In the Matter of Opinion No. 17-2012 of the Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics
Docket No.: 072810
May an attorney volunteer on behalf of Volunteer Lawyers for Justice to provide pro bono legal services to a debtor in a "no-asset" Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding if the attorney's law firm represents a creditor of the debtor in an unrelated matter? Held: Volunteer Lawyers for Justice’s pro bono bankruptcy program does not present a conflict of interest under RPC 1.7. With appropriate safeguards, a volunteer attorney can represent a low-income debtor in a no-asset Chapter 7 bankruptcy matter even if the attorney’s firm represents one or more of the debtor’s creditors in unrelated matters.
Click here to read the Brief written by Susan A. Feeney, Esq., Emily B. Goldberg, Esq. and Judah Skoff, Esq.
Click here to read the Opinion
Peter Innes v. Marzano-Lesnevich, et.al.
Supreme Court Docket No.: 074291
This case focuses on a number of issues, including (1) whether the attorney fee provisions established in Saffer v. Willoughby can be extended to permit non-clients to obtain an award of attorney's fees from their adversary's attorneys for alleged negligence, and (2) what criteria should be used to qualify experts in legal malpractice cases.
Elizabeth Gnall v. James Gnall
Supreme Court Docket No.: 073321
This case questions the reversal of a limited duration alimony award and whether a fifteen-year marriage qualifies as short term, precluding an award of limited duration alimony
Click here to read the brief written by Brian Schwartz, Esq., Derek Freed, Esq. and Brian Paul, Esq.
Morristown Associates v. Grant Oil Company
Supreme Court Docket No.: 073248
Does the general six-year statute of limitations established by N.J.S.A. 2A:14-1 for damage to property apply to a private claim for contribution under the New Jersey Spill Compensation Control Act; and if so, did the discovery rule allow plaintiff to pursue claims for damages arising prior to the limitations period?
Click here to read the Brief written by Craig S. Provorny, Esq. and Laurie J. Sands, Esq. on behalf of the New Jersey State Bar Association.
State of New Jersey v. Julie Kuropchak
Supreme Court Docket No.: 072718
In this appeal challenging a conviction of driving while intoxicated, was it error to admit the documentary evidence and the Alcotest results, and was the observational evidence sufficient to sustain the conviction?
Click here to read the Brief written by John Menzel, Esq. on behalf of the New Jersey State Bar Association.
State of New Jersey v. James J. Revie
Is a defendant who is convicted of a third offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI) more than ten years after his second DWI conviction entitled to a second step-down in sentencing under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a)(3) after having already received a step-down in sentencing on his second DWI conviction?
Ross v. Maeker
Supreme Court Docket No.: 072185
Does 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 apply to bar enforcement or oral agreements that existed before adoption of said amendments?
D&D Associates, Inc. v. North Plainfield Board of Education
Third Circuit Case No.: 12-2236
Can the attorney for the Board of Education be sued by plaintiff for defamation and tortious interference for statements in pre-litigation letters sent to plaintiff’s attorneys and plaintiff’s performance bond surety termination the parties’ contractual relationship?
Click here to read the Brief written by Ralph J. Lamparello, Esq., Thomas H. Prol, Esq. and Sharon A. Balsamo, Esq. on behalf of the New Jersey State Bar Association
Acupuncture Society of NJ v. NJ Department of Banking and Insurance, Docket No. A-1792-12
NJ Healthcare Coalition v. NJ Department of Banking and Insurance, Docket No. A-1038-12
NJ Coalition for Quality Health Care v. NJ Department of Banking and Insurance, Docket No. A-1445-12
NJ Association of Justice in NJ v. NJ Department of Banking and Insurance, Docket No. A-1636-12
The case focuses on whether DOBI exceeded its authority in adopting new regulations governing personal injury protection benefits provided in the aftermath of auto accidents.
Martin O'Boyle v. Borough of Longport (070999)
Are the documents requested from the Borough protected from access under the Open Public Records Act because they are protected by the attorney work-product privilege and common interest doctrine?
State v. William O'Driscoll (070438)
Was defendant "informed" of the consequences of refusing to submit to a breath test as required to sustain a conviction for refusal under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4a(a), where the officer read to defendant an outdated version of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Standard Statement that did not reflect the current, increased penalties for refusal?
In the matter of Sean Alden Smith, an Attorney at Law, Docket No. 070529 D-98-11 - This case questions whether the DRB has authority to order diversion during the post-complaint stage of a disciplinary proceeding.
Schoenefeld v. State of New York, Docket No. 11-4283-cv (pending in the Second Circuit) – Is a New York statute requiring non-resident attorneys to maintain an office in the state unconstitutional?
A federal appeals court said the question of whether an attorney must have an office in New York in order to handle cases there needs more review. Click here to read the decision.
In re: Complaint Filed by the Allamuchy Township Board of Education, Docket No. 9-11 (before the Council on Local Mandates) – Is the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act an unfunded mandate? Held: The Council on Local Mandates held that the Act was an unfunded mandate. However, the Act was amended by the Legislature, and on March 26, 2012, those amendments were signed into law appropriating $1 million to fund the requirements under the Act.
DePascale v. State of New Jersey, Docket No. 69,401 -- As applied to certain justices and judges, does the Pension and Health Care Benefits Act, P.L. 2011, c. 78, which increases public employees' contribution rates for their pension and healthcare benefits, operate to diminish judicial salaries and thereby violate article VI, § 6, ¶ 6 of the New Jersey Constitution?
