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

Capitol Report

August 5, 2013

 

This is a status report provided by the New Jersey State Bar Association on recently passed and pending legislation, regulations, gubernatorial nominations and/or appointments of interest to lawyers, as well as the involvement of the NJSBA as amicus in appellate court matters. To obtain a complete copy of the Capitol Report and/or retrieve a former Capitol Report, please visit our website at www.njsba.com

 

NEW RULES

 

On July 9, 2013, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner signed an order adopting a number of amendments to the current court rules and related appendices that will be in effect starting Sept. 1, 2013. Some of the new rule amendments are as follows:

 

R. 1:4-1 – Requires a New Jersey attorney identification number to be placed on the first sheet of every paper filed with a court.

 

R. 1:8-3 – Prohibits the exclusion of the public from jury selection unless the judge rules there is a compelling reason to do so; alternatives to public exclusion must be considered.

 

R. 1:32-2A (PDF) – Permits the Administrative Office of the Courts, with approval from the chief justice, to develop and implement electronic filing, electronic record keeping, electronic indexing of documents, and the use of electronic signatures subject to approval of safeguards.

 

R. 3:23-8 – Clarifies the ability of a superior court judge hearing a municipal court appeal to remand a case to reconstruct an unintelligible record. Also includes a new amendment giving a superior court judge hearing an appeal wider latitude to supplement a record to correct legal errors in the municipal court proceeding.

 

R. 3:26-1(a) – New section of the rule permits the issuance of certain restraining orders by electronic communication, subject to conditions set forth in the rule governing recording, sworn testimony and memorialization of specific terms of the order.

 

R. 5:3-5 – Permits an attorney in a family action to withdraw from representation 90 days or more from the date of trial, without regard to the date of a scheduled early settlement panel hearing.

 

R. 5:4-2 – Requires a confidential litigant information sheet to be submitted in custody, parenting time, visitation and paternity proceedings, in addition to alimony, maintenance and child support matters, as required in a prior version of the rule.

 

R. 5:10-2 – Specifies what information must be included in a judgment for adoption.

 

R. 5:12-1 – Specifies contents of a notice of child placement to be filed with the court by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

 

R. 5:13-5 (PDF) – Requires the Child Placement Review Board to conduct an enhanced review where a child has been placed by the Division of Child Placement and Permanency; where the court has issued a placement order, requires the division to submit a placement plan to the court within a specified time frame.

 

For copies of all of the amendments please visit the Judiciary website at www.judiciary.state.nj.us.

 

 

NJSBA RECENT ACTION IN TRENTON

 

On July 29, 2013, the Senate held a quorum/voting session; however, Senate committees did not meet.

 

Health Law

A-732 (Eustace) Makes it a crime of the third degree to practice as or represent oneself to others as being a licensed psychoanalyst, chiropractor or social worker. On July 29, 2013, the bill was received in the Senate with Assembly amendments, where it is awaiting Senate vote to concur with the Assembly amendments. 

 

The NJSBA Board of Trustees, Legislative Committee, Family Law Section, Health Law Section and Women in the Profession Section voted to support this legislation as amended, believing the bill would protect vulnerable patients seeking treatment for personal and emotional problems from unlicensed professionals who have the potential to inflict significant harm on such patients. The NJSBA supported the amendments to prevent exposure to penalties by attorneys, clergy and court mediation professionals who engage in activities that might constitute the practice of “marriage and family therapy,” which would not be prohibited in the practice of law. The current bill includes the necessary safeguards to prevent this exposure.

 

Workers’ Compensation

S-1778 (Greenstein) ”Creates the Thomas P. Canzanella Twenty First Century First Responders Protection Act; concerns workers’ compensation for public safety workers.  On July 29, 2013, the governor’s veto was received in the Senate. 

 

The NJSBA Board of Trustees, Legislative Committee and Workers’ Compensation Section voted to oppose this legislation, believing the cost factors associated with the bill are unknown. While the NJSBA supports first responders and is sensitive to the potential risks they face, the state bar believes this bill misses the mark. Funding was first made available through similar legislation, such as special legislation for 9/11 victims, and with this bill no such funding information has been forthcoming.

 

Further, the legal burdens of proof and rebuttable presumptions are changed for the group of individuals defined in this bill. The workers' compensation statute and system already has defined burdens of proof that must be met with respect to all petitioners, which are fair and equal, so that a highly skilled workers' compensation bench may weigh all factors and reach a fair conclusion.

 

OTHER PENDING LEGISLATION:

 

Dispute Resolution

S-2163 (Lesniak) Concerns arbitration for certain non-teaching school staff. On July 29, 2013, the governor’s veto was received in the Senate.

 

Taxation Law

S-2912 (Oroho) Permits a farm income averaging credit under the New Jersey gross income tax. On July 29, 2013, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.