Supreme Court of New Jersey Decisions 2015

In re Petition for Referendum to Repeal Ordinance 2354-12 of the Twp. of W. Orange  
Date: December 21, 2015
Docket Number: a-54-13

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue this case presented for the Supreme Court's review concerned a challenge to the validity of a municipal ordinance authorizing the issuance of $6,300,000 in bonds to finance a redevelopment project in the…

New Jersey v. Pierre  
Date: December 17, 2015
Docket Number: a-86-13

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1996, defendant Duquene Pierre was convicted of first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, and several other offenses, arising from a fatal shooting in Elizabeth. Defendant was one of several suspects arrested…

In the Matter of William J. Torre, an Attorney at Law
Date: December 16, 2015
Docket Number: d-77-14
New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency v. K.N.  
Date: December 15, 2015
Docket Number: a-10-14

Justia Opinion Summary: In May 2013, the Division of Child Protection and Permanency filed an Order to Show Cause for Care and Supervision of T.E. (Tommy), the six-year-old son of K.N.(mother) and K.E.(father). The Family Part investigated…

New Jersey v. R.P.  
Date: December 14, 2015
Docket Number: a-108-13

Justia Opinion Summary: In June 2005, O.M. disclosed that her stepfather, defendant R.P., sexually abused her beginning when she was twelve years old. The abuse resulted in two pregnancies, one of which was terminated and one of which resulted…

New Jersey v. Watts  
Date: December 2, 2015
Docket Number: a-21-14

Justia Opinion Summary: A warrant secured by the police authorized a no-knock entry and search of defendant Antoine Watts' apartment and a search of defendant for controlled dangerous substances. Before executing the search warrant, police…

DeMarco v. Stoddard  
Date: December 1, 2015
Docket Number: a-104-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant Sean Stoddard, D.P.M. practiced podiatry at a clinic with offices in Toms River and Lakewood. In 2007, he applied to the Rhode Island Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association (RIJUA) for medical…

Cashin v. Bello  
Date: October 7, 2015
Docket Number: a-98-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff Anna Mae Cashin owned a parcel of land in Hoboken. Two separate structures were located on that property: a six-unit apartment building, and a two-story single-family home built in a converted garage. Plaintiff…

Jarrell v. Kaul  
Date: September 29, 2015
Docket Number: a-42-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs James Jarrell and his wife filed a complaint against Dr. Kaul and the Market Street Surgical Center (MSSC). On summary judgment, the court found that there was no cause of action against Dr. Kaul for deceit,…

Prioleau v. Kentucky Fried Chicken, Inc.  
Date: September 28, 2015
Docket Number: a-99-13

Justia Opinion Summary: In a series of decisions arising from personal injuries sustained by business invitees on the premises of businesses whose operations involve customer self-service, the New Jersey Supreme Court has recognized a principle…

New Jersey v. Witt  
Date: September 24, 2015
Docket Number: a-9-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant William Witt was charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and second-degree possession of a weapon by a convicted person. The police initiated a stop of defendant’s car because he did not dim…

Kaye v. Rosefielde  
Date: September 22, 2015
Docket Number: a-93-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff Bruce Kaye, the controlling principal of three entities that sold and managed timeshare interests in resort properties in Atlantic County, hired defendant Alan Rosefielde, an attorney admitted to practice law…

New Jersey v. McKinney
Date: August 27, 2015
Docket Number: a-74-13
H.S.P. v. J.K.
Date: August 26, 2015
Docket Number: a-114-13
Dept. of Children Families v. E.D.-O.  
Date: August 20, 2015
Docket Number: a-109-13

Justia Opinion Summary: In this appeal, on a morning in early May 2009, a mother left her sleeping nineteen-month-old child unattended for approximately ten minutes in a locked motor vehicle with the motor running in a shopping mall parking…

New Jersey v. Lindsey  
Date: August 20, 2015
Docket Number: a-6303-11

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendants Donald Lindsey and Martin Pierce engaged in a shoot-out in a residential neighborhood of Camden. They were not injured, but a four-year-old boy, B.T., was killed in the cross-fire. Following a joint trial, the…

