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SUPREME COURT Verdicchio v. Ricca, M.D. (A-40/41-2002, decided March 15, 2004). There was a basis for the jury to conclude that the increased risk to which Dr. Ricca exposed Stephen was a substantial factor in bringing about the harm that ultimately befell him, and the trial court erred in entering judgment for Dr. Ricca. [Digested at page 48.] Andrea E. Cipala v. Lincoln Technical Institute et al (A-65-02, decided March 16, 2004). Cipala is entitled to a judgment for specific performance, but she may not recover lump-sum damages for the present value of future disability payments because her disability was not shown to be permanent. Under the circumstances of this case, the imposition of a trust device is an appropriate remedy. [Digested at page 52.] New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services v. A.R.G. (A-29-03, decided March 17, 2004). The Court affirms New Jersey Div. of Youth and Family Services v. A.R.G., 361 N.J. Super. 46 (App. Div. 2003), in respect of the definition of “aggravating circumstances” pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4C-11.3, and it remands the matter to the trial court for consideration de novo whether defendant’s conduct satisfies the definition, thereby permitting DYFS to forgo reasonable efforts to reunify the defendant with his children. [Digested at page 45.] SUPERIOR COURT, APPELLATE DIVISION Millville Board of Education et al v. New Jersey Department of Education (A-886-03T3, etc., decided March 12, 2004). After the application of all existing state-funding components to their approved preschool budgets, these four appellant Abbott districts still maintained significant shortfalls. The districts contended that Abbott v. Burke, 153 N.J. 480 (1998) ( Abbott V) and the Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2004, L. 2003, c. 122, require that the state should be exclusively obligated to make up the shortfall. The commissioner of the Department of Education rejected that contention, concluding that he was entitled to look to local tax levies and other local budgetary resources. The court affirmed the commissioner’s decision, holding that Abbott V did not mandate exclusive state funding but only directed the commissioner to “ensure” that such programs are adequately funded. In addition, the court found nothing in the 2003 Appropriations Act that would suggest that the state should entirely fund preschool in the Abbott districts. [Digested at page 68.] Marilyn Steneken v. Gary Steneken (A-4435-02T2, decided March 15, 2004). The novel issue is whether it is impermissible “double counting” to value defendant’s business based on his reasonable, rather than actual, compensation and then to calculate alimony based on the same excess salary that was added back to business income, thus increasing the value of the corporate asset for which plaintiff already received her share in equitable distribution. We reject the invitation to expand the prohibition against double counting beyond its statutory application to a pension, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(b), which is a marital asset sui generis in nature and unlike the excess earnings involved here. Such an absolute bar on counting an asset both in the property division and alimony formula disregards the interrelationship between the two and impermissibly encroaches on the judicial function to consider all relevant circumstances. [Digested at page 72.] Patricia Konczyk v. Jerome Konczyk (A-5151-02T3, decided March 15, 2004). Under the terms of a judgment of divorce, plaintiff’s former husband was obliged to pay limited-duration alimony and to maintain a policy of life insurance with plaintiff as the beneficiary as security for his alimony obligation. Plaintiff’s former husband maintained a policy of life insurance but did not designate plaintiff as the beneficiary. On his death, plaintiff commenced an action seeking payment of the entire proceeds of the insurance policy. We held that plaintiff was entitled to no more than the amount due to her under the limited-duration alimony provision of the judgment of divorce. Rosalie Grey v. Trump Castle Associates, L.P. (A-2661-02T5, decided March 17, 2004). When a matter is submitted to arbitration pursuant to Rule 4:21A, a party may preserve a right to seek appellate review of an interlocutory order only by filing a demand for a trial de novo. Once the award is confirmed and a judgment is entered, an appeal from the award or any interlocutory order is barred. [Digested at page 71.] Octavio Serrano v. Jacqueline Serrano et al (A-5136-02T5, decided March 17, 2004). The Law Division granted summary judgment in favor of defendant because plaintiff failed to show that his injuries resulting from an automobile accident had a serious impact on his lifestyle. We affirm, but for different reasons than the Law Division judge. We held that plaintiff did not satisfy the verbal threshold as set forth in the 1998 Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act (AICRA), N.J.S.A. 39:6A-8a, because plaintiff’s injuries consisted of soft-tissue strain and sprain injuries, none of which were supported by objective medical tests establishing significant or serious injury. Therefore, the first prong under Oswin v. Shaw, 129 N.J. 290 (1992), requiring a showing of a serious injury supported by “credible, objective medical evidence,” was not satisfied. We have grave doubts, however, whether the AICRA requires a finding of serious impact under the second prong of Oswin, while the same could be used to show the serious nature of the injury. In the Matter of the Grant of Renewal Application of the Red Bank Charter School, Monmouth County (A-5811-01T2, decided March 17, 2004). The commissioner of the Department of Education and the State Board of Education approved renewal of the charter for the Red Bank Charter School. On appeal by the Red Bank Board of Education, we affirm the renewal of the charter and conclude that an adjudicatory hearing was not required to evaluate and approve the Charter School’s renewal. However, we remand for the commissioner to conduct a hearing to determine whether certain enrollment and other practices by the Charter School exacerbated the district’s pre-existing racial/ethnic imbalance. We further hold fatal a district board’s inability to specify how the Charter School’s funding impairs the district’s ability to deliver a thorough and efficient (T&E) education. We also reject several other claimed defects in the renewal process followed by the commissioner. [Digested at page 69.] SUPERIOR COURT, CHANCERY DIVISION Patricia Konczyk v. Jerome Konczyk (Burlington County, Docket No. FM-03-978-94, decided April 17, 2003). The novel question raised by this post-judgment motion is whether plaintiff Patricia Konczyk, the decedent’s ex-wife, is entitled to receive $15,000 in life insurance proceeds, when only $2,000 in alimony was still due her at the time of the decedent’s death. The final judgment of divorce required the ex-husband (now decedent) to produce proof of life insurance in the amount of $20,000 for the “plaintiff’s benefit,” which was to provide “alimony protection” for plaintiff. The protection was to be reduced to $15,000 when the alimony obligation reduced from $200 to $100 per month. When plaintiff turned 65, the ex-husband’s alimony obligation ceased, as did his obligation to maintain insurance. Plaintiff’s ex-husband died when she was 63 1/2. Apparently, there are policies of insurance that exceed $15,000, but in 2001, the ex-husband named his daughters the beneficiaries of the policies, rather than plaintiff. Plaintiff seeks a lien against the policies or the estate for $15,000. The daughters oppose this application. This opinion holds that plaintiff is only entitled to $2,000 of the insurance proceeds, plus $930 in attorneys’ fees and costs because the insurance obligation was to provide protection for the alimony obligation and was not an independent obligation to provide insurance. As such, the “protection” to which plaintiff is due is the alimony that was agreed to in the judgment of divorce, and not the insurance proceeds that exceed the underlying obligation. Otherwise, the excess benefits would constitute a windfall for plaintiff.

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