307 posts categorized "New Jersey"

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" »

Credit Card Receipt Spawns Class Action

“There was no foul. No one had a problem until a lawyer saw this and he filed a suit against us,” Friedman said. “But if we fight it, we’re not going to win.”

 

Continue reading "Credit Card Receipt Spawns Class Action" »

NJCJI Letter to the Editor: Fights on the Schoolyard Shouldn't be Solved in the Courtroom

The Star-Ledger editorial, "Bullying: If schools are liable, parents can be, too" (March 31), appropriately raised warnings about using courts to hold parents of child bullies liable, but I disagree with the conclusion that some good can come from the threat of litigation.

 

Continue reading "NJCJI Letter to the Editor: Fights on the Schoolyard Shouldn't be Solved in the Courtroom" »

Friday, March 28, 2014

Snow Contractors Lobby Legislators for Common Sense Legal Reform

NJCJI played host to the New Jersey contingent of the Accredited Snow Contractors Association this week when ASCA came to the New Jersey State House to lobby legislators on the need for liability reform that protects their businesses from frivolous slip and fall lawsuits.

Continue reading "Snow Contractors Lobby Legislators for Common Sense Legal Reform" »

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" »

The Legislative Trend That’s Increasing Your Liability: Fee-Shifting

Fee-shifting provisions are showing up in proposed legislation in New Jersey with increasing frequency. These provisions, which allow prevailing plaintiffs to recover attorney’s fees and court costs, encourage frivolous litigation, discourage settlement, and drive up the cost of lawsuits.

Continue reading "The Legislative Trend That’s Increasing Your Liability: Fee-Shifting" »

Friday, March 21, 2014

NJCJI Files Brief in Malpractice Insurance Case

The New Jersey Civil Justice Institute has filed a motion to participate as amicus curiae in DeMarco v. Stoddard. The issue in the case is whether the rule for third party recovery that applies in the automobile context should be extended to medical malpractice absent statutory foundation, thereby requiring a malpractice insurer to underwrite a claim against a doctor who lied in order to get insurance coverage.

Continue reading "NJCJI Files Brief in Malpractice Insurance Case " »

Rabner Details Ways Business Community Can Get Involved With Courts at NJCJI Luncheon

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner was the featured speaker at NJCJI’s Spring Luncheon on March 19. During his remarks, Rabner stressed the administrative role of the courts and discussed ways in which the business community can get more involved with the justice system.

Continue reading "Rabner Details Ways Business Community Can Get Involved With Courts at NJCJI Luncheon" »

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Top News Clips for the Week of March 8-14

A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of March 8-14, 2014.

 

Flushability of Wipes Spawns Class-Action Lawsuit

U-Jin Lee | ABC News

A New York doctor has filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the makers of "flushable" wipes after experiencing what he claims were major plumbing and clogging issues in his home.

“The defendants should have known that their representations regarding flushable wipes were false and misleading,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit by Dr. Joseph Kurtz, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., cites Kimberly-Clark and Costco Wholesale corporations and seeks damages of at least $5 million.

Full Story.

 

 

An Elected Attorney General? Lawmaker Wants to Let Voters Choose, Not Christie

Matt Friedman | The Star-Ledger

Some now say the time has come to make New Jersey’s top law enforcement official more responsive to the public and less beholden to the governor, and one lawmaker has introduced a measure to do just that. The issue has taken on added urgency with the apparent decision by the Attorney General’s Office to stay out of the George Washington Bridge investigation, much to the annoyance of veteran prosecutors in the office.

Full Story.

 

 

Has Supreme Court lost its zeal to curb consumer class actions?

Alison Frankel | Reuters

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to grant review to two small Nebraska banks facing class action allegations that they failed to post stickers on ATM machines to alert users about add-on fees. That might not seem like a surprise, except that the certiorari petition by the banks’ counsel at Mayer Brown raised a question that the Supreme Court has previously struggled with: whether class action plaintiffs asserting federal laws that provide statutory damages have constitutional standing to sue even if they haven’t suffered any actual injury. The justices heard a different case posing the exact same question in 2011 in First American Financial v. Edwards, but didn’t resolve the issue because they dismissed the appeal on the last day of the term in June 2012. Class action opponents like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Washington Legal Foundation and the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals were hoping that the Nebraska banks’ case was a new chance to end litigation by uninjured plaintiffs whose small, individual statutory damages claims turn into a big nuisance when they’re accumulated in class actions.

