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New Jersey Supreme Court Saves An Incomplete Arbitration Clause Beware The Not So Safe Harbor

October 16, 2020

BARRY A. KOZYRA reports that the New Jersey Supreme Court has decided that an arbitration clause in a contract which does not contain any direction as to who the arbitrator or arbitration entity will be or how to select that arbitrator and does not explain how the arbitration is to be conducted is still valid. In Flanzman v. Jenny Craig, Inc., --- N.J.---- (decided September 11, 2020) the Court reviewed an extensive factual history over the question of whether an 82-year-old plaintiff in an employment rights case against her employer was subject to an incomplete but broadly worded arbitration clause in her contract. The arbitration clause did cover a lot of what can be found in such clauses (e.g., waiver of trial by jury, inclusive of tort, contract and statutory claims, decision(...)

Movie Theaters File Complaint Against The State Of New Jersey Due To Ongoing Covid Related Closures

July 28, 2020

ROBERT B. SPAWN reports on a recent case initiated in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. On July 6, 2020, several major movie theater companies (the "Theaters"), which have been forced to cease business due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, filed suit against the State of New Jersey. In their Complaint, the Theaters allege that the State acted unconstitutionally and unlawfully in allowing certain places of public assembly to reopen while simultaneously requiring that movie theaters remain closed. The Theaters further allege that the continued government-mandated closure of their businesses is a violation of their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of expression; a violation of the Equal Protection under the law; a violation of(...)

The State’s Good Faith Obligation To Preserve Evidence In Its Control During A Criminal Prosecution Is Not Offset When Evidence Is Destroyed “Without Bad Faith”

June 16, 2020

STELIOS STOUPAKIS reports on a recent unpublished decision from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, which reversed a Defendant's conviction because the trial court did not consider the prejudice to the Defendant caused by the destruction of evidence by the arresting police department. The Appellate Division reasserted the fundamental principle that when evidence has been destroyed, the Court must determine whether the Defendant was prejudiced by the destruction of the evidence. If so, such prejudice outweighs the argument that the evidence had been destroyed "without bad faith." Here the Defendant's wife telephonically obtained a Temporary Restraining Order ("TRO") pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act ("PDVA"), based on an alleged incident that(...)

The Moving Party – A Convicted Murderer Serving A 40 Year Sentence For Killing Her Children’s Father – Must Show Changed Circumstances To Modify Orders That Establish Custody And Parenting Rights

June 11, 2020

RONALD J. HERMAN reports on a recent New Jersey Case, in which the Plaintiff-mother is currently serving a forty-year sentence for the 2010 murder of her two children's father. The children, who were seven years old at the time of the murder, heard gunshots in their house and entered their father's bedroom to see him dying. Following the murder, the children were placed with the Defendant, the children's paternal grandmother. A trial ensued regarding the custody of the children. During the proceedings, the court ordered an evaluation of the children by a psychologist who was jointly selected by the parties. At the evaluation, the children expressed no desire to see their mother. Furthermore, the children had been undergoing therapy for the trauma they incurred from the murder.(...)

Virtual Notarizations

April 16, 2020

Barry Kozyra and Michael Rankin report that New Jersey has now legalized Virtual Notarization of certain legal documents during the public health emergency under the Governor's Executive Order 103. The law allows for remote signatures to be applied and notarized as to Wills, Codicils, Deeds, Mortgages and other legal instruments. There are strict legal requirements to be followed as to preserving a record of the signing of the document and preparation of the documents. Mr. Kozyra said, "This is welcome relief for our many clients who need to proceed with important legal affairs during this unprecedented crisis and cannot travel to or meet with counsel or others. It does so with safeguards to prevent fraud or other mischief in the execution of personal and business documents." Mr.(...)