A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of January 30-February 5.
Charles Toutant, New Jersey Law Journal
An employee who brought a federal discrimination-by-association suit over alleged workplace harassment about her husband’s flatulence is disputing her ex-employer’s assertion that the claim is unsupported by law.
Eric Strauss | NJBIZ
New Jersey’s longtime acting attorney general, John J. Hoffman, is headed to the world of academia. Hoffman, who has served as acting attorney general since June 2013, has been named Rutgers University’s senior vice president and general counsel, effective March 14, the college announced in a news release Thursday.
Jacob Gershman | Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog
Magisterial District Judge Craig Long of Columbia County, Pa., isn’t so strict. A sign he posted outside his courtroom asks visitors who appear before him to follow a simple dress code: No pajamas.
Steve McConnell | Drug & Device Law Blog
Today’s case is about a second chance. We are talking about the dismal topic of document confidentiality. Many — definitely too many — documents are produced in mass tort litigations. Almost all those documents are produced by the corporate defendants. Most end up having nothing to do with the case. If two million documents are produced in an MDL, fewer than 200 are likely ever to be marked as exhibits at trial. But producing all those documents is wickedly expensive for the company, a lot say things that no company would want to become public, so what the hey, why shouldn’t the plaintiff lawyers have a little fun? A lot of those documents involve proprietary information about marketing, pricing, new avenues of scientific research, etc. – all things that a competitor would enjoy reading. (We remember a professor in law school suggesting that companies wishing to engage in joint-pricing arrangements would be smart to file bogus law suits against each other occasionally and then use document discovery as a way of learning, and then coordinating, pricing strategies. Yes, our law school had as many cynics as scholars.)
Marcus Rayner & David Kott | New Jersey Law Journal (Op-Ed)
Few would dispute the important role that judges play in our state, and the necessary service they provide to our society. Judges preside over the most significant matters—criminal trials and sentencing, parental terminations, complex business lawsuits and significant civil actions with catastrophic injuries and large payouts. In recent years, the complexity of cases in New Jersey state courts has increased. However, the salaries of judges have not only not risen, but have been reduced when measured against the cost of living, and the actual take-home income of judges has been reduced by virtue of pension and health insurance contributions made by judges. New Jersey has the third highest cost of living of all states in the nation, a cost of living which continues to increase. Yet, state court judges in New Jersey have not received a raise since January 2008.
David Segal | New York Times
In this episode, we learn a new definition of the word “gift” and plumb the meaning of the word “coupon.” No, you don’t need a dictionary. But a sense of humor might help.