NEW JERSEY LAWYER

DAILY BRIEFING      01/07/2005


News Briefs

AG EXPANDS TAPED-CONFESSION POLICY
Attorney General Peter C. Harvey has made permanent and expanded a temporary policy issued in April that requires police and prosecutors to electronically record homicide confessions. As of September, all first- and second-degree crimes will be included, and by next January, third-degree crimes as well. Harvey also has called on law enforcement to consider electronically recording full interrogations. In the meantime, a study group appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court also is examining the issue of recording interrogations. A full story is in the Jan. 10 New Jersey Lawyer. 1-6-05

OPENLY GAY ATTORNEY LEADS PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
For the first time in its 202-year history, the Philadelphia Bar Association has its first openly gay chancellor. Andrew A. Chirls, a partner in WolfBlock’s business litigation practice group, also was a pioneer in 1990 when he became the first openly gay member of the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission. He was instrumental in establishing the bar association’s Committee on the Legal Rights of Lesbians and Gay Men and led an effort to get the 25 largest firms in the city to endorse a model non-discrimination policy that includes lesbians and gay men. He served six years on Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund’s national board and has considerable experience in age and gender discrimination claims in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He successfully tried the first case presented to a Pennsylvania jury for discrimination based on AIDS/HIV status. He began his legal career as a law clerk to senior U.S. District Judge Stanley S. Brotman in Camden. 1-6-05

DISBARRED LAWYER INDICTED FOR UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE
A disbarred lawyer, A. David Dashoff, 55, of Cherry Hill, was indicted by a Burlington County grand jury on one count of unauthorized practice of law. According to Jack Smith of the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, Dashoff practiced law in Moorestown and Willingboro between April 2001 and July 2003, even though he had been disbarred in October 1998. If convicted, he faces up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine. The indictment charged him with representing and preparing documents for a couple who wanted to buy a house in Willingboro. The sale never took place and the couple lost an unspecified amount of money, Smith said. Dashoff was disbarred in 1998 for gross neglect of clients, failing to act with diligence, and failing to provide files and documents to clients and attorneys. 1-6-05

LEGAL ADVOCATE CITES NEED FOR MORE MONEY FOR POOR STUDENTS
Apparently, efforts to support students in poor school districts still has a way to go in New Jersey. David G. Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center in Newark, which represents students in so-called Abbott special-needs districts, said those 31 districts require even more funds for education. His comment came in reaction to a report in Education Week giving the state a ‘C’ for how equitably funds are spent among its school districts. The report noted there are many districts that fall just short of the 31 qualifying for millions of dollars in extra aid, and the result is an inequitable distribution of funds. 1-6-05

DON’T LOOK NOW, BUT DOESN’T THAT POTENTIAL JUROR LOOK FAMILIAR?
Marlborough, Mass., District Judge Thomas Sullivan Jr. didn’t recognize the legal celebrity in court, but then he saw the name on a document listing potential jurors. “When I looked at the slip, I said, ‘Oh, my God.’ ” Appearing for jury duty was U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who splits his time between Washington and Massachusetts. On the docket were two matters — an assault case and a drunken driving prosecution. Before Breyer’s name was called, the jury for the assault case was filled. When his name was called for the other matter, the defense attorney excluded him. According to Sullivan, the defense attorney said, “The last thing I need is two judges on the case.” 1-6-05



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FROM THE NEW JERSEY SUPREME COURT, THURSDAY, JANUARY 6, 2005
NO OPINIONS WERE RELEASED BY THE NEW JERSEY SUPREME COURT ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 6, 2005, AND NO OPINIONS ARE SCHEDULED FOR RELEASE ON FRIDAY, JANUARY 7, 2005.


