATRA expects it to again push an expansion of wrongful death liability while actively opposing consumer fraud reform. But tort reformers, backed by Governor Chris Christie, have some momentum. They support three affirmative reform bills already filed during the current legislative session. One seeks to limit appeal bonds to the total value of the monetary judgment or $50 million, whichever is less. Another would revise the individual's cause of action under the Consumer Fraud Act and make other revisions regarding applicability (see trial lawyers' opposition noted earlier). The third pertains to liability, standards of care and insurance coverage for medical malpractice actions.”

Monday, January 10, 2011

Right after swearing in, Wisconsin Governor starts tackling tort reform

As Governor Christie prepares for his State-of-the-State address, most of us in the Garden State probably didn’t take much note of the gubernatorial changing-of-hands in Wisconsin earlier this month. 

Newly minted Governor John Walker convened a Special Legislative Session to introduce his Civil Justice Reform Package.  It’s a significant part of his “Wisconsin is open for businesses” campaign.

Expert testimony, non-economic damage award limits, and product-liability are key reforms included in this proposal.  You can learn more about Governor Walker’s pro-civil justice agenda here

SR – 100 – Non-binding resolution encouraging Justice Rivera-Soto to resign – will be heard in Senate Judiciary this morning

SR – 100 – Non-binding resolution encouraging Justice Rivera-Soto to resign – is being heard in Senate Judiciary this morning.

The measure is sponsored by Senators Gill, Lesniak, and Scutari.  The Assembly could also impeach the embattled Justice, who has announced his decision not to seek reappointment when his term ends in the fall, and vows to abstain from court decisions until then. 

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto Won’t Seek Reappointment

New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto, who infamously declared last month that he would abstain from rulings while a temporary justice fills the vacant seat of former Justice John Wallace Jr., announced to Governor Christie that he will not pursue his own renomination.   

Justice Rivera-Soto’s term ends in September.  Senate President Steve Sweeney has vowed not to hold a confirmation hearing on Anne Patterson, whom Governor Christie nominated to succeed Justice Wallace, until 2012, when Justice Wallace would have reached New Jersey’s mandatory retirement age.  Governor Christie, for his part, has vowed not to nominate a replacement for Justice Rivera-Soto until a hearing on Patterson is held. 

It remains to be seen whether the Governor will appoint Anne Patterson to fill Justice Rivera-Soto’s anticipated vacancy, or if New Jersey will have two vacancies on its Supreme Court instead. 

Supreme Court Justices serve a 7-year term and are then eligible for tenure until the mandatory retirement age of 70.  The Star-Ledger published the following New Jersey Supreme Court timeline in today’s edition:


Sunday, January 02, 2011

Legislative Calendar is up (January – March 2011)

Below are the 2011 legislative committee dates for the committees of particular interest to NJLRA (Judiciary, Health and Senior Services, & Economic Growth), along with anticipated voting session dates for the Assembly and Senate.  Legislative Digest also has the complete committee legislative calendar through March 21st online. 


 SENATE SESSION 2:00 PM Senate Chambers

Voting Session: Board list to be announced

 ASSEMBLY SESSION Assembly Chambers

Voting Session: Time and board list to be announced


 SENATE SESSION 2:00 PM Senate Chambers

Voting Session: Board list to be announced

 ASSEMBLY SESSION Assembly Chambers

Voting Session: Time and board list to be announced



Joint Session to receive Governor's State of the State Address.