New Jersey v. Shannon  
Date: August 19, 2015
Docket Number: a-111-13

Justia Opinion Summary: In this appeal, the issue this case presented for the Supreme Court's review centered on whether evidence seized after defendant's arrest, made in the absence of a valid warrant or probable cause, was subject to…

New Jersey v. Musa  
Date: August 18, 2015
Docket Number: a-78-13

Justia Opinion Summary: At the conclusion of the first day of jury deliberations, the jury sent a note to the court asking if a particular juror could be excused from the case. The court responded to the question appropriately, generally…

New Jersey v. Maltese  
Date: August 17, 2015
Docket Number: a-96-13

Justia Opinion Summary: In this appeal, the issue this case presented for the Supreme Court's review centered on whether defendant's repeated requests to speak with a family member during interrogation was sufficient to invoke the right to…

Qian v. Toll Brothers Inc.  
Date: August 12, 2015
Docket Number: a-95-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff and her husband resided in a home at the Villas at Cranbury Brook, a common-interest community, in the Township of Plainsboro. The homeowners at the Villas take title only to their dwelling units; all other…

Redd v. Bowman  
Date: August 11, 2015
Docket Number: a-71-13

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue this case presented for the Supreme Court's review was whether an initiative petition filed under the Optional Municipal Charter Law (known as the Faulkner Act), requiring the City of Camden to create and…

In the Matter of the Expungement Petition of J.S.  
Date: August 10, 2015
Docket Number: a-84-13

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court consolidated two appeals in this opinion. J.S. was a thirty-four-year-old former New Jersey resident, who, in 2000, while a sophomore at Kean University, was arrested after twice selling marijuana to an…

Ross v. Lowitz  
Date: August 6, 2015
Docket Number: a-101-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Shortly after plaintiff John Ross signed a contract to sell his home, he learned of contamination on his property as a result of a leak that previously existed in an underground oil storage tank located on a neighboring…

New Jersey v. Munafo  
Date: August 5, 2015
Docket Number: a-6-14

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2009, Erica Ortiz and a few friends went to a dance club in Newark. Defendant and her boyfriend, Oscar Rodriguez, went to the club that night as well. At about 1:35 a.m., while in the bathroom, defendant got into a…

New Jersey v. Hathaway  
Date: August 4, 2015
Docket Number: a-69-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant Dontae Hathaway was charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon following the discovery of a handgun in his room at the Taj Mahal Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. Defendant moved to suppress…

New Jersey v. Keaton  
Date: August 3, 2015
Docket Number: a-92-13

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this appeal were the circumstances under which a law enforcement officer may legally enter a disabled vehicle to obtain the driver's registration and insurance information without first requesting the…

State v. James Buckner
Date: July 30, 2015
Docket Number: a-22-14
Elizabeth Gnall v. James Gnall
Date: July 29, 2015
Docket Number: a-52-13
Fernandes v. DAR Development Corp.  
Date: July 28, 2015
Docket Number: a-37-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff Rolando Fernandes and his boss, Mario Freitas (Mario), were installing a sewer pipe on a residential construction site. The wall of the trench in which Fernandes was working collapsed, burying him up to his…

New Jersey v. Reece  
Date: July 20, 2015
Docket Number: a-70-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Police arrived at defendant Evan Reece's home to investigate a dropped 9-1-1 call that originated there. Defendant denied making any such call, and insisted that he was alone in the home, although responding officer…

Lippman v. Ethicon, Inc.  
Date: July 15, 2015
Docket Number: a-65-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff Joel S. Lippman, M.D., was employed by defendant Ethicon, Inc., a subsidiary of defendant Johnson & Johnson, Inc., from July 2000 until his termination in May 2006. For the majority of his employment, plaintiff…

IMO Borough of Keyport v. Local 68  
Date: July 14, 2015
Docket Number: a-43-13

Justia Opinion Summary: The unions in each of three municipalities brought scope-of-negotiations challenges to the municipal actions. The Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC), in separate decisions, held that the municipalities…

