Employer immunity from tort suits by employees; exemption of state law school clinics' files from OPRA; and a trend toward fewer criminal case reversals headline this year's look at the Supreme Court's work product for the term.
An overview of the most significant decisions from the New Jersey Supreme Court this term, as analyzed by some of the state's most well-respected practitioners.
Emails within the workplace, the parameters of settle and sue, the taxing of out-of-state corporations and a lower standard than probable cause in school searches are among those areas impacted by the Supreme Court's decisions in the 2009-2010 term. Other significant rulings include: controlling the impact of the Affidavit of Merit statute, distribution of assets after the death of a party to a divorce action and the right to challenge local legislation through referendum.
Municipalities' rights to preserve trees, donate open space and control trash collection, plus constitutionally guaranteed commercial free speech in lawyer advertising are among those areas impacted by the Supreme Court's decisions in the 2008-2009 term. Other significant rulings include: expansive liability in consumer fraud and child sex abuse cases, employment arbitration awards and discrimination claims, scrutiny over the admission of polygraph test results into evidence and an emphasis on use of Complimentary Dispute Resolution Programs in family law.
Divorced couples, testimonial witnesses and employees facing religious discrimination in the workplace are among those impacted by the Supreme Court's decisions in the 2007-2008 term. Among other significant rulings, the Court recognized limits to off tract land developments, public land use dedication and its tax consequences and the interplay of fiduciary duty and proximate cause in criminal law.
Gay couples, paint manufacturers and bullies are among those impacted by the Supreme Court's decisions in the 2006-2007 term. Among other significant rulings, the Court recognized equal rights for same-sex partners, prevented nuisance law from morphing into a 'monster' and told school boards to keep students safe from danger.
In the 2005-06 term, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided cases involving the 'taxation' of out-of-state transporters, fee shifting under OPRA, parents' duty to pay college expenses and premises owners' liability for secondhand asbestos injuries. In the area of employment law, the Court offered practical guidance for litigators and Law Division judges facing Law Against Discrimination and Conscientious Employee Protection Act trials.
The Law Journal's annual Supreme Court review offers expert commentary on the term's most significant decisions, including: the two Ten Commandment cases, McCreary County and Van Orden; the highly anticipated takings case, Kelo; and two decisions important for business, National Cable & Telecommunications Association and Graham County Soil & Water Conservation District.