 SENATE QUORUM 12:00 PM Senate Chambers

1:00 PM: Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens scheduled to meet

 ASSEMBLY QUORUM Assembly Chambers

10:00 AM: Group (A) Assembly Health and Senior Services scheduled to meet

2:00 PM: Group (B) Assembly Commerce and Economic Development scheduled to meet


 ASSEMBLY QUORUM Assembly Chambers

10:00 AM: Group (C) Assembly Judiciary Committee scheduled to meet


 SENATE QUORUM 12:00 PM Senate Chambers

10:00 AM: Group (3) Senate Economic Growth scheduled to meet

1:00 PM: Group (4) Senate Judiciary scheduled to meet


 ASSEMBLY QUORUM Assembly Chambers

10:00 AM: Group (A) Assembly Health and Senior Services scheduled to meet

2:00 PM: Group (B) Assembly Commerce and Economic Development scheduled to meet


 SENATE QUORUM 12:00 PM Senate Chambers

1:00 PM: Group (2) Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens scheduled to meet


 ASSEMBLY QUORUM Assembly Chambers

10:00 AM: Group (C) Assembly Judiciary Committee scheduled to meet


 SENATE QUORUM 12:00 PM Senate Chambers

10:00 AM: Group (3) Senate Economic Growth scheduled to meet

1:00 PM: Group (4) Senate Judiciary scheduled to meet


 SENATE SESSION 2:00 PM Senate Chambers

Voting Session: Board list to be announced

 ASSEMBLY SESSION Assembly Chambers

Voting Session: Time and board list to be announced


 SENATE QUORUM 12:00 PM Senate Chambers

11:00 PM: Group (2) Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens scheduled to meet

ASSEMBLY QUORUM Assembly Chambers

10:00 AM: Group (A) Assembly Health and Senior Services scheduled to meet

2:00 PM: Group (B) Assembly Commerce and Economic Development scheduled to meet


 ASSEMBLY QUORUM Assembly Chambers

10:00 AM: Group (C) Assembly Judiciary Committee scheduled to meet


 SENATE QUORUM 12:00 PM Senate Chambers

10:00 AM: Group (3) Senate Economic Growth scheduled to meet

1:00 PM: Group (4) Senate Judiciary scheduled to meet

 MONDAY, MARCH 14, 2011

 SENATE SESSION Senate Chambers

10:00 AM: Committees at the call of the Senate President

 ASSEMBLY SESSION Assembly Chambers

Voting Session: Time and board list to be announced

 MONDAY, MARCH 21, 2011

SENATE SESSION 2:00 PM Senate Chambers

10:00 AM: Committees at the call of the Senate President

Voting Session: Board list to be announced

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 in Review

            I am happy to report that the 214th NJ legislature has taken positive first steps toward reforming New Jersey's civil justice climate.  Most notably, A-2473/S-480, which extends appeal bond caps to all industries, is now on second reading in the General Assembly.  We also saw efforts to reform New Jersey's oft-abused Consumer Fraud Act with the introduction of A-3333.  Finally, the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee held a hearing earlier this year on A-1982, which would reform New Jersey's medical malpractice environment for our state's doctors.    Collectively, these initiatives would discourage frivolous class-action litigation and enhance the integrity of scientific evidence admitted in our courts.  NJLRA would like to thank all of the bills' sponsors and the legislative leadership in both parties for their commitment to advancing pro-business legislation.  Together with our supporters, we are able to educate the legislature on the importance of these initiatives.  Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), who was NJLRA's keynote speaker at our Fall Membership Luncheon, said NJLRA's proposals will be a "cornerstone" of the state's effort to reposition New Jersey's economy for long-term growth.  We enthusiastically accept Senator Lesniak's wisdom. 

            If you think you have seen more of NJLRA lately, it's because we have increased efforts to get our message out.  In 2010 we re-launched our website, where you can find any of the eight op-eds I authored over the past year.  NJLRA has also been the focus of several news stories and has written a dozen letters to-the-editor.  I encourage you to visit NJLRA's Blog and Facebook page.  You can also follow us on Twitter

We continue to make an effort to reach out to New Jersey's small business community.  A recent poll we conducted in conjunction with the Monmouth University Polling Institute suggests that many of the Garden State's small businesses feel vulnerable to abusive lawsuits.  We are hoping to articulate the unique needs of New Jersey's small business community as we meet with legislators across the state. 

