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Vol. 4, No. 150 – August 6, 1996 STATE COURT CASES ATTORNEY/CLIENT 04-2-9783 Richard McGuinness v. Timothy L. Barnes, Esq., et al., App. Div. (9 pp.) The Law Division judge correctly ruled that, as a matter of law, plaintiff s proofs did not support a cause of action for his underlying medical malpractice claim, and therefore summary judgment was properly entered dismissing the legal malpractice case against plaintiff s attorney for allegedly mishandling the medical claim. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW — INVOLUNTARY COMMITMENTS Now on Counsel Connect 10-1-9784 In the Matter of D.C., Supreme Ct. (38 pp.) Given the remedial aspect of the amendments to the civil commitment statute, the Appellate Division erred in ruling that D.C. s initial confinement and psychiatric examination was not authorized by statute or under the state s parens patriae powers, and that D.C. s subsequent confinements did not conform to the procedural requirements of the civil commitment statute. INSURANCE — POLLUTION EXCLUSIONS Now on Counsel Connect & 23-2-9785 J. Josephson, Inc. v. Crum & Forster Ins. Co., et al., App. Div. (62 pp.) The Law Division judge (1) correctly concluded that New Jersey substantive law applied even though waste was disposed of in Pennsylvania, (2) correctly construed the implications of the comprehensive general liability policy where hazardous waste is disposed through properly licensed and regulated haulers and disposal sites, (3) incorrectly granted summary judgment to the insured in the face of a claim that the insured intentionally polluted in violation of the Morton standard, where the record and discovery were too incomplete and (4) incorrectly ruled that pollution coverage was available under the personal injury endorsement feature of the insured s CGL policy. [Approved for publication Aug. 6, 1996.] LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT — PROMISSORY ESTOPPEL Now on Counsel Connect 25-2-9786 Linda Peck v. Imedia Inc., et al., App. Div. (21 pp.) Reliance on the at-will employment contract relationship gives rise to a cause of action for damages flowing from plaintiff s losses based upon her reasonable reliance on promised full-time employment with defendant and her losses based upon defendant s lack of good faith and fair dealing stemming from the delay in expressing the decision to terminate the relationship, thus, plaintiff is entitled to proceed on a theory of promissory estoppel by virtue of her detrimental reliance on the promise of employment. [Approved for publication Aug. 6, 1996.] NEGLIGENCE — TORT CLAIMS ACT 31-2-9787 Bertha Brooks v. Willie Mae Odom, et al., App. Div. (9 pp.) The trial judge erred in granting summary judgment to the defendants, finding that plaintiff had failed to produce evidence of permanent injury to overcome the tort claim threshold, since plaintiff s medical reports indicate continuing spasm, loss in spinal curvature, lumbar spurs and disc space narrowing, all objective signs of injury sufficient to withstand a summary judgment motion. PRODUCT LIABILITY Now on Counsel Connect 32-2-9788 Dennis McGarvey v. G.I. Joe Septic Serv. Inc., et al. v. Ford Motor Co., et al., App. Div. (24 pp.) (1) The trial judge correctly held that federal motor vehicle safety standards dealing with lighting and reflective requirements on vehicles were not applicable to the chassis in question, since it was an incomplete vehicle, however, (2) the judge s instructions taken as a whole and in the context of the trial testimony were capable of misleading the jury that it could consider driver s conduct in determining manufacturer s or dealer s strict liability under risk/utility factors, and constitute reversible error. (3) The court reverses the verdict in favor of the manufacturer since there is a jury question whether the manufacturer sent a defective product into the stream of commerce, and (4) reverses the verdict is favor of the dealer, since the chassis- cab delivered by dealer at night without lights was defective as a matter of law. [Approved for publication Aug. 6, 1996.] FEDERAL COURT CASES CONSUMER PROTECTION — NEGLIGENT INVESTMENT ADVICE 09-7-9789 Zandra Gelburd v. Oak Tree Numismatics Inc., et al., U.S. Dist. Ct. (14 pp.) In a case where plaintiff alleges she suffered investment losses when defendants induced her to purchase certain coins, summary judgment is granted to individual defendant — president of defendant company — since this defendant owed plaintiff no fiduciary duty, and there is no evidence that the individual defendant committed any of the acts alleged or that he participated in, directed or condoned such acts, such that the corporate veil should be pierced. [Filed Jul. 25, 1996.] CONTRACTS — ENTIRE CONTROVERSY — R.I.C.O. 11-7-9790 Shing Lin Corp. v. Chin Fa Hsu, U.S. Dist. Ct. (22 pp.) (1) The entire controversy doctrine bars plaintiff s fraud and breach-of-contract claims against defendant, since such claims should have been raised in a related state court action, and whether the parties executed two different contracts/leases is irrelevant because the facts constituting the transactions were still related in time, space and origin and would form a convenient trial unit. (2) Although plaintiff s RICO claim is devoid of factual content, the court will not grant defendant s motion to dismiss this claim, since plaintiff has moved to amend, but the motion to amend is denied without prejudice because plaintiff neglected to attach a copy of the proposed amendment, which the court must view to determine whether the amendment would be futile. [Filed July 24, 1996.] CORRECTIONS — CIVIL RIGHTS 13-7-9791 Terrence Singleton v. James L. Roberson, et al., U.S. Dist. Ct. (20 pp.) (1) The court affirms magistrate judge’s decision denying inmate appointment of counsel since the magistrate’s findings that the inmate s claims lacked the required arguable merit and that the inmate possessed the ability to adequately proceed on his own behalf are not clearly erroneous. (2) Defendants summary judgment motion is granted (a) since the incident that he claims was an assault was a de minimus use of physical force and is not substantial enough to amount to a constitutional violation, (b) there is no protected procedural due process liberty interest in remaining free from close- custody units or free from prison transfers, and (c) inmate received due process with respect to his loss of commutation time. [Filed July 24, 1996.] EDUCATION — CIVIL RIGHTS — ISSUE PRECLUSION 16-7-9792 Rasheedah Hassan v. Edison Bd. of Educ., et al., U.S. Dist. Ct. (7 pp.) In a case dealing with plaintiff s suspension from school for assaulting a teacher, where plaintiff alleges due process violations and that racial discrimination, the court grants the defendants summary judgment motion since plaintiff raised the issues of racial discrimination and lack of due process in previous administrative hearings in this matter, and the claims are therefore barred by the doctrine of issue preclusion. [Filed July 24, 1996.] INSURANCE 23-7-9793 Chubb & Son Inc., et al. v. Carl Cerbone, et al., U.S. Dist. Ct. (9 pp.) In a case brought by an insurance carrier alleging a series of fraudulent insurance claims, the magistrate judge did not err in denying non-parties motion for an order quashing or substantially limiting the scope of plaintiff s subpoena on non-party bank, since the motion was untimely, and since, on the merits, the subpoena’s scope was permissible and could produce relevant information to substantiate insurer s claim that broker assisted insured in procuring payments for fraudulent claims by bribing employees and sharing bribe money with others involved in the claims. [Filed July 25, 1996.] A Daily Reporter of New Jersey Court Decisions THIS WEEK IN THE … The state Supreme Court has completed another of its biennial revisions of New Jersey court rules. As in the past, the changes, which take effect Sept. 1, are either minor or momentous, depending on one’s areas of practice. See page 1 of the Aug. 5 Law Journal.

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