A retiring Bergen County, N.J., judge turned heads this month by issuing a ruling in a case in which the plaintiffs counsel is the firm he planned to join.

Neither Gerald Escala nor his new employer, Herten, Burstein, Sheridan, Cevasco, Bottinelli, Litt & Harz, will say when the job offer was made. But Escala announced on Feb. 3 that he would join the Hackensack, N.J., firm — just two days after signing a judgment in a case in which partner Thomas Herten was the plaintiffs lawyer.

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