      As we have said in the past, New Jersey cannot recover from this recession without sound policies that support job growth.  With limited resources to fund tax breaks or business incentives, legal reform offers policymakers in Trenton a revenue-neutral policy change that can send a very strong message to employers all across the nation.  States which have enacted tort reform, including Texas, now lead the country in job growth and physician retention. 

            Thank you again for your continued support.  I am confident that we will continue our path toward reforming New Jersey's civil justice laws in 2011.  Please save the date for NJLRA's first Membership Meeting of 2011, which will be held on Tuesday, March 8th at noon at the Trenton Country Club.  We will discuss our plans for 2011.  As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can ever be of assistance. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Texas pursues the Holy Grail of Tort Reform

Twenty-three counties lacked an E.R. doctor.  Ten counties lacked an OB-GYN.  No, this is not a third world country: it was Texas, prior to tort reform. 

The Wall Street Journal calls the pre-reformed Texas a “holy place on the tort bar pilgrimage,” that has now morphed into a “Mecca for doctors.”  Incentives didn’t hurt, either, and Texas now leads the country in job creation.  Product liability, class-action certification, and noneconomic damage caps were reformed in 2003 and 2005.  Now, according to the Journal, Texas Governor Rick Perry wants to extend his state’s tort reform successes – British style.  It’s a thinly-veiled deterrent to filing frivolous lawsuits, which drive up business costs and drive down economic growth. 

The “loser pays” concept isn’t a new one.  The purest-form version of “loser pays” is that the losing party picks up the attorney’s tab.  The proposed caveat would impose a penalty on the losing firm which files the case, forcing trial lawyers to think twice before filing questionable claims. 

Governor Perry is also calling for “new legal channels” to expedite claims below $100,000, but details about this proposal aren’t readily available. 

It sounds like Texas might be headed in the right direction.  It begs the question: if Texas can entice doctors, why can’t New Jersey?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Labor, business leaders support civil justice reform



NJLRA's executive director, Marcus Rayner (2nd from left), with NJBIA Vice-President Christine Stearns, New Jersey Petroleum Council President Jim Benton, and Scott Ross, also of the New Jersey Petroleum Council.  


Litigation abuse drives up business costs and inhibits job growth, according to the New Jersey Society for Environmental, Economic Development (NJ SEED).  The organization, which is a broad coalition of New Jersey’s business and labor leaders, say that a vibrant life science industry is key to growing New Jersey’s economy. 

In its 2010-2011 State Issues Briefing book, “Mapping Our Way to Prosperity,” NJ SEED argues that preserving New Jersey’s status as the “medicine chest of the world” is critical, and tort reform – particularly cracking down on litigation tourism – is sorely needed by the $30 billion life science industry.  While New Jersey remains a key location for 24 of the world’s 30 largest pharmaceutical giants, weak civil justice laws have helped give momentum to Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, California, and Indiana, which threaten to outpace the Garden State’s industry growth. 

A decline in the life sciences industry would pose a significant strain on New Jersey’s economy.   According to the report, New Jersey’s life sciences currently do the following:

  • Provide more than 211,000 jobs, directly or indirectly, throughout the state;
  • Spend more than $1.5 billion annually in capital construction projects throughout New Jersey;
  • Spend nearly $8 billion annually on research and development;
  • Award over $4.6 million in vendor contracts to local businesses; and
  • Give more than $210 million in philanthropic contributions to cultural, nonprofit, and educational organizations throughout the state.

A copy of NJ SEED’s briefing book is typically shared with the Governor, members of the Legislature, and other policy leaders in New Jersey. Let’s hope they heed the call for civil justice reform on page 46. 

 Click here to read the full report and learn more about NJ SEED.  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

There’s some good stuff here,

but where is the tort reform?

