Friday, April 11, 2014

Working Group’s Report a Step in the Right Direction

The New Jersey Supreme Court’s Working Group on Business Litigation has released its report analyzing the needs of the state’s business community and proposed actions by the court system that could address those needs.

 

Continue reading "Working Group’s Report a Step in the Right Direction" »

Jersey Courtrooms Open to Junk Science

New Jersey was one of the first jurisdictions to recognize the increasing importance of expert testimony in modern litigation, one of the first to stress the importance of judicial gate keeping, and one of the first to adopt a more structured multi-factor test for examining the validity of expert testimony. Unfortunately, New Jersey can no longer claim it is on the cutting edge when it comes to ensuring bad science is barred from the courtroom.

 

Continue reading "Jersey Courtrooms Open to Junk Science" »

Friday, April 04, 2014

Top News Clips for the Week of March 29 - April 4

A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of March 29-April 4, 2014.

 

Continue reading "Top News Clips for the Week of March 29 - April 4" »

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Summer Internship at NJCJI

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

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.

 

Friday, March 07, 2014

We've Moved

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

NewOffice

Thursday, March 06, 2014

NJCJI Making Progress on Class Action Reform

Amending New Jersey’s law governing the appeal-ability of class certifications has long been a priority of the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute because the current practice of allowing appeals only by permission of the court emphasizes economics over justice, and invites plaintiffs to file weak claims. A rule change permitting interlocutory appeal of class certification decisions would enhance the predictability and fairness of the judicial process, and increase the likelihood that courts reach decisions based on the merits of the cases before them.

 

At NJCJI’s request, the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Civil Practices has formed a subcommittee to consider changing court rules to allow for the interlocutory appeal of class action certifications as of right. The next report of the Committee will not be issued until early 2016, but the Committee is accepting comments on this year's report, which announced the Committee’s decision to further study the appeal issue. We encourage you to let the Committee know you are pleased with its decision.

 

Bills establishing a right to appeal class certifications have been introduced during the past few legislative sessions at NJCJI’s encouragement. This session, Assemblyman Wisneiwski has introduced A2756, which would establish an immediate right to interlocutory appeal of certification decisions. Introduction of a companion bill in the Senate is forthcoming. Keep your eyes on your inbox for further updates.

 

Click here for more information on interlocutory appeals of class certifications.

 

Haddonfield Lawyer Admits to Doctoring Asbestos Suits in N.Y. to Increase Business

Jessica Beym | South Jersey Times

A former attorney in the Haddonfield office of a firm specializing in toxic tort litigation today admitted that he falsified defendants’ names in more than 100 asbestos suits filed in New York State courts in order to increase business and his standing in the firm, according to U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

Full Story.

Court Considers Changes to Securities Class Actions

This week the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund. The issue in the case is the ongoing viability of fraud-on-the market theory as an underlying assumption in shareholder class actions.

 

Continue reading "Court Considers Changes to Securities Class Actions" »

Man Sues McDonald's for $1.5 Million After Being Given Only One Napkin

Lee Moran | New York Daily News

McDonald's has been hit with a supersized lawsuit.

Unhappy eater Webster Lucas reportedly wants $1.5 million from the fast-food company after he claimed the staff only gave him one napkin.

Full Story.

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" »

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Kids These Days

A New Jersey teen is making headlines across the country for the lawsuit she has filed against her parents seeking monetary support. However, this is just the tip of the juvenile lawsuits iceberg.

 

Continue reading "Kids These Days" »

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ending the Shareholder Lawsuit Gravy Train

Justin Fox | Harvard Business Review Blog Network

The Supreme Court is going to host a debate next week on the efficient market hypothesis. The battle lines may not be exactly what you’d expect: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Justice Samuel Alito have already argued that the EMH is, as Alito put it, “a faulty economic premise,” while Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Obama administration have backed the idea that, as a sextet of Justice Department lawyers put it, “markets process publicly available information about a company into the company’s stock price.”

Full Story.

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 " »

Class Action Update

Thanks to its plaintiff-friendly procedural rules and broad consumer protection laws, New Jersey is a hotbed of class action litigation. These four cases provide just a snapshot of the sort of cases coming to the New Jersey courts as class actions, highlighting the challenges judges face in overseeing this sort litigation.

