15-1-3907 GMAC Mortgage, LLC v. Tamilynn Willoughby. N.J. Sup. Ct. (Albin, J.) (23 pp.) Willoughby satisfied all contingent terms of the May 2010 Agreement, rendering the Agreement permanent and binding. Despite being compelled to engage in subsequent mediations and negotiations in an effort to save her home, Willoughby did not voluntarily abandon the May 2010 Agreement. The chancery court should have granted her pro se motion to enforce the Agreement as a permanent loan modification.

25-1-3934 In the Matter of County of Atlantic; In the Matter of Township of Bridgewater. N.J. Sup. Ct (Solomon, J.) (27 pp.) In these cases, the governing contract language of the respective agreements required that the salary step increases remain in place after expiration and until the parties reach agreement on a new CNA. Atlantic County and Bridgewater Township committed an unfair labor practice when they altered those terms.

32-2-3899 In re Accutane Litigation, N.J. Super. App. Div. (Reisner, P.J.A.D.) (84 pp.) In these multicounty litigation (MCL) products liability cases, the Appellate Division holds that the trial court erred in barring plaintiffs’ experts from testifying as to certain epidemiological issues, and that Accutane can cause Crohn’s disease. Accordingly, the orders dismissing the lawsuits are reversed and the cases are remanded to the trial court for further proceedings. The opinion reviews the legal principles applicable in a Kemp hearing, and provides some guidance for handling MCL cases in which the scientific evidence concerning the product develops over the protracted course of the litigation. (Approved for Publication)

40-1-3883 Twanda Jones v. Morey’s Pier, Inc., N.J. Sup. Ct. (Patterson, J.) (37 pp.) When a defendant does not serve a timely notice of claim on a public entity, and is not granted leave to file a late notice of claim, the statute bars that defendant’s cross-claim or third-party claim for contribution and common-law indemnification against the public entity. Accordingly, the Morey defendants’ third-party contribution and common-law indemnification claims against the Association are barred. On remand, the trial court should afford the Morey defendants an opportunity to present evidence that the Association was negligent and that its negligence was a proximate cause of Abiah Jones’s death. If the Morey defendants present prima facie evidence, the trial court should instruct the jury to determine whether any fault should be allocated to the Association. If the jury finds that the Association was negligent and that its negligence was a proximate cause of her death, the trial court should mold any judgment entered in plaintiffs’ favor to reduce the damages awarded to plaintiffs by the percentage of fault that the jury allocates to the Association.

14-1-3923 State v. Amed Ingram, N.J. Sup. Ct. (Rabner, C.J.) (32 pp.) Neither the statute’s plain language nor principles of due process require the State to present testimony from a live witness at every detention hearing. Instead, the State may proceed by proffer to try to satisfy its burden of proof and show that detention is warranted. Trial judges, however, retain discretion to require direct testimony when they are dissatisfied with the State’s proffer.

14-2-3924 In the Matter of the Expungement of the Arrest/Charge Records of T.B./J.N.-T./ R.C., N.J. Super. App. Div. (Ostrer, J.A.D.) (23 pp.) The court considers whether Drug Court graduates seeking to expunge their criminal records pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-14(m)—the “Drug Court expungement statute,” L. 2015, c. 261, §1—must make a “public interest” showing as N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(c) (3) requires for the expungement of certain third- and fourth-degree drug offenses. Based on the statute’s plain language and legislative history, the court concludes that N.J.S.A. 2C:35- 14(m) (2) imports the public interest requirement under N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(c) (3). The court therefore vacates orders expunging the three applicants’ criminal records and remands for application of the public interest test in light of In re Kollman, 210 N.J. 557 (2012), which applied the test to an expungement petition under Chapter 52. (Approved for Publication)

14-8-3903 U.S. v. Azcona-Polanco, 3rd Circuit (Restrepo, J.) (13 pp.) Defendant appealed from his sentence of imprisonment and supervised release. Defendant was admitted to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident in 1972, but was ordered removed in 1994 for a heroin distribution conviction. Defendant did not leave the country, and was convicted again in 1997 for conspiracy to violate narcotics laws and sentenced to incarceration. Following his release, defendant was deported, but re-entered the U.S. illegally and assumed an alias with a forged U.S. birth certificate. Defendant was arrested and pleaded guilty to illegal re-entry, which carried an advisory sentencing range of 41 to 51 months’ incarceration and one to three years’ supervised release; however, as a deportable immigrant defendant was presumptively exempt from supervised release. The district court sentenced defendant to 41 months’ incarceration and three years’ supervised release, stating that he would only have to report to probation if he illegally re-entered the U.S. following his deportation. On appeal, defendant argued that the district court committed a procedural sentencing error by sentencing him to supervised release without an adequate explanation. Defendant further challenged his incarceration sentence as substantively unreasonable. The court first affirmed the imposition of a sentence of supervised release, ruling that the presumption against supervised released for deportable immigrants could be overcome if a term of supervised release could provide an added measure of deterrence against the immigrant illegally returning to the U.S. The court held that an adequate explanation for imposing supervised release despite the presumption required a direct discussion of the presumption against supervised release and the reasons for imposing it upon a particular deportable immigrant. However, the court held that any deficiency in the district court’s explanation did not constitute plain error because it did not affect defendant’s substantive rights. Finally, the court affirmed defendant’s incarceration, noting that it was at the bottom of the guideline range. (Precedential) [Filed July 27, 2017]