A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of February 18-24.


Lawsuits That Cost N.J. Taxpayers The Most In 2016

S.P. Sullivan | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

In 2016, New Jersey taxpayers were on the hook for $87.7 million in lawsuits paid out by the state Attorney General’s Office, according to data obtained by NJ Advance Media through a public records request.

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Read The One-Of-A-Kind Resignation Letter Kim Guadagno Got From Her Own Husband

Matt Arco | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

It’s common for Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno to receive letters of resignation from judges as part of her job as New Jersey’s secretary of state. But only one was ever signed: “Your loving husband.”

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NJ Supreme Court Takes Us Back in Time on Tort Statute of Limitations

Michelle M. Bufano & Rachel B. Sherman of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler | New Jersey Law Journal

The New Jersey Supreme Court has changed the rules of the game with respect to statute of limitations and choice of law for tort actions. Again.

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Something To Chew On: The FDA, Food, And A Healthy Dose Of Definitions

Tommy Tobin | Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology

Is food medicine? The answer to this simple question is surprisingly complicated. The name of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seems to distinguish between foods and drugs. So too does the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act, which helpfully defines “food” as “(1) articles used for food or drink for man or other animals, (2) chewing gum, and (3) articles used for components of any such article.”

While it is not difficult to swallow the concept of chewing gum being food, the broad legal definition of “food” is somewhat circular and does not provide much guidance by itself.  Indeed, the definition of “drug” under the same law notes that drugs are, in relevant part, “articles (other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals.”

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The Morning Risk Report: Life Sciences Firms Remain Targets for Securities Fraud Litigation

Ben DiPietro | Wall Street Journal

The number of class-action securities fraud lawsuits filed against life sciences companies in 2016 was 70% higher than the number brought in 2014, and there are no reasons to expect a slowdown in litigation in 2017, according to a report. “Although the majority of cases decided this last year were decided in the defendant company’s favor, life sciences companies remain attractive targets for class-action securities fraud claims,” the report from law firm Dechert LLP stated.

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New Jersey Supreme Court Puts Out a Welcome Mat for Out-Of-State Plaintiffs with Time Barred Claims

Beth S. Rose & Charles J. Falletta of Sills Cummis & Gross | The National Law Review

On January 24, 2017, the New Jersey Supreme Court reinstated a $25 million verdict in favor of an Alabama plaintiff in the Accutane litigation, a Multi-County Litigation, that has been pending in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Atlantic County, since 2005. See McCarrell v. Hoffman-La Roche, Inc., 2017 N.J. LEXIS 19 (N.J. Jan. 24, 2017). In a unanimous ruling, the Court reversed the Appellate Division’s application of long standing New Jersey precedent and determined that Plaintiff’s lawsuit, time barred under Alabama law, was not time barred under New Jersey’s statute of limitations. The issue before the Court was which state’s statute of limitations applied under New Jersey’s choice-of-law jurisprudence. In reaching a decision that reinstated the verdict and applied New Jersey’s discovery rule, the Court adopted a new test under Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws (“Restatement”), § 142, and determined that when New Jersey has a substantial interest in litigation brought in its courts, New Jersey’s statute of limitations should ordinarily apply absent exceptional circumstances.

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