On Wednesday, March 26, 2014, NJCJI hosted a training session on civil justice reform for legislative staff, government affairs professionals, and other interested parties. The event featured remarks from NJCJI staff, practicing attorneys, and the business community, all focusing on what civil justice reform actually is and why it is important.
Fee-shifting provisions are showing up in proposed legislation in New Jersey with increasing frequency. These provisions, which allow prevailing plaintiffs to recover attorney’s fees and court costs, encourage frivolous litigation, discourage settlement, and drive up the cost of lawsuits. Continue reading
On Monday, March 17, the Senate Labor Committee is holding a hearing on S783, the Unfair Wage Recovery Act. NJCJI will testify in opposition to this bill because it would introduce considerable uncertainty into the state’s employment law.
Click here to read a background memo on the issue.
A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of March 8-14, 2014.
Amending New Jersey’s law governing the appeal-ability of class certifications has long been a priority of the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute because the current practice of allowing appeals only by permission of the court emphasizes economics over justice, and invites plaintiffs to file weak claims. A rule change permitting interlocutory appeal of class certification decisions would enhance the predictability and fairness of the judicial process, and increase the likelihood that courts reach decisions based on the merits of the cases before them.
At NJCJI’s request, the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Civil Practices has formed a subcommittee to consider changing court rules to allow for the interlocutory appeal of class action certifications as of right. The next report of the Committee will not be issued until early 2016, but the Committee is accepting comments on this year’s report, which announced the Committee’s decision to further study the appeal issue. We encourage you to let the Committee know you are pleased with its decision.
Bills establishing a right to appeal class certifications have been introduced during the past few legislative sessions at NJCJI’s encouragement. This session, Assemblyman Wisneiwski has introduced A2756, which would establish an immediate right to interlocutory appeal of certification decisions. Introduction of a companion bill in the Senate is forthcoming. Keep your eyes on your inbox for further updates.
Click here for more information on interlocutory appeals of class certifications.
The latest report from the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform highlights litigation trends from across the country, and not surprisingly New Jersey is cast in an unfavorable light. New Jersey is noted as a hot spot for asbestos bankruptcy trust fraud and false claims act litigation. In addition, the report claims New Jersey is second only to California in the number of food related class action suits filed in the state, thanks largely to our state’s 6 year statute of limitations. Continue reading
One of NJCJI’s top priorities for 2014 is advancing legislation that will bring transparency to bankruptcy trust litigation and discourage fraud so that settlement dollars are available to legitimately injured parties. The desperate need for this legislation was most recently illustrated by a ruling from U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge George Hodges revealing the “tort system was infected by the manipulation of exposure evidence by plaintiffs and their lawyers.” Continue reading