TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey Transit Corp. (NJT) should have the opportunity to establish the confidential nature of personnel files sought via discovery in an employee's discrimination lawsuit, a New Jersey appeals panel ruled Oct. 30, reversing an order compelling production and directing a trial court to conduct appropriate in camera review of the disputed documents (Mildalia Madlinger v. New Jersey Transit Corp., No. A-2310-16T2, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2726).
CAMDEN, N.J. - With most testimony by a couple's expert on the cause of a fire that damaged their property allowed, summary judgment is not appropriate because there is a question of fact as to whether the fire started in a Ford minivan due to a design defect, a New Jersey federal judge held Oct. 27 (James Ford, et al. v. Ford Motor Company, et al., Plymouth Rock Assurance a/s/o James Ford v. Ford Motor Company, et al., No. 1:15-cv-357, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178963).
NEWARK, N.J. - A disability insurer's termination of long-term disability benefits after approving the claimant's benefits for seven years was arbitrary and capricious because the insurer failed to properly define the material duties of the claimant's occupation and because the evidence does not support the insurer's termination, a New Jersey federal judge said Oct. 23 (Christopher Patterson v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 15-8156, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175543).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Oct. 17 dismissed a professional liability insurer's lawsuit disputing coverage for an underlying legal malpractice action against its law firm insured, finding that the underlying state court provides an adequate forum to resolve the dispute involving substantial similarity in both issues and parties (Markel Ins. Co. v. Connolly, Connolly & Heun, LLP, et al., No. 17-1885, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170325).
NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Oct. 16 granted a motion to dismiss filed by estates named as defendants in an insurer's declaratory judgment lawsuit accusing a law firm of making misrepresentations on its Lawyers Professional Liability Policy application, finding that an underlying action in state court filed by the estates is a more appropriate forum for the insurer's allegations (Markel Insurance Company v. Connolly, Connolly & Huen LLP, et al., No. 17-1885, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170325).
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey appeals panel on Oct. 10 agreed with a subcontractor that the continuous trigger theory applies to a dispute over whether coverage is owed by one of its insurers but remanded to the trial court the issue of when the manifestation began (Air Master & Cooling Inc. v. Selective Insurance Company of America, et al., No. A-5415-15T3, N.J. Super, App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. LEXIS 144).
TRENTON, N.J. - A divided New Jersey Supreme Court on Oct. 4 ruled in the first of two consolidated cases that class certification is inappropriate in a lawsuit against TGI Fridays Inc. over hidden drink prices and, in the second suit over hidden drink prices at Carrabba's New Jersey locations, ruled that class certification was appropriate for one of two claims as long as the class was narrowed (Debra Dugan, et al. v. TGI Fridays, Inc., et al., Ernest Bozzi, et al. v. OSI Restaurant Partners, LLC, et al., Nos. 077567 and 077556, N.J. Sup., 2017 N.J. LEXIS 975).
NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Sept. 21 cast aside defendants' concerns regarding a special master's ability to objectively oversee discovery in a case alleging that a company and its attorneys hid evidence of asbestos contamination of talc products from asbestos plaintiffs (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC., et al., No. 11-1754, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154772).
JERSEY CITY, N.J. - A six-year statute of limitations precludes a reinsurance intermediary's promissory estoppel, unjust enrichment and tortious interference counterclaims against an insurance and a reinsurance management services provider and an excess and surplus lines insurer, a New Jersey appeals panel affirmed Sept. 20 (Berkley Risk Solutions LLC, et al. v. Industrial Re-International Inc., et al., No. A-2366-15T1, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2382).
TRENTON, N.J. - A plaintiff's failure to respond to a motion to dismiss her class suit accusing the Princeton University trustees of mishandling the university's retirement plan did not entirely doom her suit as a New Jersey federal judge, on Sept. 19, ruled that the plaintiff partially stated claims for relief as to breach of the duty of prudence and granted leave to amend the other dismissed claims (Elysee Nicolas, et al. v. The Trustees of Princeton University, No. 17-3695, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151775).
TRENTON, N.J. - The fact that an insured assigned rights after incurring medical expenses does not change the enforceability of an anti-assignment provision in an Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 case, a federal judge in New Jersey held Sept. 21 (Kayal Orthopaedic Center P.C., et al. v. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, No. 16-9059, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153763).
CAMDEN, N.J. - Granting in part a motion for a protective order by the New Jersey attorney general, a New Jersey federal magistrate judge on Sept. 19 concluded that many of the documents sought by an Indian tribe that is suing over state tribal recognition policies are protected by the attorney-client and deliberative process privileges (Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation v, Christopher S. Porrino, No. 1:15-cv-05645, Court, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151410).
TRENTON, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Sept. 19 struck defenses submitted via email by three defendants accused by Government Insurance Co., GEICO Indemnity Co., GEICO General Insurance Co. and GEICO Casualty Co. (collectively GEICO) of submitting approximately $3.3 million in false insurance claims, ruling that emails to counsel are not the proper procedure for responding to a lawsuit (Government Employees Insurance Company, et al. v. Hamilton Health Care Center, P.C., et al., No. 17-0674, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151772).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Sept. 18 found that a bank involved in a corporate merger has a right to reimbursement under a directors and officers liability insurance policy for its post-merger defense costs vis-a-vis the independent directors involved in a shareholder class action (BCB Bancorp, Inc., et al. v. Progressive Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-1261, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151415).
TRENTON, N.J. - Allegations that Scholastic Inc. exceeded the terms of a limited license to use a plaintiff's copyrighted photographs in its publications will proceed in New York federal court in light of Scholastic's forum-selection clause with a stock photography agency, a New Jersey federal judge ruled Sept. 15 (George Steinmetz v. Scholastic Inc., No. 16-3585, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149952).
NEWARK, N.J. - A firm of pediatric doctors can pursue allegations that a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility violated the False Claims Act, the New Jersey False Claims Act (NJFCA) and the New York False Claims Act (NYFCA) for unlawfully billing Medicare and Medicaid as primary payers rather than a patient's private insurance company, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled Sept. 18, finding that the firm sufficiently stated claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (United States of America v. Wanaque Convalescent Center, et al., No. 14-6651, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150566).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal magistrate on Sept. 14 found that professional liability insurance coverage was not triggered because underlying sexual harassment and discrimination claims do not arise out of the insured's performance of ambulance services, granting the insurer's motion for judgment on the pleadings in the insured's declaratory judgment lawsuit (Aaron Ambulance Medical Transportation Inc., et al. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London, No. 16-04564, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149409).
TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Supreme Court on Sept. 14 overturned an appeals court's ruling reinstating a condominium association's construction defects lawsuit, holding that it is unclear when the statute of limitations began to run on the association's lawsuits against a general contractor and three subcontractors and that the limitations period does not restart every time a property changes hands (The Palisades at Fort Lee Condominium Association, Inc. v. 100 Old Palisade, LLC, et al., Nos. A-101/102/103/104 September Term 2015, 077249, N.J. Sup., 2017 N.J. LEXIS 845).
CAMDEN, N.J. - Although an insured's claim for breach of contract does not exceed the federal jurisdictional minimum amount in controversy of $75,000, a New Jersey federal judge on Sept. 12 refused to dismiss the insured's complaint, noting that if the insured is successful in proving that the insurer acted in bad faith in handling an underinsured motorist claim, the amount in controversy could exceed $75,000 (Beth Gussman v. Government Employees Insurance Co., No. 16-8563, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146995).