NEW JERSEY LAWYER

DAILY BRIEFING      02/28/2005


News Briefs

LET’S GO TO THE VIDEOTAPE?
Are police nettled by the prospect of a jury getting to see just what happens behind the closed doors of an interrogation room? Not necessarily, according to several New Jersey Lawyer interviews with law enforcement officials. Still, there’s no clear consensus on the notion of taped interrogations becoming standard operating procedure here, something suggested recently by Attorney General Peter C. Harvey and the state’s 21 county prosecutors. While such taping already is under way in some parts of the Garden State, other police departments are giving it serious thought — and many admit it may take some wrangling to convince cops to embrace the practice. One county prosecutor who supports taping such talks already has all 53 of his municipal police departments on board, but admits it took him several years to make that change. A full story is in the Feb. 28 New Jersey Lawyer. 2-25-05

SEX OFFENDERS LIKELY TO FOOT THE BILL FOR VICTIMS’ COUNSELING
Awaiting signature by acting Gov. Richard J. Codey is legislation that would require convicted sex offenders to pay for their victims’ mental health counseling. A-2034 would impose fines of $500 to $2,000 that would be deposited in a fund available to victims and their families. “These criminals will never be able to compensate for the harm they cause, but they can shoulder the responsibility for restoring a sense of dignity and normality to the lives of those they preyed on,” said Assemblyman David Mayer of Camden, a co-sponsor. 2-25-05

CRIMINAL CONVICTION, CIVIL PENALTIES SESSION AT SETON HALL
They do the crime, so they do the time. But the punishment could be just the beginning. In addition to a criminal background that, at best, is a stigma and often a barrier to employment, many ex-convicts are barred from licensed professions or disqualified from government assistance, educational grants or public housing. As part of a quest for solutions, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and Seton Hall University School of Law are jointly sponsoring a March 18 symposium and training session on the “Civil Consequences of Criminal Convictions.” The all-day session will be held at the law school in Newark. The registration deadline is March 15. For more information, contact Rita Simmons, (973) 624-9400. 2-25-05

IDENTITY THEFT JUST TOO EASY, SAYS FTC
About 10 million Americans become victims of identity theft every year, according to the Federal Trade Commission — and part of the problem, it says, is that the vast databases of public and private records collected by everyone from retailers and credit card companies to schools and hospitals make the crime just plain simple. After all, scamming personal information from the internet is “much more effective than rummaging through the trash,” says Betsy Broder, assistant director for planning at the FTC. One of the best ways for consumers to protect themselves is to examine their credit reports carefully, looking for odd or incorrect information, according to Broder. Other common-sense tactics include not carrying a Social Security card, ignoring unsolicited e-mail that seek personal data and being vigilant when conducting business. 2-25-05

FEDERAL JUDGE TO YALE LAW GRADS: DON’T APPLY HERE
Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Acker in Northern Alabama has announced he won’t consider students from his alma mater, Yale Law School, for federal clerkships because of the school’s decision to limit access to military recruiters who deny enlistment to homosexuals. The school returned to its limited-access policy earlier this month after a federal judge awarded summary judgment to a group of faculty and students who had sued the government over its use of the Solomon Amendment to deny federal funds to schools that refuse to facilitate military recruiters. The school hasn’t banned military recruiters, but doesn’t provide the affirmative assistance extended to non-discriminatory employers, according to Jan Conroy, director of public affairs at’; Yale. 2-25-05



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FROM THE NEW JERSEY SUPREME COURT, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2005
NO OPINIONS WERE RELEASED BY THE NEW JERSEY SUPREME COURT ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2005.

THE SUPREME COURT has announced that it will release an opinion in U.S. SPORTSMEN’S ALLIANCE v. N.J. DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, A-69, on February 28, 2005. The issue on appeal in U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance addresses whether the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection can prohibit employees of the Division of Fish and Wildlife from issuing permits for a bear hunt that was authorized by the Fish and Game Council.



APPROVED FOR PUBLICATION
 
NO OPINIONS APPROVED FOR PUBLICATION WERE RELEASED BY THE APPELLATE DIVISION ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2005.

NOT APPROVED FOR PUBLICATION
 
NO OPINIONS NOT APPROVED FOR PUBLICATION WERE RELEASED BY THE APPELLATE DIVISION ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2005.

THE FOLLOWING OPINIONS NOT APPROVED FOR PUBLICATION HAVE BEEN RELEASED:


ATTORNEYS
NEW JERSEY STATE BAR ASSOCIATION v. STATE OF NEW JERSEY
Chancery Division, Union County, UNN-C-1-05, February 18, 2005, not approved for publication. (44 pages). Facts-on-Call Order No. 17657

Order to show cause seeking to enjoin the State of New Jersey from collecting the $75 assessment payable by each person licensed to practice law in New Jersey as set forth in §27(b)(6) of the New Jersey Medical Care Access and Responsibility and Patients First Act denied; the plaintiff New Jersey State Bar Association and the plaintiff individual attorney failed to meet three of the four prongs of the preliminary injunction standard because the monetary loss in this case was not irreparable, because the plaintiffs did not demonstrate that the Act was “completely devoid of any rational relation to an important governmental objective” or that the means selected to fund the Act were arbitrary and capricious, because the plaintiffs were unlikely to be able to show that the Act was a special legislation or that it “donates public money for a private purpose,” because the plaintiffs did not demonstrate a “constitutionally impermissible infringement” on the New Jersey Supreme Court’s powers, and because the harm to the attorneys paying the fee did not outweigh the potential harm to the State and to its citizens “if implementation of this remedial legislation is thwarted.”

