New Jersey Supreme Court: More than 20,000 DWI Convictions are Tainted

On November 13th, 2018, the Supreme Court of New Jersey ruled that 20,667 DWI convictions in the state were tainted by an improperly calibrated breathalyzer test. The case of State v. Eileen Cassidy, centered around the misconduct by former New Jersey Police Sergeant Marc W. Dennis, who allegedly skipped a required step in the recalibrating of breathalyzer devices and then falsified records to conceal his conduct.

Author: William McGuinn | Practice Area: DWI-DUI

Litigation Privilege Protects N.J. Law Firm from Defamation Claim

Not all personal injury cases involve physical or psychological damages. There are also tort claims involving alleged injuries to a person's reputation or character, such as defamation, libel, and slander. But proving such injuries requires more than showing a defendant made a false statement that impugned the plaintiff's reputation. Indeed, even in the case of allegedly false statements, a defendant may cite one or more legal privileges to escape potential civil liability.

Author: Joseph Leone | Practice Area: Plaintiff's Personal Injury

N.J. Supreme Court Clarifies Scope of “Self-Critical Analysis” Privilege in Medical Malpractice Cases

New Jersey's Patient Safety Act (PSA) was enacted to encourage confidential reporting of “adverse events” by healthcare facilities in order to reduce medical errors. To further this goal, the PSA created a legal “self-critical analysis” (SCA) privilege for health care facilities...

Author: Robert Banas | Practice Area: Professional Liability & Malpractice Defense, Health Care Law

Birthright Citizenship

Can the President of the United States abolish birthright citizenship by an executive order? As a person who was not born in this country and who is about to have a child, this question hits close to home.

Author: Julio Navarro | Practice Area: Immigration Law

Appellate Division Holds That Just Registering to Do Business Equates to Consenting to Be Sued in Pennsylvania

In late June, the Pennsylvania Appellate Division decided Webb-Benjamin, LLC v. Int’l Rug Grp., LLC, 2018 Pa. Super. Lexis 742. The petition for re-hearing was denied in late August, and no Petition for Allowance to Appeal has been filed before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Author: Jason Boudwin, Daniel Kuszmerski | Practice Area: Environmental & Toxic Tort, Products Liability

New Jersey's Proposed “Insurance Fair Conduct Act” Could Affect Insurers and Policyholders

Since the 1990s, the New Jersey Supreme Court has recognized a common-law claim for bad faith denials of insurance coverage. Subsequent attempts to establish a statutory bad faith claim in New Jersey have failed. However, a bill currently pending before the state legislature would create a statutory cause of action for bad faith in New Jersey. Under the proposed legislation, known as the “New Jersey Insurance Fair Conduct Act,” an insurer's potential liability for bad-faith denials would be si

Author: Juliann Alicino | Practice Area: Insurance Coverage & Bad Faith Litigation

N.J. Senate Passes Bill to Ban Employment Non-Disclosure Agreements

The #MeToo movement sparked in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations has led policymakers to reconsider the propriety of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in employment contracts. Many employers seek NDAs as a condition of settling sexual harassment and other employment discrimination cases. But critics charge such agreements only serve to silence victims and protect companies from public scrutiny of their employment practices. | Practice Area: Labor & Employment Law

Is New Jersey Now a “Daubert” Jurisdiction?

Since the New Jersey Supreme Court its issued its decision in 1991 in Rubanick vs. Whitco Chemical Corp., 125 N.J. 421 (1991), New Jersey has had an open-door for toxic tort cases asserting novel claims testing new theories of liability. The Rubanick decision, which is often referred to as the “Junk Science Case”, allowed creative attorneys to file and pursue unique causes of action claiming that exposure to toxic tort substances led to a variety of health maladies.

Author: Marc Gaffrey | Practice Area: Environmental & Toxic Tort

N.J. Supreme Court Will Review Auto Dealership’s Liability for Fatal Drunk Driving Accident

Recently, the New Jersey Supreme Court agreed to review a case involving an insurance company's denial of coverage for a 2010 drunk driving accident that killed a police officer and yielded a multi-million dollar wrongful death judgment. An intermediate appellate court previously ruled in favor of the insurance company. But the Supreme Court's decision to grant review suggests the police officer's estate may still have some hope to collect on their judgment.

Author: Joseph Leone | Practice Area: Automobile Liability, Criminal Defense

4 Questions Every Divorced Parent Should Ask Before Their Child Goes Back to School

As New Jersey children head back to school, many recently divorced parents may be struggling to adjust their routine now that they are no longer living together as a family. And even when the divorce itself was resolved with a minimum of acrimony, there are often issues that arise in the back-to-school context that parents failed to previously consider. With that in mind, here are a few pieces of advice for parents looking to help their child start the new school year on the right foot.

Author: Jessica Mazur | Practice Area: Family Law

Will Pennsylvania Finally Consistently Apply the Fair Share Act to All Asbestos/Strict Liability Matters?

On July 31, 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted the plaintiff’s Petition for Appeal, in the case of Roverano v. John Crane, Inc., 177 A.3d 892 (Pa. Sup. Ct. 2017), where the Pennsylvania Superior Court (Appellate Division) ruled that Pennsylvania’s Fair Share Act, 42 Pa.C.S. § 7102, applies to strict liability actions alleging asbestos-related disease.

Author: Jason Boudwin, Daniel Kuszmerski | Practice Area: Environmental & Toxic Tort, Asbestos

N.J. Supreme Court Declines to Reconsider Ethics Opinion Banning Lawyers from Online Legal Service Plans

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently declined to review a formal ethics opinion related to attorney participation in online legal services. Specifically, a group of three New Jersey State Bar committees said attorneys licensed in New Jersey may not be involved with “non-lawyer, corporately owned services that offer legal services to the public.” A group called Consumers for a Responsive Legal System asked the Supreme Court to reverse this opinion, but the justices denied the petition.