Full Story. 

 

 

Can Panel Compel Kelly, Stepien to Release Bridgegate Emails?

Mark J. Magyar | NJ Spotlight

The future of the Legislature’s Bridgegate investigation is in the hands of a Superior Court judge who will decide whether Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien, the deputy chief of staff and campaign operative who are the only two staffers Gov. Chris Christie has fired, must turn over emails and other communications related to the infamous George Washington Bridge lane closures.

Full Story.

 

 

Family Feud Ends for NJ Teen Rachel Canning and her Parents

Ben Horowitz | The Star-Ledger

Rachel Canning, the 18-year-old who sued her parents for support after an escalating family squabble, returned home last night, an attorney for the couple said today.

Angelo Sarno, who represents the Cannings, would not say what sparked the reconciliation, but said the parents welcomed her back.

Full Story.

 

 

2013 Civil Justice Update: Recently Enacted State Reforms and Judicial Challenges

Andrew C. Cook | Federalist Society

The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive national survey of both recent court decisions ruling on challenges to existing civil justice laws and the newly enacted civil justice reforms. This paper has two main parts: Part I describes state and federal court rulings in 2013 and Part II describes legislation passed during the year’s legislative session.

Full Story.

 

 

Chevron Case Shows Why We Must Police Lawsuit Fraud

Lisa A. Rickard | U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform

Terms like “racketeering,” “extortion,” “money laundering” and “wire fraud” are typically more associated with the Mafia than plaintiffs’ lawyers. But in a landmark ruling last week, a New York federal judge used these terms to describe conduct by a lawyer.

Full Story.

 

Thursday, March 06, 2014

New Jersey State Bar Association Task Force on Judicial Independence

The New Jersey State Bar Association has created a Task Force to examine the issue of judicial independence. The members of the Task Force are retired judges, law professors, practicing attorneys and members of the lay public. The goal of the Task Force is to produce a report that will contain recommendations with respect to preserving the independence of the judges of this State. The Task Force is wholly independent of the Bar Association, which will not control or influence its proceedings or conclusions.

 

Continue reading "New Jersey State Bar Association Task Force on Judicial Independence" »

State Collects Over $300 Million in Settlements in 2013

Acting Attorney General Hoffman has released a summary of the civil judgments obtained by the state during 2013. The $304 million collected is a $104 million increase over 2012 judgments. Litigation-related payouts by the State in 2013 totaled approximately $77.7 million.

 

Continue reading "State Collects Over $300 Million in Settlements in 2013" »

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 20, 2014

Top News Clips for the Week of Feb. 15-21

A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of February 15-21, 2014.

Continue reading "Top News Clips for the Week of Feb. 15-21" »

Parlaying the Courts

Filling a lawsuit is always a gamble since the odds are never certain, but for these litigants what’s at stake is gambling.

 

Continue reading "Parlaying the Courts " »

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

Interested in Serving on a Committee? The New Jersey Supreme Court Wants to Know.

The New Jersey Supreme Court is soliciting applications from attorneys and judges interested in serving on one of the court’s various committees.  

“The list of committees for which the Court is seeking to create this pool of potential appointees includes, but is not limited to, the Rules Committees (Civil Practice, Complementary Dispute Resolution, Criminal Practice, Family Practice, Municipal Court Practice, Rules of Evidence, Special Civil Part Practice, Tax Court), the Program and Jury Charge Committees (Arbitration Advisory, Bench/Bar/Media, Jury Selection in Civil and Criminal Trials, Minority Concerns, Model Civil Jury Charges, Model Criminal Jury Charges, State Domestic Violence Working Group, Women in the Courts), as well as the various regulatory and advisory committees (including Attorney Advertising Committee, Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics, Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, Disciplinary Review Board, Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, Board on Continuing Legal Education, Board on Attorney Certification, Advisory Committee on Extrajudicial Activities, Advisory Committee on Outside Activities of Judiciary Employees ). It also includes present and future ad hoc committees or task forces.”