Politicker NJ: Senate releases ‘toolkit for business’ bills

TRENTON – The senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved the release of some economic stimulus bills, part of a 30-bill packet fast-tracked by the Democratic majority as a foil to Gov. Chris Christie’s municipal toolkit.

Read it here.   

Friday, November 05, 2010

Check out Marcus’s interview in the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel

Executive Director Marcus Rayner was recently interviewed by the editor of the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, a publication dedicated to serving the interests of corporate counsel.   

NJLRA: Fostering Business Growth And Job Creation.  Published on November 2, 2010

An excerpt:

Editor: How important has the legal climate been in discouraging businesses from coming to New Jersey or from succeeding here?

Rayner: New Jersey presents many challenges for businesses and those they employ, including the high cost of living, regulations, and taxes. The civil justice system is something businesses consider when deciding where to locate and expand. Unfortunately, one of our largest industries - the life sciences and pharmaceutical industry, as well as healthcare - is the most susceptible to litigation abuse because of the large number of people it serves.

When you sell medical devices and pharmaceutical products, you are servicing people who are, in many cases, facing a disease or a physical challenge that these items are helping them to overcome, and the results can vary across populations. It is important for the large industries that are critical to New Jersey's economic success that our laws be fair. We did a study in 2008 of all the mass tort litigation facing pharmaceutical manufacturers here in the state. It found that 94 percent of the plaintiffs in these cases were from outside the state. They chose to sue under New Jersey law and before New Jersey judges rather than in their home states because the legal environment here is much more favorable to their lawsuits.

The legal climate here is much worse than that in Delaware, Pennsylvania, or New York. Businesses here face a toxic combination of our Consumer Fraud Act, court rulings on things like the statute of limitations on discovery, and, most acutely, New Jersey's weak standards for expert evidence testimony in a courtroom. When you are talking about medical liability suits and product liability suits against manufacturers of medical devices and drugs, the quality of the expertise admitted in a courtroom is critical. When the door is wide open to unqualified witnesses and unscientific testimony, you get grossly unfair results.

Click here for the full interview.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tort reform will be a cornerstone to economic growth in New Jersey…

Senator Ray Lesniak (D-Union) spoke at NJLRA’s Fall Membership Luncheon at the Trenton Country Club.  He is the sponsor of S-480, the Appeal Bond Cap

Lesniak.njlra luncheon. 9.2010

Senator Lesniak expressed the Senate Economic Growth Committee’s interest in hearing tort reform proposals.  He is the Economic Growth Committee chair and is also a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 


Monday, May 03, 2010

Anne M. Patterson Nominated to N.J. Supreme Court

Gov. Chris Christie nominates lawyer Anne M. Patterson to N.J. Supreme Court

TRENTON -- Gov. Chris Christie today plans to nominate attorney Anne M. Patterson to the state Supreme Court, replace Justice John Wallace, lawmakers said.
Read NJ.com's Coverage

Friday, April 30, 2010

Will Governor Christie Reappoint Justice Wallace?

PolitickerNJ.com today has a post on this very question.  The post points out that John Wallace's term on the New Jersey Supreme Court ends on May 22, which is less than a month away.  If he is reappointed he will go on to serve another two years until 2012, when he will reach NJ's mandatory retirement age of 70 (NJ judges are appointed for seven years and upon reappointment serve until the age of 70). 

Between now and May 22nd the NJ Senate would have to hold hearings on his renomination, approve his nomination in committee and hold a vote of the full senate.

Justice Wallace has served on the NJ Supreme Court since 2003.  During the campaign last year Chris Christie indicated that he felt no obligation to reappoint justices without a good reason for doing so. 

If he does not reappoint Wallace, it would be the first time a governor has refused to reappoint a sitting justice of the NJ Supreme Court since the current 1947 constitution was adopted.

Stay tuned...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Read NJLRA's Op-Ed in today's Bergen Record!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Marcus Rayner is the executive director of the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance.

