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Vol. 4, No. 230 — December 4, 1996 STATE COURT CASES FAMILY LAW 20-2-0693 Walles v. Walles, App. Div. (26 pp.) (1) The judge erred in refusing to modify his decision retroactively reducing child support in violation of the statutory mandate of N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.23(a), however the retroactive reduction of alimony is not prohibited by any analogous statutory provision and is affirmed as it was not an abuse of discretion. (2) Under the circumstances of this case, where the court has reduced a prior alimony award, the court erred in denying plaintiff’s request for an order which would create a discovery mechanism to compel defendant to disclose his income periodically to the defendant, so that she could monitor whether or not his fortunes had changed. [Approved for publication Dec. 4, 1996.] 20-2-0694 Scheyer v. Scheyer, App. Div. (3 pp.) (1) The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it entered an ex parte order dismissing plaintiff’s pleadings for failure to comply with discovery orders. (2) The judge did not err when — after he had determined that the parties’ summer residence was subject to equitable distribution — he did not order a specific method of final distribution of the residence, since the joint ownership of the property was converted to a tenancy in common by virtue of the divorce judgment, and the judge intended the parties to be left with whatever rights �inhered’ in that form of ownership, including the right of partition. NEGLIGENCE — PARKING LOTS — LIGHTING 31-2-0695 Ditmire v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., etc., et al., App. Div. (14 pp.) In a case where plaintiff fell and was injured in an unlit parking lot, (1) the trial judge correctly charged the jury on the landlord/mall-owner and tenant/store’s duty to plaintiff, who faced a dangerous situation getting to and from the prescribed parking area when the lights went out, and therefore the judgment in favor of plaintiff against both landlord and tenant is affirmed. (2) Because the landlord’s indemnification rights against tenant arise under comparative negligence principles, and not under contractual indemnification provisions of lease, the judge erred in concluding that the landlord had no right to indemnification from the tenant because the unexplained lighting failure constituted a breach of the lease , barring the landlord’s contractual indemnification claims. CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE — JUDICIAL DISQUALIFICATION 14-2-0696 State v. Chavies, App. Div. (2 pp.) Judge should have disqualified herself from probation violation hearing because prior to her appointment as a judge, she had served as an assistant prosecutor and had signed the original indictment against the defendant, and to inspire public confidence in the integrity of the judicial process, the interests of justice require that defendant’s guilty plea and sentence be vacated, notwithstanding that the defendant was aware of conflict when she pled guilty to violating probation. FEDERAL COURT CASES FAIR HOUSING — IMMUNITIES 41-7-0697 Franklin Bldg. Corp., et al. v. City of Ocean City, et al., U.S. Dist. Ct. (36 pp.) In a case addressing the proper scope of a municipality’s duties under the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 when presented with an application for a “resolution of need” pursuant to N.J.S.A. 55:14K-6_ for housing for the elderly, (1) the court denies partial summary judgment since the record is inadequate to resolve the issue of whether the municipal council’s conduct violated the FHAA; (2) although the applicability of the doctrine of legislative immunity to the facts of the case presents a close question, which the court has resolved in the plaintiff’s favor, defendant’s cross-motion to dismiss all claims against the council members in their individual capacities is granted on the basis of qualified immunity, and all claims against the mayor are dismissed because the allegations are insufficient as a matter of law; and (3) because the plaintiff does not allege that it either intends to continue to seek approval for the housing project in question, or that it will seek approval for a different project from the defendant, the court finds that the plaintiff lacks standing to sue for injunctive relief in this case. [Filed Nov. 18, 1996.][For publication.] JURISDICTION 24-7-0698 Emerson Radio Corp. v. Orion Sales, Inc., et al., U.S. Dist. Ct. (11 pp.) In an unfair competition case, (1) the court cannot assert general jurisdiction over the individual defendant since he has not lived or worked in N.J. for more than four years, and the negotiating by phone of consulting agreement with plaintiff in N.J. is too remote to establish contact with the N.J. forum to warrant the exercise of general jurisdiction, however, (2) the court will assert specific jurisdiction over the defendant on the same facts, and denies defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. [Filed Nov. 15, 1996.] CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE — CIVIL RIGHTS 14-7-0699 Romero v. Mack, et al., U.S. Dist. Ct. (5 pp.) The court, sua sponte, dismisses as frivolous plaintiff inmate’s section 1983 claims attacking his state criminal conviction, since the claims bring into question the validity of his conviction and sentence, which have not been reversed or otherwise called into question, and any such attack must be brought as a habeas corpus claim. Claims against the judge and prosecutor are barred by the doctrines of absolute immunity. [Filed Nov. 15, 1996.] A Daily Reporter of New Jersey Court Decisions THIS WEEK IN THE … An attorney in the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office has sued three superiors, key aides to Acting Prosecutor Lee Solomon, saying that they sexually harassed her, tried to force her to leave the office or failed to take steps to eliminate what she terms a hostile work environment. See page 4 of the Dec. 2 Law Journal.

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