Continue reading "Class Action Update" »

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" »

Ridiculous Lawsuits

I can hear the television commercial now: “Did you suffer emotional damage when Michael Jackson died? You may be eligible for compensation.”

Continue reading "Ridiculous Lawsuits" »

Pharmaceutical Litigation Makes Headlines

While only earning a spot on the Judicial Hellholes “watch list” last year, a look at this week’s top news stories suggests New Jersey may be back on the full-on Hellhole list next year thanks to the horde of pharmaceutical lawsuits currently playing out in the state.

Continue reading "Pharmaceutical Litigation Makes Headlines" »

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, February 06, 2014

Shortening the Statute of Limitations for Certain Malpractice Actions

On Monday, February 10 the Assembly Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Assembly Bill 1254, which would shorten the statute of limitations from 6 years to 2 years for various malpractice actions.

The bill would set the statute of limitations at 2 years for malpractice actions against the following licensed professionals: accountants, architects, attorneys, dentists, engineers, physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, registered nurses, health care facilities, physical therapists, land surveyors, registered pharmacists, veterinarians, insurance producers, midwives, pharmacy sites, and certain contractors, subcontractors and owners.

The bill also prohibits the award of attorneys’ fees in actions against these professionals except where authorized by statute or the New Jersey Rules of Court.

NJCJI supports this bill.

New Economic Analysis of FDA’s Proposed Generic Drug Labeling Rule Released

The New Jersey Civil Justice Institute has been closely monitoring the FDA’s proposed rules that would allow generic drug manufacturers to make changes to their labels. NJCJI is concerned that such a rule would greatly increase the number of lawsuits filed against generic pharmaceutical manufacturers thus raising the cost of generic drugs and clogging up the court system.

Continue reading "New Economic Analysis of FDA’s Proposed Generic Drug Labeling Rule Released " »

Lawyer’s Unconventional Super Bowl Ad Goes Viral

A Georgia attorney took plaintiffs attorney advertising to a whole new level with this Super Bowl ad.

 

Paulsboro Freight Train Derailment Lawsuit Highlights NJCJI Concerns with New Jersey Court System

Reforming New Jersey’s standards for expert testimony continues to be a top priority for the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute, and a recent ruling in the ongoing Paulsboro freight train derailment lawsuit highlights the issue.

30 of the nearly 100 plaintiffs in the Paulsboro litigation have had their cases removed to New Jersey state court after pleading a lack of complete diversity. Though diversity is the stated concern, it is not the full story, as the plaintiffs have attempted multiple times to have the all of the claims heard in state court.

A recent article in the New Jersey Law Journal by David Gialanella suggests that the actual reason state court is preferred is the state’s rules of evidence:

New Jersey state court is considered a superior forum for plaintiffs alleging injuries from toxic exposure, due to its "adversarial" standard of admissibility of scientific evidence. Judges rely on the parties to produce the evidence and testimony needed. It's different in federal court, where judges are empowered to make their own investigations into the sufficiency of expert testimony.

If both the state and federal cases go to trial, court watchers will have a clear look at how expert testimony differs in response to the differing rules of evidence.

 

Top News Clips for the Week of Feb. 1-7

A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of February 1-7, 2014.

Continue reading "Top News Clips for the Week of Feb. 1-7" »

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Proposed Changes to Federal Discovery Rules

The Federal Judiciary’s Civil Rules Advisory Committee (the “Rules Committee”) is currently accepting public comments on a package of proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Some of the most important changes in the package are aimed at reducing the cost and burdens associated with discovery.

 

As former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl explained in a recent Wall Street Journal Editorial:

 

The three most important committee proposals are: (1) a clear national standard that says companies could be punished for discarding information only if they did so in bad faith to hamper litigation; (2) a narrower scope of discovery that focuses on the claims and defenses of each case rather than any information that might lead to admissible evidence; and (3) confirming judicial authority under Rule 26(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to allocate the costs of discovery to the party requesting discovery rather than the party responding. A "requester-pays" system lets a party decide to pay and get certain information if it really needs it. It also eliminates the temptation to make overly broad requests to impose costs on the other side to coerce a settlement.