Click here to read the court’s full announcement.

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" »

Top News Clips for the Week of Feb. 8-14

A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of February 8-14, 2014.

The Plot to Make Big Food Pay

Helena Bottemiller Evich | Politico

Lawyers are pitching state attorneys general in 16 states with a radical idea: make the food industry pay for soaring obesity-related health care costs.

It’s a move straight from the playbook of the Big Tobacco takedown of the 1990s, which ended in a $246 billion settlement with 46 states, a ban on cigarette marketing to young people and the Food and Drug Administration stepping in to regulate.

Full Story.

 

Debate Resumes Over Shortening Legal Malpractice Suit Time Limits

David Gialanella | New Jersey Law Journal

A renewed effort to chop New Jersey's legal malpractice statute of limitations down to two years from the current six is underway in the Legislature.

Lawyers debated the issue along familiar battle lines at a meeting of the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Monday, though no vote was taken.

The bill, A-1254, is the latest push in a legislative effort that began six years ago.

The change would put the legal malpractice time restriction in sync with that of medical malpractice and align New Jersey with other states where aggrieved clients have less time to sue.

Full Story.

 

NRA Gets Behind NJ Man's Lawsuit Challenging State's Gun Carry Restrictions, Group Says

Seth Augenstein | The Star-Ledger

The National Rifle Association is supporting a Sussex County man's lawsuit seeking a permit to carry his handgun outside of his house, the organization announced this week.

The national lobbying group said it was backing John Drake’s lawsuit with a forthcoming amicus brief, in support of Second-Amendment rights in New Jersey, the organization said. Drake, and other plaintiffs involved in the lawsuit, petitioned last month to have their case heard in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Full Story.

 

Statute Regulating Step-Down Provisions Does Not Apply Retroactively

Debra McLoughlin | New Jersey Law Journal

In Pinto v. New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co., the N.J. Supreme Court enforced a commercial motor vehicle liability policy's "step-down" provision, which capped uninsured- or underinsured-motorist coverage (UM/UIM coverage) provided through an employer's commercial policy to employees and other qualifying insureds at the limits available through their personal automobile insurance coverage.

Two years later, N.J.S.A. 17:28-1.1(f) was enacted, prohibiting in motor vehicle liability policies issued to corporate or business entities the use of step-down provisions to provide less UM/UIM coverage for employees than is provided to the named insureds. Further, if the policy lists only the business entity as the named insured, employees are deemed eligible for maximum available coverage. This new legislation, signed into law on Sept. 10, 2007, specified that it was effective immediately.

This appeal involved the application of N.J.S.A. 17:28-1.1(f) to a policy that was in effect at the time the legislation became effective and contained a step-down provision. The court addressed the statute's retroactivity, that is whether the step-down provision is enforceable for a UIM claim by an employee concerning an accident that occurred prior to the adoption of N.J.S.A. 17:28-1.1(f).

Full Story.

 

'Disparate Impact' Doctrine Often Hurts Those it's Intended to Help

Michael Barone | Washington Examiner

Disparate impact. That's a phrase you don't hear much in everyday conversation. But it's the shorthand description of a legal doctrine with important effects on everyday American life -- and more if Barack Obama and his political allies get their way.

Consider the Department of Justice and Department of Education policies on school discipline. In a “dear colleague” letter distributed last month, the departments noted that “students of certain racial or ethnic groups tend to be disciplined more than their peers.”

Full Story.

 

Garlock Ruling Gives Asbestos Defendants Discovery Hammer

Sindhu Sundar | Law360

A bankruptcy judge recently allowed Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC to root out the type of evidence suppression defendants have long suspected of asbestos plaintiffs, handing companies ammunition to probe foul play by their adversaries and persuading other courts to allow the investigations.

For years, defendants have accused asbestos plaintiffs of withholding evidence about claims they've filed against other companies. By disingenuously claiming they only have claims against a single company, plaintiffs were able to maximize their recovery, defense attorneys have argued.

Full Story.