Author: Joseph Leone | Practice Area: Legal Malpractice Defense

What Does the “Work-Product Privilege” Protect?

In all New Jersey civil litigation, a party is normally entitled to obtain discovery of non-privileged documents held by the other party. However, the attorney-client privilege protects any communications between a party and their own lawyer from discovery. There is also a related, yet distinct privilege for “work product” created in anticipation of litigation.

Author: Joseph Marabondo | Practice Area: General Liability

N.J. Special Master Concludes 20,000 DWI Convictions Based on Unreliable Breath Tests

Last September we discussed a stunning development in New Jersey DWI law. Prosecutors charged a New Jersey State Trooper with failing to follow established protocols for calibrating the Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C devices used to test a DWI suspect's blood-alcohol content. More egregiously, prosecutors alleged the Trooper falsely certified that he had followed the protocols.

Author: William McGuinn | Practice Area: DWI-DUI

New Jersey Equal Pay Act to Take Effect on July 1

All New Jersey employers need to be aware of the recent passage of the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, which has been described as one of the strongest “equal pay” laws in the country. The Act, signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy in April, takes effect on July 1 and requires employers to take certain steps to ensure they are not paying similarly situated employees differently based on sex, race, or other protected employee characteristics.

Author: Jennifer Passannante, Kenneth Cesta | Practice Area: Labor & Employment Law

The Erosion of the “Faker” Defense?

In personal-injury trials, defense counsel question plaintiffs’ credibility in various ways.  Where applicable, one method is by offering evidence of a plaintiff’s symptom magnification, exaggerations or malingering – euphemisms for simply faking it.  However, a New Jersey Appellate Division decision, Rodriguez v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 449 N.J. Super. 577 (App. Div. 2017), has limited the use of such evidence.  The Rodriguez case has been granted certification to the New Jersey Supreme Court. 

Author: Frank Kontely | Practice Area: General Liability

MYSTERY SOLVED: The New Jersey Supreme Court Declares Phantom John Doe Driver Can Be Placed on the Verdict Sheet for Apportionment of Fault at the Time of Trial

In the past, identified defendants drew the shorter straw when it came to involvement of culpable but unidentified tortfeasor, such as operators of phantom vehicles. The courts would not allow the identified defendant to request the jury to apportion fault with a John Doe defendant, which usually meant the identified defendant was the only defendant listed on the jury verdict sheet and was left holding the bag at the time of verdict.

Author: Frank Caruso, John Burns | Practice Area: General Liability

New Jersey Court Considers Whether State Anti-Discrimination Laws Cover “Telecommuting” Employees Outside the State

Employment discrimination has been in the headlines during the past several months. And although New Jersey has long had strict laws banning sex discrimination in the workplace, it is still unclear how these rules apply to non-traditional work arrangements like telecommuting. After all, thanks to computers and smartphones, many employees can work for a New Jersey-based employer from any state. But are those employees entitled to the protections of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD

Author: Jennifer Passannante | Practice Area: Labor & Employment Law, Policies & Procedures

What’s the Difference Between a Fault and No-Fault Divorce?

In order to get a divorce, New Jersey requires that a divorce-seeking petitioner show grounds for the divorce, or explain the reason for which the divorce is being sought. In this blog, our family law attorneys provide an overview of fault versus no-fault divorce and what you need to do if you’re seeking dissolution of marriage.

Author: Brian McFadden-DiNicola, Andrea Mackaronis, Jessica Mazur | Practice Area: Family Law, Separation

New Jersey Finalizes First of its Kind Pharmaceutical Gift Ban to Physicians; New Administration Considering Changes

After publication and hearing in October 2017, a final Administrative Rule related to contracts and payments entered into with physicians by drug companies took effect on January 15, 2018. Under the new arrangement, physicians are not able to accept any financial benefit, that does not advance disease or treatment education. In this blog, Ryan Jones discusses the how this rule, being the first of its kind in the U.S., will impact the future of Health Care and Transactional Law.

Author: Ryan Jones | Practice Area: Health Care Law, Transactional / Business

After the Storm: What your business needs to know about clearing snow and ice

A storm-in-progress defense means a commercial landowner will not be responsible for a slip-and-fall accident as a result of the accumulation of snow or ice from sidewalks, walkways, driveways, and parking lots, until a reasonable period after the storm ends. In this blog, Frank Caruso discusses 5 factors that are used to determine whether or not it is reasonable for commercial landowners to shovel or salt walkways, and how much time they have to do so.

Author: Frank Caruso | Practice Area: General Liability

Divorce and Taxes: How the new tax bill will impact alimony, child support, and prenuptial agreements in New Jersey

It’s no secret that most of the divorce complaints in New Jersey are resolved via settlement. However, the tax bill which was recently passed and signed by the President is poised to shake the foundations of the practice. In this blog, Andrea Mackaronis shares what couples, separated and divorced, need to know before the new tax bill kicks in.

Author: Andrea Mackaronis | Practice Area: Family Law, Pre-nuptial Agreements, Mediation, Arbitration, and Alternatives to Litigation, Child Support, Collaborative Law, Equitable Distribution of Assets and Liabilities, Separation

New Department of Labor Release on Unpaid Interns - Legal or Not?

Jennifer Passannante analyzes the new "primary beneficiary" test adopted by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) which clarifies when interns and students working at for-profit employers will be considered employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), thereby entitling them to compensation. Find out the facts behind the DOL's recently implemented "Internship Programs under the Fair Labor Standards Act".

Author: Jennifer Passannante | Practice Area: Labor & Employment Law, Employment Agreements, Policies & Procedures