 

If approved, these changes would be a first step toward significantly reducing litigation costs and trial delays. As such, the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute is developing comments in support of the proposed changes, and will be submitting them to the Rules Committee for its consideration. We urge you to do the same. Most of the comments received thus far have been provided by the plaintiffs' bar, which is generally critical of the proposed amendments as favoring defendants and corporations.

 

Comments must be submitted by 11:59 PM ET on February 15, 2014. Click here and then scroll to the bottom of the page for instructions on how to submit comments.

 

If approved by the Rules Committee, the proposed amendments will be submitted to the Judicial Conference with a recommendation for approval, who in turn submits the proposals to the Supreme Court. If approved by the Supreme Court, Congress has seven months to approve or reject the new rules.

 

Additional Resources:

Draft Rules & Request for Comments

Comments Submitted via Regulations.gov

The 2013 “Package” of Federal Discovery Rule Amendments: Thomas Y. Allman, Jan. 30, 2014. Mr. Allman is a former General Counsel and currently serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Cincinnati College Of Law.   He is Chair Emeritus of the Sedona Conference WG 1 on E-Discovery and a former Chair of the E-Discovery Committee of Lawyers for Civil Justice.

A Rare Chance to Lower Litigation Costs (Opinion by Former Sen. Kyl): The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 20, 2014.

Archive of selected news articles on the rule change provided by Lawyers for Civil Justice

Lawyers for Civil Justice Briefing Points on Proposed FRCP Changes 1.3.14

Lawyers for Civil Justice Backgrounder - Proposed FRCP Changes

Lawyers for Civil Justice Backgrounder - The FRCP Rulemaking Process

 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

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

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

 

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

Jon Bramnick|The Record

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Full Story.

 

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

Session Scorecard

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

U.S. Chamber Highlights Litigation Concerns in New Jersey

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

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

Thursday, January 23, 2014

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

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

How to Sue Over the Christie Bridge Scandal and Win

John Culhane | Slate

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

Full Story.

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

Friday, January 17, 2014

2014 Legislative Agenda

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

Continue reading "2014 Legislative Agenda" »

Legal Impacts of Bridgegate

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

 

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

Brett LoGiurato | Business Insider

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

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

Full Story.

 

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

By Statehouse Bureau | Asbury Park Press

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

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

Full Story.

 

Bridge scandal: Chris Christie's Nominees Delayed

By Jenna Portnoy | The Star-Ledger

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

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

Full Story.

 

Good Samaritan Bill Passes Unanimously, Awaits Governor’s Signature

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

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

The Class Action Settlement Problem

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

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

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

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

RSVP to: NJFedSoc@gmail.com

 

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

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

 

14Jan14_SOTS

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

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

Court Exposes Abuse by Plaintiff Attorneys in Bankruptcy Trust Litigation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Save the Date

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

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

 

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

Brett LoGiurato | Business Insider

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

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

Full Story.

 

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

By Statehouse Bureau | Asbury Park Press

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

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

Full Story.

 

Bridge scandal: Chris Christie's Nominees Delayed

By Jenna Portnoy | The Star-Ledger

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

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

Full Story.

 

Judge Questions Whether $765 NFL Concussions Settlement is Enough

Cindy Boren | Washington Post

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

Full Story.

 

Will Consumer Class Actions vs. Target Survive?

By Alison Frankel | Reuters

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

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

Full Story.

 

Litigation Finance Firm Raises $260 Million for New Fund

By William Alden | New York Times DealBook

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

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

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

Full Story.

 

Corporate Takeover? In 2013, a Lawsuit Almost Always Followed

By Steven M. Davidoff | New York Times DealBook

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

Full Story.

 

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

By Alexi Friedman | Star-Ledger

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

Full Story.

 

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

By Salvador Rizzo | The Star-Ledger

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

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

Full Story.

 

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

By Reuters

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

Full Story.

 

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

By MaryAnn Spoto | The Star-Ledger

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

Full Story.

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  • Welcome to Lawsuit Reform Watch - the blog about civil justice reform issues in New Jersey. Lawsuit Reform Watch and the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute advocate for a system of civil justice that is fair to all parties and that discourages lawsuit abuse.

    Lawsuit Reform Watch is the blog of the NJ Civil Justice Institute. For more information about the Institute, please visit us at www.civiljusticenj.org.
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