APPROVED FOR PUBLICATION
ATTORNEYS
SULLIVAN v. ASLANIDES
Appellate Division, A-1881-03T2, approved for publication January 6, 2005. (17 pages). Facts-on-Call Order No. 92247

Incurring attorney’s fees to defend litigation arising out of an agreement drafted by an attorney does not, by itself, commence the limitations period on a legal malpractice claim against the drafter of the contract. Distinguishing Grunwald v. Bronkesh and Dixon Ticonderoga Co. v. Estate of O’Connor.

MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS
DEEGAN v. PERTH AMBOY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY
Appellate Division, A-3963-03T2, approved for publication January 6, 2005. (14 pages). Facts-on-Call Order No. 92248

A redevelopment agency may approve a redevelopment project and enter into an agreement with a developer for construction of the project without conducting an evidentiary hearing or providing an opportunity for public comment. If a redevelopment agency decides to conduct a hearing concerning a proposed redevelopment project, an agency member who is absent from part of the hearing is not required to certify that he or she has read a transcript of the evidence or public comment that was presented during that absence.

TAXATION
SIMON v. RANDO
Appellate Division, A-262-03T5 and A-2660-03T5, approved for publication January 6, 2005. (17 pages). Facts-on-Call Order No. 92249

In tax sale certificate foreclosure actions where the intervenor acquired prior tax sale certificates from named defendants and redeemed them without first intervening in the action, the dismissal of the foreclosure actions was reversed and remanded for the entry of judgment for the plaintiff, subject to the plaintiff’s payment of the amount that the intervenor spent to acquire and redeem the tax sale certificates, because the intevenors did not follow the statutory procedures.

NOT APPROVED FOR PUBLICATION
PARENT AND CHILD
ANGUS v. VANPLANTINGA
Appellate Division, A-5661-02T1, January 5, 2005, not approved for publication. (20 pages). Facts-on-Call Order No. 17485

Post-divorce-judgment order denying the defendant father’s motions to obtain custody of the parties’ three teenage children, to terminate supervised visitation, to terminate his child support obligation, to impose a child support obligation on the plaintiff mother, and to assess damages against the plaintiff and an order denying the defendant’s motion for reconsideration affirmed; contrary to the defendant’s arguments on appeal, (1) the defendant’s evidence, which included a report from a child psychiatrist, did not indicate a change in circumstances sufficient to warrant either a modification of the existing custody and visitation orders or a plenary hearing where it was “clear” that the children would oppose any modification and (2) no cause of action warranting an award of damages was asserted by the defendant or reflected in the record.

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
COSTELLO v. MATTUCCI
Appellate Division, A-3359-03T3, January 5, 2005, not approved for publication. (22 pages). Facts-on-Call Order No. 17487

Jury verdict for the plaintiff in a medical malpractice action against the first defendant radiologist reversed and remanded for a new trial and dismissal of the plaintiff’s claim against the second defendant radiologist affirmed; the first defendant found the plaintiff’s 1994 mammogram normal, the second defendant found her 1995 mammogram normal, but a third radiologist identified a mass in her 1996 mammogram that was later diagnosed as cancerous; the trial court erred (1) by admitting the report of the third radiologist, who did not testify at trial, because the report did not qualify for admission under N.J.R.E. 808 and (2) by refusing to admit the deposition testimony of the plaintiff’s expert as extrinsic evidence of a prior inconsistent statement under N.J.R.E. 613(b).

INMATES
CHAMBERLAIN v. DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
Appellate Division, A-1409-03T3, January 6, 2005, not approved for publication. (7 pages). Facts-on-Call Order No. 17486

Final agency decision of the Department of Corrections that imposed disciplinary sanctions against the petitioner inmate for refusing to obey the order of a staff member and for failure to comply with a written rule or regulation of the correctional facility affirmed; the petitioner was charged with violation of the prohibited acts when a corrections officer asked the petitioner why she had been in the Edna Mahan Hall the night before and the petitioner responded that the officer had no right to question her and that it was “none of her business” what she did with her time; the decision was supported by sufficient credible evidence in the record and was not arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable; the petitioner received the “limited protection” that was afforded to her before the imposition of disciplinary sanctions.

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