Morillo v. Monmouth County Sheriff Officers  
Date: July 13, 2015
Docket Number: a-88-13

Justia Opinion Summary: At about 8:30 p.m. on December 15, 2010, Monmouth County Sheriff's Officers Alexander Torres and Thomas Ruocco arrived at a Matawan address to execute a child-support warrant on plaintiff Eric Morillo. While Torres went…

New Jersey v. Olivero  
Date: June 28, 2015
Docket Number: a-83-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was arrested at a locked, fenced-in parking lot used for storage by an adjoining warehouse operated by Domino Manufacturing. Domino Manufacturing used the lot to store equipment for printing presses, including…

New Jersey v. Weston  
Date: June 25, 2015
Docket Number: a-61-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was charged with murder, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, carjacking, kidnapping, felony murder, terroristic threats, tampering with physical evidence, hindering…

New Jersey v. Hubbard  
Date: June 24, 2015
Docket Number: a-56-13

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2008, defendant called 9-1-1 requesting assistance for his five-month old daughter, reporting that she was not breathing. When the police arrived, the infant was in an ambulance about to be taken to the hospital.…

New Jersey v. Saavedra  
Date: June 23, 2015
Docket Number: a-68-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was an employee of the North Bergen Board of Education who filed an action asserting statutory and common law employment discrimination claims against the Board. In discovery, defendant's counsel produced…

New Jersey v. Roseman  
Date: June 18, 2015
Docket Number: a-105-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendants William Roseman and Lori Lewin were married from 1992 until 2000, during which time Roseman was the Mayor of Carlstadt. As his wife, Lewin was entitled to, and received, benefits under Carlstadt's health plan.…

New Jersey v. Dalal  
Date: June 17, 2015
Docket Number: a-50-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Two indictments were pending against defendant Aakash Dalal. The first charged defendant with a series of offenses directed against four synagogues and a Jewish community center. The second charged defendant with…

New Jersey v. Urbina  
Date: June 16, 2015
Docket Number: a-49-13

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2007, Camden police officers arrived at the scene of a shooting where they found the body of Edwin Torres on the sidewalk. Torres had suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the head and neck. An eyewitness identified…

Grabowsky v. Township of Montclair  
Date: June 15, 2015
Docket Number: a-53-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff Richard Grabowsky filed a complaint against the Township of Montclair, challenging the validity of an ordinance adopted by the Township to permit the construction of an assisted living facility on a site…

Estate of Kotsovska v. Liebman  
Date: June 11, 2015
Docket Number: a-89-13

Justia Opinion Summary: This case arose out of the tragic death of Myroslava Kotsovska, who was fatally injured when defendant Saul Liebman, for whom decedent worked as a caretaker, inadvertently struck her with his car. Petitioner Olena…

Burgos v. New Jersey  
Date: June 9, 2015
Docket Number: a-55-04

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs brought this action because Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 and FY 2015 Appropriations Acts did not provide sufficient funding to meet the amounts called for with the Legislature's enactment of Chapter 78, L.2011, c.78…

Burgos v. New Jersey  
Date: June 9, 2015
Docket Number: a-55-14

Justia Opinion Summary: The State’s public pension systems were defined-benefit plans, which guaranteed participants a calculable amount of benefits payable upon retirement based on the participant’s salary and time spent in the pension system.…

Date: June 8, 2015
Docket Number: a4330-12
Gaskill v. Citi Mortgage, Inc.  
Date: May 28, 2015
Docket Number: a-51-13

Justia Opinion Summary: This appeal stemmed from plaintiffs' complaint to cancel and discharge a creditor's judgment lien held by defendant Citi Mortgage, Inc. (Citi). Following the conclusion of Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings the Superior…

New Jersey v. Wright  
Date: May 19, 2015
Docket Number: a-64-13

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue this case presented for the Supreme Court's review centered on whether the third-party intervention or private search doctrine applied to a warrantless search of a home. Co-defendant Evangeline James and her…

