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

Capitol Report

February 3, 2014

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 the association’s website at www.njsba.com

RECENT AMICUS ACTIVITY

The New Jersey State Bar Association sometimes acts as amicus curiae in pending cases before New Jersey and federal courts where issues are believed to affect the legal profession or the system of justice.

Ross v. Maeker

Supreme Court Docket No.: 072185

This case questions whether the 2010 amendment to the Statute of Frauds (N.J.S.A. 25:1-5(b)) requiring a writing memorializing palimony agreements and independent advice of counsel prior to executing such an agreement applies to bar enforcement of oral agreements that existed before adoption of the amendments. On Nov. 22, the New Jersey State Bar Association filed a motion to participate as amicus curiae along with a proposed brief in the Supreme Court of New Jersey. The brief was drafted by Brian Paul, Esq. of Szaferman LaKind Blumstein & Blader, P.C.; Brian M. Schwartz, Esq., and Elizabeth Vinhal, Esq., both of the Law Office of Brian Schwartz. On Jan. 7, the Supreme Court of New Jersey granted the New Jersey State Bar Association’s motion, both through the filing of a brief and participating in oral argument.

To read the NJSBA’s amicus curiae brief in this and other matters, visit the NJSBA’s website at njsba.com.

NJSBA RECENT ACTION IN TRENTON

Civil Trial Bar

A-2215 (PDF) (Burzichelli) (NJSBA opposes) Strengthens public entities' immunity for damages against claims of injury occurring on public beaches and boardwalks. On Jan. 27, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Regulatory Oversight Committee.

The New Jersey State Bar Association has concerns with this bill, believing it would extend immunities beyond those that already exist for public entities under Title 59 of New Jersey’s statutory law, specifically, the provision of N.J.S.A 59:4-8 under which neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable for an injury caused by a condition of any unimproved public property.

Criminal Law

A-2237 (PDF) (Rumpf) (NJSBA opposes) Makes escapees responsible for apprehension costs. On Jan. 27, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

The New Jersey State Bar Association has concerns with this legislation, believing the costs place an unfair burden on a population that is almost by definition impoverished, making it difficult for inmates to get back on their feet after release. This can have the effect of increasing recidivism when one of the main goals of prison should be rehabilitation and utilizing policies that reduce the rate of recidivism.