Held: The Pension and Helath Care Benefits Act (Chapter 78), which requires increased pension and health care contributions by sitting justices and judges, diminishes judicial salaries during a jurist's term of appointment in violation of Article VI, Section 6, Paragraph 6 of the New Jersey Constitution.
State v. Cahill, Docket No. 68,727 -- Were defendant’s motor vehicle violations properly dismissed on the basis that he was denied a speedy trial? Decision pending.
Nostrame v. Santiago, Docket No. 68,651 -- May this attorney who was terminated by his client maintain an action against the client’s new attorney for tortious interference with contract under the circumstances? Decision pending.
Prime Accounting Dep't v. Township of Carney's Point, Docket No. 68,380 -- Where this complaint to challenge a tax assessment did not correctly identify the taxpayer and instead named a former tenant's accounting department, which never owned or leased the property but was listed on the municipal tax bill, should the taxpayer be permitted to amend the complaint to add itself as sole plaintiff to avoid dismissal for lack of standing? Decision pending.
Segal v. Lynch and Schofel, Docket No. 67,683 -- May a parenting coordinator, who also is an attorney, be awarded fees for time she spent responding to plaintiff’s motions and subpoenas and to his grievances against her under the Parenting Coordinator Pilot Program Implementation Guidelines?
Held: the judgment of the Appellate Division is affirmed to the extend that it affirmed the trial court's April 14, 2008, order awarding fees to Schofel for her work as a parent coordinator in responding to the grievances and to the extend that it affirmed the trial court's rejection fo Segal's argument that he was entitled to an evidentiary hearing on his grievances; in all other respects the judgment of the Appellate Division is reversed.
Petition for Review of the Letter Decision of the Committee on Attorney Advertising, Docket No. 47 2007, Docket No. 62,134 -- Can a mediation center that employs attorneys who also perform legal services use the name “Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation” followed by the name of the attorney who is the managing partner consistent with RPC 7.1 and RPC 7.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct? Decision Pending.
Gere v. Louis, 209 N.J. 486 (2012) -- Is plaintiff’s legal malpractice claim barred under Puder v. Buechel, 183 N.J. 428 (2005), where she resolved a property dispute with her former spouse by entering into a settlement agreement that included a reservation of rights to sue her former attorney? Held: Because the situation here is materially distinguishable from that which was considered in Puder, plaintiff’s legal malpractice claim is not barred.
Tannen v. Tannen, 208 N.J. 409 (2011) -- Under the circumstances of this case, is it proper to impute income to defendant based on her beneficial interest in a discretionary trust for purposes of determining plaintiff’s alimony and child support obligations? Held: The judgment of the Appellate Division is affirmed substantially for the reasons expressed in Judge Messano's opinion; the trust income should not be imputed under the Restatement (Second) of Trusts.
Click here for the NJSBA brief drafted by Martin L. Bearg, Lawrence A. Friedman, Richard H. Greenberg, Stephanie F. Hagan, Glenn A. Henkel, Richard Kahn, Jeralyn L. Lawrence, Daniel M. Serviss and Thomas J. Snyder.
Aronberg v. Tolbert, 207 N.J. 587 (2011) --Does N.J.S.A. 39:6A-4.5(a), which bars a lawsuit for automobile accident damages by an individual who was operating an uninsured vehicle, also preclude a wrongful death claim by the estate of that individual? Held: When an uninsured motorist's cause of action is barred by N.J.S.A. 39:6A-4.5(a), an heir has no right of recovery under the Wrongful Death Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:31-1 to -6.
He v. Miller, 207 N.J. 230 (2011) -- Did the trial court err in remitting the plaintiff’s jury verdict for pain and suffering? Held: The jury's award cannot stand because the trial court provided a sufficient explanation for remittitur and its decision was supported by the record.
Yousef v. General Dynamics Corp., 205 N.J. 543 (2011) -- Is New Jersey an appropriate forum to hear the claims of these New Jersey residents against a Florida resident and an American corporation for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident that occurred in South Africa? Held: The trial court properly weighed the public-interest and private-interest factors in finding that defendants failed to carry their burden of demonstrating that New Jersey is a "demonstrably inappropriate" forum. Therefore, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the forum non conveniens motion.
State v. Ciancaglini, 204 N.J. 597 (2011) -- Under the circumstances presented, should defendant be sentenced as a third-time offender for driving under the influence pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a)? Held: Defendant Ciancaglini's conviction in 2006 for refusing to take a breathalyzer test does not constitute a prior conviction for purposes of determining her sentence for driving while intoxicated in 2008.
New Jersey Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection v. Stewart Title Guaranty Co., 203 N.J. 208 (2010) -- May a title insurance company be held liable for a closing attorney’s theft of his clients’ funds under the circumstances presented? Held: No agency relationship existed between the title company and the attorney who misappropriated the clients' funds at the time the misappropriation occurred; the title company is not liable for the misappropriation.
State v. Chun
194 N.J. 54 (2008) Concerning the reliability of the Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C in the prosecution of dui cases.
- State v. Chun - Brief on Special Masters Report (PDF)
- State v. Chun - Reply Brief on Special Masters Report (PDF)
- State v. Chun - Brief on Supplemental Findings (PDF)
- State v. Chun - Reply Brief on Supplemental Findings (PDF)
- State v. Chun - Foundational Docs (PDF)
- State v. Chun - Motion to Enforce Court's Order (PDF)
- State v. Chun - Letter from President Ralph J. Lamparello in lieu of formal brief (PDF)
- State v Chun Order and Opinion
Lewis v. Harris
188 N.J. 415 (2006) Whether comitted same sex couples are entitled to the same privileges and benefits as married couples
- Lewis v. Harris (PDF)