 

Busting the Asbestos Racket

Opinion | Wall Street Journal

The worst public scandals are often those that travel in plain sight, and a prime example is the asbestos litigation racket. We've been writing about it for years, and now a judge in North Carolina has issued a remarkable opinion exposing just how rotten it is.

Full Story.

 

Christie Should Keep Rabner as Supreme Court Chief Justice: Opinion

Ralph J. Lamparello | Star Ledger

Last month, in his State of the State address, Gov. Chris Christie apologized to the people of New Jersey for actions taken regarding lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.

The governor acknowledged that as the leader of the state, he is responsible for its achievements and its missteps. He uttered the phrase so many before him have said: “Mistakes were clearly made.”

While the governor was referring to the Bridge­gate controversy, parallels can be drawn to his actions toward the judicial branch — our third, separate and co-equal branch of government.

Full Story.

 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

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

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

 

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

Jon Bramnick|The Record

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Full Story.

 

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

Session Scorecard

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

Thursday, January 23, 2014

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

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

How to Sue Over the Christie Bridge Scandal and Win

John Culhane | Slate

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

Full Story.

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

Friday, January 17, 2014

2014 Legislative Agenda

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

Continue reading "2014 Legislative Agenda" »

Legal Impacts of Bridgegate

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

 

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

Brett LoGiurato | Business Insider

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

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

Full Story.

 

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

By Statehouse Bureau | Asbury Park Press

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

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

Full Story.

 

Bridge scandal: Chris Christie's Nominees Delayed

By Jenna Portnoy | The Star-Ledger

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

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

Full Story.

 

Good Samaritan Bill Passes Unanimously, Awaits Governor’s Signature

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

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

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

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

 

14Jan14_SOTS

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

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

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.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Legislative Update - bill to extend appeal bond cap advances

S-3030, the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 II, advanced from the Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday, November 14th.  Part of a larger economic growth package, Section 3  would cap appeal bonds at $50 million. 

New Jersey law requires a defendant to post an appeal bond at least equal to the full amount of the judgment.  However, in 2003 the Legislature approved a $50 million cap on appeal bonds for tobacco companies that participated in the Master Settlement Agreement. 

This bill would extend that cap to all defendants.  Under the bill, a court would have discretion, after notice and hearing and for good cause shown, to reduce the appeal bond to an amount lower than the judgment. 

The bill is sponsored by Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union).  It now heads to the Senate Budget Committee for additional review. 

CLICK HERE for more information on Section 3, the appeal bond cap

Previous coverage

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Remember to #vote for #Governor today!

Chris Christie
Governor Chris Christie (R), Incumbent
  
Barbara_Buono_cc_img
Senator Barbara Buono (D), Challenger

 

Polls close at 8:00 pm.  Look up your polling location here

Monday, October 28, 2013

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

When natural disasters strike, indiscriminate in wrath and sometimes unprecedented in destruction, at least one fact generally applies: volunteers are needed to help recover and rebuild

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.  And Assembly Majority Lou Greenwald is hoping that legislation he introduced in Sandy's aftermath will allow New Jersey to welcome the same volunteerism during future natural disasters

What made Alabama's hospitality possible is a Good Samaritan Law which protects such volunteers from frivolous litigation.  Greenwald's bill, A-3694, would provide immunity to licensed architects and engineers who volunteer at the scene of a declared emergency at the request of authorities. 

Greenwald is hoping to advance the measure during the lame-duck session.  It has been referred to the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee and is cosponsored by Assemblywomen Handlin and Jasey. 

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.   

 

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. 

 

 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Read NJLRA’s letter-to-the-editor in this week’s edition of the New Jersey Law Journal

NJ’s civil courts are experiencing a backlog of litigation, despite a decrease in the number of filings.  Read Marcus Rayner’s assessment of why this may be happening. 

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Spilling hot coffee gets hotter

It’s been nearly twenty years since Stella Liebeck made the first McDonald’s hot coffee lawsuit famous by spilling coffee in her own lap and suing the fast food chain.

But becoming a posterchild for our overly litigious culture has done little to discourage copycats, as a McDonald’s in River Edge, Bergen County discovered this week. 

