This is a status report provided by the New Jersey State Bar Association on recently passed and pending legislation, regulations, gubernatorial nominations and/or appointments of interest to lawyers, as well as the involvement of the NJSBA as amicus in appellate court matters. To obtain a complete copy of the Capitol Report and/or retrieve a former Capitol Report, please visit our website at www.njsba.com.
CHANGE TO ATTORNEY IDENTIFICATION NUMBER
Please note, there has been an update to the requirement of using attorney identification numbers. The new rule will become effective on Nov. 1, 2013.
Again, all attorneys will be required to use their attorney identification number on the first page of any paper filed with the court. This requirement is part of a series of court rule amendments adopted by the Supreme Court; specifically, Rule 1:41.
Attorney identification numbers can be found on the Court’s website,
  • Under the heading Legal, select Attorney Index
  • Type in your name and click Search
  • Your ID will be shown in blue on the left-hand side
2012–2013 AMICUS ACTIVITY
Below is a list of pending cases before the Court, where an issue was believed to have affected the legal profession or the system of justice, in which the New Jersey State Bar Association participated as amicus curiae.
Third Circuit Case No.: 12-2236
At issue in the case is whether an attorney can be sued for defamation and tortious interference for statements in pre-litigation letters sent to a contractor's attorneys and performance bond surety terminating the parties’ contractual relationship. On Aug. 1, 2013, the NJSBA filed a motion and proposed amicus curiae brief, drafted by Thomas H. Prol, arguing that such communication should be protected by the litigation privilege. Oral argument and a decision in the case are pending.
Appellate Division Docket No. A-1792-12
Appellate Division Docket No. A-1038-12
Appellate Division Docket No. A-1445-12
Appellate Division Docket No. A-1636-12
The issue in this consolidated case is whether the Department of Banking and Insurance exceeded its authority in adopting new regulations governing personal injury protection benefits provided in the aftermath of auto accidents. On April 25, 2013, the NJSBA filed a proposed amicus curiae brief drafted by Anthony Murgatroyd, disputing the validity of the regulations adopted by the Department of Banking and Insurance. The NJSBA focused on four specific areas, as follows: 1) deprivation of due process rights by requiring that all disputes under $1,000 must be decided by a personal injury protection dispute resolution specialist on the papers only; 2) assignment of benefits subjecting doctors not only to the rights of the insured under an insurance policy, but also the obligations, thus, potentially being subject to depositions and other discovery requirements of the insured to the insurer; 3) instituting evidence-based medicine standards, which have been peer-reviewed, instead of utilizing evidence standards based upon the New Jersey Rules of Evidence; and 4) usurping the power of the Supreme Court in its exclusive jurisdiction over the practice of law by establishing standards for counsel fees that conflict with the standards expressed in the Rules of Professional Conduct and by the courts. Oral argument and a decision in the case are pending.
Supreme Court Docket No.: 070999
At issue in this case is whether or not certain documents requested from the borough are protected from access under the Open Public Records Act by the attorney work-product privilege and common law interest doctrine. On March 15, 2013, the NJSBA filed a proposed amicus curiae brief drafted by Thomas H. Prol, supporting the Appellate Division’s decision reinforcing the broad protections and guidelines that allow attorneys to freely assist clients and those with concordant legal defenses to present the best arguments before the New Jersey courts. Oral argument and a decision in this case are pending.
Supreme Court Docket No.: 070438
The issue in this case is whether the defendant was “informed” of the consequences of refusing to submit to a breath test as required to sustain a conviction for refusal under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4a(a) and whether the officer read to the defendant an outdated version of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission standard statement that did not reflect the current increased penalties for refusal. On Dec. 21, 2012, the NJSBA filed an amicus curiae brief drafted by Jeffrey Evan Gold and Kimberly Yonta Aronow, affirming the lower court decision arguing that the proper form was not read and correct penalties were not conveyed. Oral argument and a decision in this case are pending.
To obtain a complete copy of the briefs listed above, please visit the NJSBA website at:
NJSBA RECENT ACTION IN TRENTON
Consumer Protection Law
S-2551 (Van Drew) SUPPORT Permits real estate licensees to prepare broker price opinions and comparative market analyses. On Aug. 19, 2013, the governor’s veto was received in the Senate.
The New Jersey State Bar Association Board of Trustees, Legislative Committee and Consumer Protection Law Committee voted to support this legislation to restore the prior practice of permitting real estate brokers and salespersons to provide valuation services for purposes other than marketing of real estate, believing that in New Jersey homeowners have properly relied upon such persons in the past. These professionals have offered competent services at reduced costs, relative to those of an appraiser, for such purposes as tax appeals, family law disputes and bankruptcy valuations for many years, and the practice has not raised significant consumer protection concerns. The state bar believes this bill will reduce the cost of litigation for consumers and other affected parties.
Criminal Law
A-732 (Eustace) SUPPORT WITH AMENDMENTS Makes it a crime of the third degree to practice or represent oneself to others concerning certain licensed or certified healthcare-related professions. On Aug. 19, 2013, the bill passed (36-0) in the Senate and was sent to the governor.
The New Jersey State Bar Association Board of Trustees, Legislative Committee, Family Law Section, Health Law Section and Women in the Profession Section voted to support this legislation as amended, believing the bill would protect vulnerable patients seeking treatment for personal and emotional problems from unlicensed professionals who have the potential to inflict significant harm on such patients. The NJSBA supported amendments to the bill that deleted penalties for practicing “marriage and family therapy” that may have unintentionally applied to attorneys and others.