This Thursday, the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute will be testifying in opposition to two important bills coming up for hearings in their respective committees – A4041, which allows for the retroactive application of New Jersey’s False Claims Act in some circumstances, and A4097, which places additional restrictions on contract into the state’s Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (TCCWNA). Both bills would incentivize litigation and worsen New Jersey’s business climate.
Sponsors: Conaway (D-7) and Singleton (D-7)
Summary: This bill would allow certain litigants to file claims under the New Jersey False Claims Act for actions that occurred before the state’s False Claims Act was adopted in 2008. It is probably unconstitutional, but if it is Constitutional, it puts companies that do business with the State of New Jersey in serious danger of unfair and unjust litigation abuse. NJCJI opposed the enactment of New Jersey’s False Claims Act itself in 2008 because of the litigation that it creates.
Status: The Assembly Health and Senior Services Committeeis holding a hearing on this bill on Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 10 AM in Committee Room 11.
Sponsors: Moriarty (D-4), Diegnan (D-18) & Mainor (D-31)
Summary: This bill essentially outlaws form contracts. It would prohibit businesses from entering into consumer contracts that waive or limit:
- any rights under the provisions of the consumer fraud act, the new car lemon law, the used car lemon law, or any other federal or State consumer protection law;
- the right to contact a law enforcement agency, State or local government entity, or any other entity for the purpose of reporting a consumer complaint;
- the right to bring a complaint or civil action within the six year statute of limitations, afforded under current law;
- the right to have this State serve as the forum, jurisdiction, or venue for the resolution of any dispute;
- the right to bring a class action or serve as a class representative in any dispute;
- the right to discovery as provided by the Rules of Court;
- the right to bring a claim for injury to person or property; or
- the right to a jury trial, except that a consumer may waive this right upon the advice of counsel, as evidenced by counsel’s signature on the contract.
If a business violates one of these provisions, they can be sued under the state’s Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (TCCWNA), which is already being abused by members of the trial bar looking to earn a quick buck under the guise of protecting consumers.
Status: The Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee is holding a hearing on this bill on Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 10 AM in Committee Room 13.
Please contact a member of the NJCJI team if you have questions or comments about either of these pieces of legislation.