Occhifinto v. Olivo Construction Company  
Date: May 7, 2015
Docket Number: a-77-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff Robert Occhifinto filed suit against defendant Robert S. Keppler Mason Contractors, LLC (Keppler) and others seeking damages for alleged defective construction of an addition to his warehouse. In the liability…

Bridgewater-Raritan Education Association v. Board of Education of the Bridgewater-Raritan School District  
Date: May 6, 2015
Docket Number: a-85-13

Justia Opinion Summary: In this appeal, the issue before the Supreme Court centered on whether three teachers employed by the Board of Education of the Bridgewater-Raritan School District (Board) appropriately were denied tenure as a matter of…

New Jersey v. Adkins  
Date: May 4, 2015
Docket Number: a-91-13

Justia Opinion Summary: In the early morning hours of December 16, 2010, defendant Timothy Adkins was involved in a single-car accident that resulted in injuries to his two passengers. Based on his performance on a series of field sobriety…

New Jersey v. Perini Corporation  
Date: April 30, 2015
Docket Number: a-121-11

Justia Opinion Summary: In February 1995, the State executed a contract with Perini Corporation to design and build South Woods in Bridgeton (the Project), a twenty-six building medium- and minimum-security correctional facility. Perini…

New Jersey v. Nantambu  
Date: April 29, 2015
Docket Number: a-97-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Atlantic City police responded to reports of a domestic disturbance between defendant Kingkamau Nantambu and his girlfriend, Crystal Aikens. Aikens told police that defendant had threatened her with a gun. After police…

New Jersey v. Kuropchak  
Date: April 28, 2015
Docket Number: a-41-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant agreed to take an Alocotest (breathalyzer), in which a certified operator performed. At trial an Alcotest expert testified that the tests were done improperly and that the State had failed to enter the right…

New Jersey v. K.P.S.  
Date: April 22, 2015
Docket Number: a-82-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant K.P.S. was charged with numerous counts of aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, child abuse, endangering the welfare of a child, and conspiracy to commit these crimes. Defendants Peter Lisa and Carmini…

Kuchera v. Jersey Shore Family Health  
Date: March 31, 2015
Docket Number: a-60-13

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2009, plaintiff attended a free eye screening conducted by the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired at the Jersey Shore Family Health Center. Plaintiff slipped and fell on the tile floor. As a…

ManuelGuaman, et al. v. Jennifer Velez
Date: March 30, 2015
Docket Number: a-87-13
L.A. v. Board of Education of the City of Trenton  
Date: March 25, 2015
Docket Number: a-59-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant "L.A." was employed by the Trenton Board of Education as an elementary school security guard. While at work, L.A. allegedly had unlawful sexual contact with two minor students, N.F. and K.O. The allegations…

62-64 Main Street, L.L.C. v. Mayor & Council of the City of Hackensack  
Date: March 23, 2015
Docket Number: a-19-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs owned five lots in the City of Hackensack on which stood two dilapidated buildings abutted by two poorly maintained and decrepit parking lots. Hackensack designated eleven out of twenty lots in a two-block…

Maida v. Kuskin  
Date: March 19, 2015
Docket Number: a-50-13

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue this case presented for the New Jersey Supreme Court's consideration centered on the circumstances under which a defendant can request a civil reservation. Defendant pled guilty to failing to report an…

New Jersey v. Sumulikoski  
Date: March 18, 2015
Docket Number: a-3-13

Justia Opinion Summary: A Bergen County Grand Jury charged Michael Sumulikoski with three counts of second-degree sexual assault (Counts 2, 3, and 4), one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual contact…

New Jersey v. Pomianek  
Date: March 17, 2015
Docket Number: a-32-13

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this appeal was the constitutionality of N.J.S.A. 2C:16-1(a)(3), a bias-crime statute that allows a jury to convict a defendant even when bias did not motivate the commission of the offense. Under the…

