A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of February 15-21, 2014.


Woman Scalded by Hot Apple Cider Sues Dunkin’ Donuts in N.J. Court

New Jersey Law Journal

In a case reminiscent of the 1994 McDonald’s hot coffee case that became a flashpoint for tort reform, a New Jersey woman is suing Dunkin’ Donuts over severe burns she claims to have suffered when the lid on her hot apple cider dislodged and the excessively hot contents spilled on her.

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Federal Court Musters To Deal With Flood of Sandy Recovery Suits

Charles Toutant | New Jersey Law Journal

More than 600 lawsuits against flood insurance carriers over Superstorm Sandy claims have been filed in the federal court for the District of New Jersey, and court officials are scrambling for ways to cope with the deluge.

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NJ State Bar Association Endorses Renomination of Stuart Rabner, Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court

Michael Phillis | Associated Press

The New Jersey State Bar Association endorsed State Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner’s renomination, the group announced Thursday.


Rabner, a Democrat, will see his seven-year term end in June. Reappointment of Supreme Court justices had been near-automatic, but Governor Christie ended that practice with two earlier justices and that has stroked speculation that the governor might seek to replace Rabner.

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NJ Supreme Court Disciplines Judge for Aiding Girlfriend

Salvador Rizzo | The Star-Ledger

The New Jersey Supreme Court has disciplined a state judge for asking the Nutley school board to help pay for summer camp for his girlfriend’s son.


The high court on Tuesday admonished Superior Court Judge Joseph Isabella, who sits in Hudson County, for making the request for $4,000 “by using Judiciary letterhead and by communicating with others in authority to advance the private interests” of his then-girlfriend. They married in 2011.

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TV Drug Ads May Trim Lengthy Recitation of Side Effects

Anna Edney | Bloomberg

Lengthy lists of drug side effects recited in TV ads are so baffling they may cause consumers to overlook the worst harms of the medicine, U.S. regulators said.


The Food and Drug Administration is studying whether disclosure limited only to serious side effects would improve consumer understanding, according to an agency document posted online today. To cover lesser side effects, the FDA proposed simply adding a line about “potential additional risks.”

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White Castle VP: Patent Trolls Have ‘Made Us Really Gun-Shy’

Jessica M. Karmasek | Legal Newsline

Jamie Richardson, the vice president of corporate relations at White Castle System Inc. — the fast food hamburger chain known for its “sliders” — never thought his company would be the target of so-called “patent trolls.”


Patent trolls — the derogatory term given to some patent assertion entities — are companies that purchase groups of patents without an intent to market or develop a product. The companies then target other businesses with lawsuits alleging infringement of the patents they bought.

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Law School Enrollment Plummets, but Not at Harvard

Paul M. Barrett | Bloomberg Businessweek

Let’s be blunt about the bursting of the legal education bubble: The crisis in the law school economy, long predicted, is devastating third-tier and some second-tier institutions, not the super-elite.

At schools like Vermont, Hamline, Seton Hall, and Dayton, on the other hand, enrollment is down precipitously. At Hamline, for example, enrollment is down 55% since 2010, according to the Journal. At Seton Hall, it dropped 43% from 2010 to 2012. Schools have responded by cutting class sizes and faculty jobs too.

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