TORT CLAIMS ACT
HARRIS v. ATLANTIC CITY POLICE DEPT.
Appellate Division, A-4420-03T1, February 24, 2005, not approved for publication. (4 pages). Facts-on-Call Order No. 17668

Denial of the pro se plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration of an order that vacated a default entered against the defendant Police Department and that dismissed his complaint against the Department and the defendant City affirmed; the plaintiff alleged that the defendants’ police officers harassed him during traffic stops between 1988 and 2000, and his complaint was dismissed in February 2001 for failure to file the notice required by the Tort Claims Act; due to a clerical error, the Department remained as a defendant, and a default was entered against it; after the complaint was administratively dismissed for lack of prosecution, the plaintiff’s motion to reinstate the complaint against the Department was granted, and the Department moved to confirm that it had been dismissed from the case; the plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration was properly denied because his claim was procedurally barred, and his failure to file the required notice was not justified by his lack of representation or by his ignorance of the Act’s requirements.

NEGLIGENCE
MICHKO v. BTS BOONTON, LLC
Appellate Division, A-2634-03T2, February 24, 2005, not approved for publication. (8 pages). Facts-on-Call Order No. 17664

Law Division orders granting summary judgment to the defendant general contractor, the third-party defendant plumbing and heating subcontractor, and the defendant landlord in a negligence action affirmed; the plaintiff was an employee of the tenant supermarket and was injured when the floor drain he stepped on “gave way”; the Law Division rejected the plaintiff’s reliance on res ipsa loquitur to establish negligence by the contractor and the subcontractor, found that this case required expert proof of negligence and that there was no expert proof in this case, and applied McBride v. Port Authority to grant summary judgment to the landlord; the trial court’s determination that expert proof was necessary was “essentially correct and dispositive of” all of the summary judgment motions.

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
ROBERTS v. CITY OF NEWARK
Appellate Division, A-2408-03T3, February 24, 2005, not approved for publication. (6 pages). Facts-on-Call Order No. 17666

Jury verdict of no cause of action for the defendant City and partial summary judgment for the defendant doctor in a medical malpractice action affirmed; on November 24, 1997, the plaintiff, who had uncontrollable diabetes, went to the defendant City’s clinic complaining of signs of diabetes, and he left after receiving treatment; on November 26, the plaintiff felt worse and went to the defendant hospital’s emergency room, where he was first examined by the defendant doctor; the defendant doctor left at the end of her shift, and the plaintiff was discharged by another doctor; on November 30, the plaintiff fainted, fell, and fractured his right ankle; the plaintiff alleged that he was negligently treated at the clinic, that he was negligently discharged from the emergency room, that the negligence of the clinic and the hospital caused his November 30 injuries, and that the hospital negligently treated him on November 30; the jury verdict was supported by the record, and the grant of partial summary judgment was proper because the defendant doctor was not responsible for the plaintiff’s discharge.

PARENT AND CHILD
HEALTHCARE INFORMATION SERVICES, INC. v. STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES
Appellate Division, A-6717-02T1, February 24, 2005, not approved for publication. (5 pages). Facts-on-Call Order No. 17665
Judgment of $11,867.78 for the plaintiff for copying costs incurred between November 1998 and March 1999 in response to requests for medical records from the defendant Division of Youth and Family Services affirmed; the plaintiff sought the recovery of copying costs incurred before November 1998 and a declaration that DYFS was required to pay future copying costs; the trial court properly determined (1) that N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.40, which became effective in March 1999 and which provides that DYFS cannot be charged for copying costs, was constitutional and applied to copying costs incurred after March 1999 and (2) that the plaintiff’s claim for costs incurred before November 1998 was barred by the statute of limitations; the trial court’s decision was “more than adequately supported” by the record.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
BASRA v. SEHGAL
Appellate Division, A-3488-03T3, February 24, 2005, not approved for publication. (14 pages). Facts-on-Call Order No. 17669

Final domestic violence restraining order affirmed; the plaintiff wife and the defendant husband were married in New Jersey in March 2002 and later moved to Kansas; in August 2003, the plaintiff visited her family in New Jersey and never returned to the defendant; in January 2004, the plaintiff obtained three letters that had been sent to her friend, to her sister’s friend, and to a restaurant that competed with her father’s restaurant; the letters contained “intimate details” about the plaintiff’s relationship with the defendant, the alleged reasons for the parties’ breakup, and “negative facts” about the plaintiff’s father and her family; despite the defendant’s denials, the record supported the Family Part’s findings that the defendant probably wrote the letters and that writing the letters was an act of harassment.

PUBLIC EMPLOYEES
LA PLACA v. BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE POLICE & FIREMEN’S RETIREMENT SYSTEM
Appellate Division, A-1689-02T5, February 24, 2005, not approved for publication. (5 pages). Facts-on-Call Order No. 17667
Final determination of the Board of Trustees of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System denying the petitioner police officer’s claim for accidental disability retirement benefits affirmed; the petitioner injured his back while trying to keep his balance as he administered the Heimlich maneuver to a man who was 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighed 200 pounds, and suffered from Parkinson’s disease; the Board correctly determined that the petitioner had not established that his injury was the result of a traumatic event under N.J.S.A. 43:16A-7 because the source of his injury was not a “great rush of force or uncontrollable power.”


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