A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of Aug. 16-22.


 Court Decision Further Narrows Applicability of Liability Waivers

A recent ruling by a New Jersey appellate court will allow a slip and fall case to move forward despite the fact that the plaintiff had signed a waiver disclaiming his right to sue. This decision could have far-reaching consequences for businesses in New Jersey that utilize waiver agreements.


Court Says Waivers Don’t Negate Common Law Duty of Care

Mary Pat Gallagher | New Jersey Law Journal

A man who claims he slipped on the stairs while headed from the pool can sue the YMCA for his injuries, despite the broad waiver he signed when he joined the health club, a state appeals court held on Aug. 18.

Full story.

NJ YMCA’s Hold Harmless Clause ‘Eviscerates’ Duty Of Care

Joshua Alston | Law360

A New Jersey appellate panel revived a former health club member’s personal injury suit against the facility, ruling Monday that its “hold harmless” clause doesn’t eliminate its common-law duty of care, but upbraiding the plaintiff’s counsel for failing to properly prepare the appellate brief.

Full story.

A Warning to Appellate Lawyers From Judge Fuentes 

Bruce D. Greenberg | New Jersey Appellate Law Blog

This decision by Judge Fuentes, issued today, reverses a grant of summary judgment in favor of the YMCA in what Judge Fuentes called a “garden variety slip and fall case.”

Full story.


The court’s belief that exculpatory agreements encourage a lack of care is outmoded, and does not recognize business realities. Businesses utilize exculpatory agreements to limit risk so that they are able to keep the prices charged to consumers lower, not because they want to shirk responsibilities.


NJCJI has put the case on our watch list. We will strongly consider filing an amicus brief if this case is appealed to the New Jersey supreme court.



Judge Consolidates Two Bridgegate Class Actions

Charles Toutant | New Jersey Law Journal

A Newark federal judge has consolidated two class actions against the state by individuals and businesses seeking compensation for traffic delays related to the Bridgegate scandal.

Full story.


Christie’s Lawyers Bill N.J. Taxpayers $6.52 Million for Bridgegate So Far

Salvador Rizzo | The Star-Ledger

New Jersey taxpayers have been billed $6.52 million so far this year by Gov. Chris Christie’s private attorneys dealing with the aftermath of the George Washington Bridge scandal, according to invoices released today by acting state Attorney General John Hoffman.

Full story.


Senate Brings Years-Long Battle to a Close with Passage of Essex County Judicial Nominations

Chase Brush | PolitickerNJ

After a four year battle between senate Democrats and the governor’s office over a package of Essex County judicial nominations, the state senate approved the names of eight judges today to serve full terms in the state Superior Court.

Full story.


Supreme Court Ace Challenges America’s Highest Minimum Wage

Claire Zillman | Fortune

When Seattle’s $15 per hour minimum wage became law in early June, Mayor Ed Murray received praise for brokering discussions between labor and business that gave the city the nation’s highest pay without an all-out fight. But implementing the law as it currently stands won’t be easy, especially considering the attorney who’s now challenging it.

Full story. 


Class Cert. Denied In NJ Train Derailment Case

Martin Bricketto | Law360

A New Jersey federal judge on Wednesday denied class certification to residents and businesses suing Consolidated Rail Corp. for lost income over the fallout of a 2012 derailment and chemical spill in New Jersey, finding insufficient evidence that the proposed class members would be numerous enough.

Full story.


Ford, Honeywell Say Sealed Garlock Docs Allege Atty Fraud

David Siegel | Law360

Ford Motor Co., Honeywell International Inc. and numerous other companies asked a North Carolina federal judge Monday to let them inspect sealed court records in Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC’s asbestos-related bankruptcy case, which they say involve claims against lawyers who allegedly engaged in fraud in settling mesothelioma claims.

Full story.


Pfizer is Liable for Harm Caused by a Generic Version of its Drug: Court

Ed Silverman | Wall Street Journal

Should brand-name drug makers be held liable if consumers are harmed by a medicine made by a generic rival?

Full story.