AS NEW JERSEY’S unemployment rate hovers around a regionally high 10 percent, our businesses face a stagnant economy coupled with high business costs, and our state and local governments must address significant spending cuts, some may not realize that New Jersey’s economy is taking another serious hit – from frivolous litigation.

According to Forbes Magazine, New Jersey is “one of the worst places to get sued in America.”

The American Tort Reform Association has listed New Jersey in its Top Five “Judicial Hellholes” for the third consecutive year. And that’s not an overstatement: For many high-tech, bio-tech and research-based companies, one frivolous lawsuit can spell financial ruin, and send ripple effects through our struggling economy.

Consider this: Consumers do not have to be defrauded in order to file a lawsuit under New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act. They don’t have to ask for a refund before suing in court, either. Warnock Dodge found this out when a customer believed she was overcharged by $40 and immediately marched to court. New Jersey courts also welcome out-of-state plaintiffs.

In one such case, an Alabama resident who claimed a popular acne medication gave him inflammatory bowel syndrome received a $25 million judgment – money he will take with him to Alabama.

Go to complete Op-Ed.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey ranks New Jersey's legal climate

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform released the results of its 2010 Lawsuit Climate Survey.  It ranked New Jersey's legal climate as the 32nd worst in the United States. 

New Jersey’s road to economic recovery is going to be long and full of twists and turns.  Common-sense legal reform is one way to attract new employers and jobs to our state without spending a single taxpayer dollar.  Today, we continue to rank among states with the worst legal climate as suffering businesses across our state know all too well.  It’s time for state government to encourage economic development and job creation. 

NJLRA looks forward to working with Governor Christie, the Legislature and local officials on legal reforms that move New Jersey forward.”

The study can be found on the Institute for Legal Reform’s website at


Monday, March 15, 2010

Tomorrow is Governor Christie’s First Budget Address

No one denies that digging the state out from under its projected $11 billion deficit is a difficult task.  A key component in New Jersey’s fiscal recovery will be its ability to attract and retain jobs – something S-480, Senator Ray Lesniak’s Appeal Bond Cap bill, helps to advance. 

Imagine being sued for something ridiculous (see “Woman Sues Morristown Hyatt for Serving Booze at a Wedding, for one example) and then losing – and then finding out that you need to post the entire award plus attorneys’ fees for the plaintiff as bond if you want to appeal.  For many mom & pop shops, having to pre-pay in order to appeal could force them out of business if they choose to pursue it. 

New Jersey does cap the amount of an appeal bond at $50 million for one industry: the tobacco companies. 

What is so special about tobacco companies that they need additional protection from financial ruin, where other New Jersey businesses don’t?

Nothing.  The ability seek recourse through the appellate process is a key protection against an unfair civil verdict.  At a time when New Jersey needs to hold onto each business and ratable it has, S-480 can help us do that by eliminating a barrier to appellate review. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pennsylvania echoes California and New Jersey in push for tort reform to stimulate private-sector job growth

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry has called on Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell to consider the benefits of tort reform as he begins the final year of his term. 

Chamber President Floyd Warner said that curbing lawsuit abuse would “create an environment that is conducive to job and economic growth.” 

The Pennsylvania Chamber’s recommendation to pursue tort reform as a cost-neutral alternative to profound tax increases and spending cuts follows similar calls for economic stimulus in California and New Jersey.  California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger outlined extensive proposals which would curb frivolous litigation, allow defendants to appeal class action status, and create opportunities for private sector growth.  NJLRA’s executive director Marcus Rayner asked the New Jersey Legislature to make tort reform a priority as well, noting the similarities between each state’s economic challenges.  In a letter to the editor which ran in the Home News Tribune, he said that tort reform could be a crucial job creation tool in both states.  Governor Christie made frequent references to tort reform during his campaign and stated that it would be a priority for his administration.  We’re glad to see that a similar movement is underway in Pennsylvania as well.