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Vol. 2, No. 16 DECISIONS ISSUED JANUARY 27, 1994 CIVIL PROCEDURE 07-2-2414 Douglas Chase et al. v. Zoning Board of Adjustment of the Township of Woodbridge et al., App. Div. (8 pp.) Where trial court asked plaintiffs who had initiated a suit for which no trial date had been set if they still wanted to pursue the matter and plaintiffs requested that the case be listed for trial, the court erred by dismissing suit after two more years passed and the case had still not been listed, since the interests of justice will be served by having the case heard. EVIDENCE – INSURANCE 19-2-2415 Carl Ransom v. Selective Way Insurance Co., App. Div. (10 pp.) Trial court properly permitted insurance company to introduce evidence of insured’s financial condition in order to establish a motive for arson, since prohibition against introducing evidence of criminal defendant’s financial condition does not apply to civil suits. FAMILY LAW 20-2-2416 Julie D’Antonio v. Anthony D’Antonio, App. Div. (8 pp.) Trial court should have held a plenary hearing where the parties to post-divorce suit submitted certifications that presented conflicting evidence as to whether their property settlement agreement was written with the expectation that husband would retire early from the military and whether his retirement was reasonable, and remand was ordered. 20-2-2417 Gary Olsen v. Alice Olsen, App. Div. (13 pp.) Trial court properly denied husband’s motion to decrease child support based on its conclusions that husband’s (1) unemployment for two years did not constitute a changed circumstance, since there was no evidence that he was permanently unemployable and (2) 18-year old daughter had not become emancipated, since she was pursuing a college degree. INSURANCE – AUTOMOBILES 23-2-2418 Allstate Insurance Co. v. Marie Charlot et al., App. Div. (9 pp.) Arbitration panel reasonably concluded that 1990 amendment to the verbal threshold law, N.J.S.A. 39:6A-8 — which provides that automobile accident victims who did not own an automobile and who did not reside in the household of an insured family member were not subject to the verbal threshold — applied retroactively to accident in which defendants were injured. 23-2-2419 Victoria Richardson v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. et al., App. Div. (7 pp.) Although car rental agreement erroneously indicated that plaintiff was associated with a company that possessed the type of credit card that would entitle him to $100,000 liability coverage, trial court properly concluded that the increased coverage did not apply, since plaintiff rented the car as an individual and he did not possess the required card. NEGLIGENCE – EVIDENCE 31-2-2420 Christine Halko v. Richard Garretson et al., App. Div. (6 pp.) In automobile negligence suit, trial court erred by (1) instructing jury on the “sudden emergency” doctrine based on proofs that plaintiff stopped suddenly, since such an instruction is appropriate only in the most unusual circumstances and (2) granting defendant’s motion to exclude video deposition testimony of plaintiff’s doctor, since the motion was filed long after the expiration of the 30-day period for such motions, R. 4:14-9(f). CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE 14-1-2421 State v. Alex Florez et al., Sup. Ct. (34 pp.) Defendants convicted of conspiracy to possess drugs had a constitutional right to disclosure of the identity of highly paid informer who was an active participant in the crime and the state’s primary witness, even though the disclosure may put the informer’s safety in danger. 14-2-2422 State v. Anthony Hamilton, App. Div. (14 pp.) Trial court should have charged defendant with conspiracy to commit theft as a lesser-included offense of conspiracy to commit robbery, since there was sufficient proof presented at trial to support the conclusion that defendant had no intention of using force. 14-2-2423 State v. Rosemary Iannone, App. Div. (9 pp.) Trial court erred by concluding that promissory estoppel barred prosecutor from rejecting defendant’s application for admission into pre-trial intervention (PTI) because an interrogating police detective had promised that defendant would be admitted into PTI if she cooperated with the investigation, since defendant should have known that the detective did not have the authority to admit a person into PTI and thus could not have reasonably relied on the promise.

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