New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/20/05
CONTACT:Barbara S. Straczynski
Communications and Marketing Manager
732-937-7524

NJSBA Files To Participate As Amicus In Insurance Fraud Prevention Act Case

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The New Jersey State Bar Association filed a Petition today to participate as amicus curiae in Liberty Mutual Insurance Company v. Land et al., a case pending before the New Jersey Supreme Court that concerns the proper burden of proof that should be applied to civil proceedings under the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act.

In this matter, Liberty Mutual sought to void a homeowner’s insurance policy issued to the Land defendants after they caused purposeful, additional damage to a cabin property where a claim had already been filed for previous tree damage. A jury verdict was returned in favor of the plaintiff. On appeal by the defendant, Liberty Mutual cross-appealed the application by the trial judge of the clear and convincing burden of persuasion to the plaintiff’s claims.

The NJSBA agrees with the Appellate Division determination that the clear and convincing standard be applied to civil actions under the Insurance Fraud Protection Act. A portion of the association’s brief demonstrates how the IFPA has achieved its stated purpose through the use of the clear and convincing standard.

“The association firmly believes that individuals who commit fraud should be brought to justice and also that the IFPA has been effective in this regard,” says NJSBA President Stuart A. Hoberman. “While we strongly support efforts to stop and deter fraud, we also stand firm in the belief that defendants must be treated fairly. The clear and convincing burden of persuasion has been proven effective in combating fraud, and any lowering of the burden of proof would be unfair and detrimental to fraud defendants.”

Robert B. Hille of of Waters McPherson & McNeill, PC prepared the brief for the NJSBA.

The New Jersey State Bar Association, incorporated in 1899, is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice.

- NJSBA -