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Supermarket Sweepstakes David Mazie is relishing victory in a fight over a $33 million lottery jackpot won by grocery workers, but the money isn’t in the bag yet. Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mitchel Ostrer ruled Wednesday that workers at a Brick Township Pathmark were wrong to deny a share of the winnings to Mazie’s client, cashier Mary Martinelli. She told co-workers she wanted to participate in the August 2001 pool but never paid her share. Yet she had a contract because organizers of the longstanding pooling arrangement routinely advanced money to fellow employees and let them pay later. Marc Stofman, a partner of Cherry Hill’s Klehr, Harrison, Harvey, Branzberg & Ellers and counsel to the 36 co-workers, says he will appeal. And a separate suit is pending on behalf of two other Pathmark workers excluded from the jackpot. The state lottery placed $702,000 in escrow when the other two workers made their claims, but nothing was escrowed for Martinelli because she contacted the state after the payout. Mazie, a partner of Livingston’s Nagel Rice & Mazie, says he will seek the escrowed funds for his client after the appeals are exhausted. If the other plaintiffs win and he’s forced to split the escrowed funds, Mazie will pursue Martinelli’s 36 co-workers. “It’s not going to be a big issue,” he says. The Brethren Locals did not roll out the red carpet last Monday when Deputy Attorney General Robert Codey was sworn in as acting Cape May County prosecutor. Codey served nine years as an assistant Essex County prosecutor and 16 in the Division of Criminal Justice. But some lawyers object to the appointment of someone who commutes two hours each way from West Orange. Codey’s brother is Senate President Richard Codey, making local lawyers skeptical of the state’s story that someone from the outside is needed to assess the operation before a permanent appointment is made. “To be honest, nobody’s buying that,” says Lisa Radell, president of the Cape May County Bar Association. Local practitioners assume Codey got the job and pay hike from $89,000 to $141,000 to enhance his pension. And The Press of Atlantic City editorialized, “the shorter Codey’s tenure is in this job, the better.” Local lawyers still hope Gov. James McGreevey will name Stone Harbor solo practitioner Robert Taylor as prosecutor, Radell says. For his part, Codey says he isn’t sure how long he’ll be in Cape May. “If my name was Bob Smith, there wouldn’t be a word about my appointment.” Choosing Side When the Municipal Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund decided to drop the Bergen County township of River Vale from its rolls, it told township attorney Alexander Carver III, who also handles work for the fund, to pick: the township or the carrier. Carver, a partner at Westwood’s Huntington Carver, wasted little time. Last Thursday, he resigned the $95-an-hour township post he has held for four years. Fund officials told Carver that, given that the fund is considering dropping River Vale because of its high litigation costs, it would be “unacceptable” for him to continue to represent both parties. “There’s no comparison,” Carver says when asked why he chose to continue working for the fund, established in the mid-1980s. “I was one of [the fund's] original defense attorneys. They were one of my first clients.” Roy Blumenthal, the township clerk and administrator, did not return a telephone call seeking comment. All in the Family Robert Auriemma, the disbarred lawyer and former Montville mayor who served two years in federal prison for bilking clients out of $780,000, got a favorable ruling from an appeals court last Monday. When Auriemma needed bail before his 1998 conviction, his aunt and uncle lent his wife $24,000. Auriemma then went to jail and, according to the decision in Auriemma v. Auriemma, his wife died and he and the estate went bankrupt. The aunt and uncle sued in Passaic County to get their loan back, despite not having filed a claim on the bankruptcy, which was proceeding sans assets in federal court. No dice, Judges James Petrella and Lawrence Bilder wrote, affirming a trial judge. Plaintiffs have a right to bring a dueling action in state court, but Auriemma’s bankruptcy discharge trumps the claim. The ruling is ironic because the alleged facts — that Auriemma borrowed money and failed to pay it back — are essentially the same as those that sent him to prison in the first place. � By Charles Toutant, Michael Booth and Jim Edwards

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