A Florida man who was visiting family in Bergen County two years ago is now coming forward with a suit against McDonald’s in River Edge, alleging that an employee “failed to properly secure the lid,” which apparently induces a lack of consumer coordination and second-degree burns. 

The comments below from NJ.com capture the sentiment well:

Post1

 

Notes: This suit is not to be confused with the New Jersey resident who filed suit against a chain of Wawa stores for selling hot, highly-spillable coffee last month.  And yes, McDonald happens to be the surname of yours truly.  It is purely coincidental, as I am not affiliated with the defending company in any way. 

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Wins for Lesniak, Gill

Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) and Senator Nia Gill (D-Essex) defeated primary challengers earlier this week.  Senator Lesniak, who chairs the Economic Growth Committee, easily defeated Roselle school board member Donna Obe.  Senator Gill, who chairs the Commerce Committee, defeated law professor Mark Alexander. 

Both Lesniak and Gill serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

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. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Legislative update: Social media and statute of limitations

The General Assembly is scheduled to consider changes requested by Governor Christie to the so-called ‘Facebook bill,’ which would prohibit employers from asking for the passwords and login information of current and prospective employees, on Monday, May 20th.  The bill, A-2878, was conditionally vetoed by the Governor last week, citing concerns that sections 4 and 5 would “paint with too broad a brush” and prevent employers from making informed choices about hires for positions requiring social media credentials.   Assembly sponsor John Burizchelli (D-Gloucester) has stated that even with the Governor’s changes, "the integrity of the bill is intact."

The State Senate voted to revise a bill to extend the civil statute of limitations in certain previously dismissed and time-barred cases on Monday, May 13th.  New Jersey’s business community fears that the legislation, S-2281, would leave institutions which serve children vulnerable to unfounded accusations and offer little recourse.  The bill substitution can be found here. 

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. 

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.

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, January 11, 2013

Bad faith bill reintroduced

Superstorm Sandy did something few insurance brokers could do: it forced homeowners to, in some cases, read their insurance policies for the first time. 

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. 

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The pot brownie lawsuit

A Hunterdon County Country Club may be on the hook for a prank played by two of its members. 

James Kavanagh, Jr. and Gregg Chaplin convinced their 68-year-old friend, Barry Russo, to eat a “delicious” brownie, the product of Kavanagh’s “special culinary training.”

You guessed it: the brownie was laced with pot

The behavior of Kavanagh and Chaplin may more closely resemble sophomoric teenage trouble making than the caliber of Copper Hill Country Club’s average patron.  According to the diabetic Russo, this prank may have contributed to his feeling “light-headed and dizzy,” among other ailments. 

Russo is suing the Copper Hill Country Club, its owner, and the two men for an undisclosed amount of money.  And no, neither the Copper Hill Country Club nor its owner is alleged to have participated in the lacing or ingestion of said brownie. 

Chaplin vehemently disputes Russo’s account. 

Friday, January 04, 2013

A red-light camera lawsuit that will have you seeing red

It’s not exactly a refund. 

If you were one of the half-million motorists who received a ticket in the mail courtesy of American Traffic Solution’s red light cameras, take comfort: the $85 - $140 fine you paid may not be the last word.   

The timing of yellow lights wasn’t officially recertified until July 25th, prompting lawyers to argue that fines issued before that date in eighteen of New Jersey’s municipalities should not stand.  ATS avoided a trial by agreeing to a $4.2 million class action settlement. 

But don’t celebrate just yet.  You won’t be getting the full sticker price of your erroneous ticket returned.  No.  After attorney’s fees and administrative costs, you and other red-eyed motorists will receive $6.  And that’s assuming all of your paperwork is correct. 

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) has long argued that intersections with red light cameras pose a greater risk to public safety than those without the cameras.  Accidents have increased nearly 400 percent at some intersections in just the first year of installation. 

According to the Star-Ledger, a separate class-action suit is pending against Redflex Traffic Systems, which is the red light vendor for cameras in eight other municipalities. 

Good luck to those eligible for a $6 check.  I’m sure the legal maneuvering was worth every penny.

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. 

Monday, December 03, 2012

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

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

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

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

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.