Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday nominated three Superior Court judges sitting in Bergen County for tenure: Keith Bachmann, Terry Bottinelli and Christine Farrington.
Bachmann and Farrington currently are assigned to the Civil Part, while Bottinelli sits in the Family Part.
In the Law Journal’s most recent Superior Court Judicial Survey, from 2015, Bachmann ranked 13th out of the 24 judges in the vicinage, with an overall rating of 8.34 out of a possible 10. His best score, 9.47, was for being unbiased toward race, gender or party identity. His lowest score, 7.42, was for his ability to handle complex cases.
Before his 2011 confirmation, Bachmann had been with Hetchka, Bachmann & Figundio in Clifton since 1983 and had been the municipal judge and attorney for New Milford, the attorney for the Palisades Park Rent Adjustment Board and Recreation Committee, and Palisades Park’s public defender. He is a graduate of New York Law School and Kean College.
In one case of note in 2016, Bachmann ruled that a woman from Saudi Arabia couldn’t sue her half-sister from New Jersey for defaming her on an Instagram account because it would have required him to interpret Islamic law.
Bottinelli ranked 14th in the survey from the Bergen vicinage, with an overall score of 8.31. Bottinelli’s best score, 8.95, was for being courteous and respectful to litigants and lawyers. His lowest score, 7.97, was for ability to handle to complex cases.
Bottinelli was with Herten Burstein Sheridan Cevasco Bottinelli Litt & Harz in Hackensack from 1990 to his 2011 confirmation. Before that, from 1981 to 1990, he was with Hackensack’s Breslin & Breslin. He had been the judge for Closter; the attorney for Mahwah; the prosecutor for North Arlington, Bergenfield and Fairview; the public defender for Cresskill; and the planning and zoning board attorney for Bogota, Closter and Dumont. He is a graduate of the New England School of Law and Fairfield University.
Bottinelli made news in 2016 for his ruling turning back a constitutional challenge to New Jersey’s so-called palimony law.
Farrington, at the time of the 2015 survey, was assigned to the Civil Part in Essex County. She ranked 29th out of the 38 judges from that vicinage, with an overall score of 7.60. Her best score, 8.45, was for being unbiased toward race, gender or party identity, while her lowest score, 7.06, was for being able to handle complex cases.
Before joining the bench, Farrington had been deputy general counsel for the Port Authority of New York-New Jersey since 2002. She was a Hackensack solo from 1997 until 2002; with Biagiotti, Marino, Montecallo & Farrington in Hackensack from 1992 to 1996; and with Breslin & Breslin in Hackensack from 1984 to 1990.
She was an assistant Bergen County prosecutor from 1979 to 1984. She was prosecutor, planning board attorney and public defender for South Hackensack; planning board attorney for Alpine and Saddle Brook; public defender for Rochelle Park; and board of adjustment attorney for Wyckoff. Farrington is a graduate of Rutgers Law School-Newark and Seton Hall University.
Farrington made news for sanctioning Panasonic $94,000 for its handling of privileged materials in a discrimination suit by former company employees, leading to Panasonic’s ultimately unsuccessful bid to disqualify her from the case.
The tenure nominations must be approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate.