09-1-4394 Debra Dugan v. TGI Friday’s, Inc., Ernest Bozzi v. OSI Restaurant Partners, LLC N.J. Sup. Ct (Patterson, J.) (91 pp.) Because CFA class action jurisprudence rejects “price-inflation” theories, such as the theory presented by the Dugan plaintiffs, as incompatible with the CFA’s terms, the Dugan plaintiffs have not established predominance with respect to their CFA claims. Bozzi’s allegations focus primarily on a specific pricing practice. If the Bozzi class is redefined to include only customers who make that specific CFA claim, and the claim is limited accordingly, plaintiff Bozzi has met the requirements of Rule 4:32-1 and may attempt to prove that claim on behalf of the class. As to the TCCWNA claims in both appeals, plaintiffs have failed to satisfy the predominance requirement of Rule 4:32-1.
25-2-4362 Cynthia M. Blake v. Board of Review, Dept. of Labor, N.J. Super. App. Div. (Messano, P.J.A.D.) (13 pp.) Appellant resigned in anticipation of employment with a different employer. However, before she began work with the second employer, it withdrew the offer and appellant applied for unemployment benefits. The Appeal Tribunal disqualified appellant from receiving benefits because she left employment without good cause attributable to the work. N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a). Appellant argued she was eligible for benefits pursuant to a 2015 amendment, which provides the disqualification “shall not apply to an individual who voluntarily leaves work with one employer to accept from another employer employment which commences not more than seven days after the individual leaves employment with the first employer, if the employment with the second employer has weekly hours or pay not less than the hours or pay of the employment of the first employer, except that if the individual gives notice to the first employer that the individual will leave employment on a specified date and the first employer terminates the individual before that date, the seven-day period will commence from the specified date.” [L. 2015, c. 41] The Board of Review affirmed, concluding the exception only applied if the employee “commences” work with the second employer. The court affirmed, concluding the plain language of the statute and relevant legislative history demonstrated the exception applied only if the employee started employment with the second employer and was subsequently terminated. (Approved for Publication)
35-5-4399 Hanover Floral Co. v. East Hanover Township, Tax Ct. (Bianco, J.T.C.) (18 pp.) A taxpayer’s payment of taxes on a lot not under taxpayer’s ownership is a “mistake” within the meaning of N.J.S.A. 54:4-54, meriting a refund of the current year taxes as well as the three prior years. The Tax Court acknowledged that the relief awarded to taxpayer is limited by Cerame v. Township Committee of Middletown, 349 N.J. Super. 486 (App. Div. 2002); noting the court ‘s disagreement with that portion of the Cerame holding. (Approved for Publication)
35-4400 Rosanna Pruent-Stevens v. Township of Toms River, Tax Ct. (Brennan, J.T.C.) (28 pp.) The court determined that the terms “widow” and “widower” define a person and not a marital status. The surviving spouse of a 100 percent disabled veteran is eligible for the veteran’s exemption during widowhood or widowerhood, if he or she meets the requirements set forth in N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.31, which includes a certification that the surviving spouse “has not remarried.” The court concludes that there is sufficient ambiguity as to whether this term “has not remarried” indicates a present or past marital status. The court determined that the legislative intent was that it represented present marital status. As such, a surviving spouse’s exemption is available during periods when the surviving spouse is not married. The court also determined that fundamental fairness requires that consideration of a surviving spouse’s marital status should not commence until the VA has determined the veteran’s 100 percent disability. If at that time the surviving spouse is unmarried, the eligibility requirement has been met. (Approved for Publication)
14-2-4363 State of New Jersey v. Imani Williams, N.J. Super. App. Div. (Currier, J.A.D.) (10 pp.) In this appeal, the court addresses whether, in a pretrial detention hearing, defendant’s pregnancy should be given greater consideration than any other pretrial detention factor in a judge’s assessment under the Criminal Justice Reform Act (Act), N.J.S.A. 2A:162-15 to -26. At the detention hearing, the trial judge noted defendant’s extensive juvenile history, current serious second-degree charges and multiple failures to appear, and considered the Pretrial Services recommendation for no release. Although stating that all pertinent factors under N.J.S.A. 2A:162-20 weighed in favor of detention, the judge concluded that defendant’s eight-week pregnancy required her release with conditions. Because the trial judge abused his discretion in giving defendant’s pregnancy greater weight than all other pertinent factors in his determination to release her, we reverse. Pregnancy, like any other medical condition, is considered only for its impact on the risk of a defendant posing a danger to the community, obstructing justice or failing to appear in court. N.J.S.A. 2A:162-20. (Approved for Publication)
14-2-4403 State of New Jersey v. Eugene Richardson, N.J. Super. App. Div. (Ostrer, J.A.D.) (24 pp.) The court reverses defendant’s drug possession conviction and holds that when the state refuses a defense attorney’s diligent pre-indictment request to preserve and produce recordings, which the state or its law enforcement agencies created and are directly relevant to adjudicating an existing charge, the defendant is entitled to an adverse inference charge. In this drug case, despite the attorney’s timely preservation request, the state allowed the automatic erasure of a booking room video that likely recorded the search of defendant, which allegedly uncovered the drugs he was charged with possessing. The court also hold s the court erred by allowing the state to introduce evidence that defendant gave a false name during the earlier traffic stop. (Approved for Publication)