Townsend v. Pierre  
Date: March 12, 2015
Docket Number: a-2-13

Justia Opinion Summary: The tragic accident that gave rise to this litigation occurred during the evening of August 9, 2008 in Willingboro Township. The accident occurred as the driver of the automobile Noah Pierre was turning left at an…

Badiali v. N.J. Mfg. Ins. Grp.  
Date: February 18, 2015
Docket Number: a-48-12

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff Augustine Badiali was injured when his motor vehicle was rear-ended by an uninsured motorist. Plaintiff filed a UM claim, which proceeded to arbitration and resulted in an award in plaintiff s favor. Plaintiff…

Wadeer v. N.J. Mfrs. Ins. Co.  
Date: February 18, 2015
Docket Number: a-54-12

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff Kwabena Wadeer suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident that occurred while he was attempting to avoid an unidentified vehicle. Plaintiff filed a UM claim against New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company…

New Jersey v. R.K.  
Date: February 3, 2015
Docket Number: a-39-13

Justia Opinion Summary: This case stemmed from a nine-year-old victim's allegation that her mother's boyfriend, defendant R.K., repeatedly molested her. No physical evidence of the alleged sexual assaults was presented. Trial turned on whether…

New Jersey v. Perez  
Date: February 2, 2015
Docket Number: a-25-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant placed three phone calls to N.C., then a 13-year-old boy. That same night, defendant sent four text messages to N.C. in which he expressed a desire to engage in sexual activity with the child. N.C. showed the…

New Jersey v. Gregory  
Date: February 2, 2015
Docket Number: a-40-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant Tahir Gregory was arrested and charged in a ten-count indictment with, among other things, possession of a controlled dangerous substance (heroin) with the intent to distribute within 1000 feet of a school.…

New Jersey v. Tate  
Date: February 2, 2015
Docket Number: a-46-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant John Tate pled guilty to the fourth-degree offense of abuse of his foster child "by engaging in the habitual use . . . in the hearing of [the] child, of profane, indecent or obscene language." The trial court…

Vanderslice v. Stewart  
Date: January 29, 2015
Docket Number: a-58-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Harold Stewart, a sergeant in Camden County's Fire Police Department, while operating a Camden County vehicle, was involved in a motor vehicle accident with plaintiff Joseph Vanderslice. Plaintiff filed a complaint…

Morristown Associates v. Grant Oil Co.  
Date: January 26, 2015
Docket Number: a-38-13

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1979, plaintiff Morristown Associates purchased commercial property located in Morristown. The property contained a strip-mall-style shopping center known as Morristown Plaza. Among the tenants was Plaza Cleaners, a…

Griepenburg v. Township of Ocean  
Date: January 22, 2015
Docket Number: a-55-13

Justia Opinion Summary: In the late 1990s, the Township of Ocean began a comprehensive planning process in anticipation of population growth and increased development. In April 2007, plaintiffs, who owned a significant amount of land in the…

New Jersey v. Grate  
Date: January 15, 2015
Docket Number: a-47-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendants Fuquan Cromwell and James Grate were stopped by police officers on the campus of Drew University during the attempted robbery of someone they knew. Defendants were charged with various offenses, including…

Hargrove v. Sleepy's, LLC  
Date: January 14, 2015
Docket Number: a-70-12

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs Sam Hargrove, Andre Hall, and Marco Eusebio delivered mattresses for defendant Sleepy s, LLC. Plaintiffs claimed that they were employees of Sleepy's, that Sleepy's miscategorized them as independent…

New Jersey v. T.J.M.  
Date: January 13, 2015
Docket Number: a-76-12

Justia Opinion Summary: At the time of the events that led to the charges in this case, defendant lived with his girlfriend and her daughter "Chloe," the victim. Chloe testified that defendant first sexually abused her when she was…

New Jersey v. K.S.  
Date: January 8, 2015
Docket Number: a-36-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant K.S. was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated and refusing to submit to a breath test. As he was being transported to the Watchung Borough police station, defendant struck and attempted to spit…

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