How one client’s case may change the law
We handle cases for clients. We strive to achieve the client’s goal in the case.
Sometimes an individual client’s case can help many other people with a similar legal issue.
When a judge decides a case and writes a published opinion, that case can be used by other judges to help in deciding cases with a similar issue.
Sometimes a client’s case is appealed to a higher court, and the law is changed as a result.
Current and former staff of LSNWJ and its founding organizations have argued in cases with published court opinions, which had an impact on the lives of many people in addition to our client litigant:
Read more about some of our impact cases
J.G. v. J.H. 457 N.J. Super. 365 (App. Div. 2019)
Grace E. Kelly, Esq.
The welfare of children is paramount whether the parents are married, divorced, or never married. A plenary hearing is necessary for contested custody matters where the parents make materially conflicting representations of fact, regardless of court rule designating a non-dissolution matter as a summary proceeding. Before hearing, the parties should participate in an alternate dispute resolution process, and each furnishes a proposed parenting plan when they cannot resolve custody. Discovery should be allowed, absent cogent reasons for the denial. Finally, an investigative report should be prepared by court staff. The judge needs this information to make a considered decision.
Newton Med. Ctr. v. D.B., 452 N.J. Super. 615 (App. Div. 2018)
Richard A. Mastro, Esq.
When a mental health patient is admitted to a hospital on an emergent basis through the referral of a PESS (Psychiatric Emergency Screening Service), the provisions of the Charity Care regulations dealing with emergency room admissions apply.
Midland Funding LLC v. Thiel, 446 N.J. Super. 537, 542 (App. Div. 2016)
A four-year statute of limitations applies to claims arising from a retail customer's use of a store-issued credit card — or one issued by a financial institution on a store's behalf — when the use of which is restricted to making purchases from the issuing retailer. If an action is filed after the expiration of this four-year period, the FDCPA requires the award of statutory damages and costs.
Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corp. v. Hunt, 364 N.J. Super. 587 (Law Div. 2003)
Michael L. Wojcik, Esq., Essex-Newark Legal Services
T.K. v. Landmark W., 353 N.J. Super. 353 ( 2001)
Ruben Laboy, Jr., Esq., Somerset Sussex Legal Services
The landlord was required to enter into a lease agreement with the tenant, where the landlord’s refusal to do so was discriminatory, based on the tenant’s offer of Section 8 vouchers as rental payments.
In the Matter of the Adoption of a Child by P.F.R. and V.A.I., 308 N.J. Super. 250 (App.Div.1998)
Diane K. Smith, Esq.
The court held that adoptive parents were not entitled to the statutory presumption of adoption because they failed to show that the biological father had forsaken his parental obligation after becoming aware of the child’s existence.
Ganz v. Rust, 299 N.J. Super. 324 (App. Div. 1997)
Victoria Reiners, Esq.
Plaintiff’s application for a plenary hearing to determine whether New Jersey had jurisdiction to determine custody under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act and if so whether New Jersey should exercise its jurisdiction, ), should have been granted.
Fromet Properties Inc. v. Buel, 294 N.J. Super. 601 (App. Div. 1996)
Jack Fitzgerald, Esq., Warren County Legal Services
The court held that in a summary dispossess action, the burden to prove a rent increase is not unconscionable rests with the landlord. The court further ruled that, in considering whether a proposed rent increase is unconscionable, a court may consider i) the amount of proposed rent increase, ii) the landlord’s expenses and profitability, iii) how existing and proposed rents compare to those charged at similar rental properties in the area, iv) the relative bargaining power of the parties, and v) based on the judge’s general knowledge, whether the rent increase would “shock the conscience” of a reasonable person.
B.N. v. Department of Human Services, 287 N.J. Super. 270 (App. Div. 1996)
Elizabeth Szabo, Esq. and Diane K. Smith, Esq.
The court held that the DHS’s twelve-month limit on temporary rental assistance, which contained no fallback provision, was invalid, as it ran contrary to the legislature’s mandate of providing NJ citizens with adequate shelter.
Hous. Auth. of Morristown v. Little, 135 N.J. 274 (1994)
Gerald R. Brennan, Esq.
The Supreme Court upheld trial court’s granting of defendant’s motion to vacate a judgment of possession on equitable grounds, pursuant to Rule 4:50-1.
N.J. Div. of Youth and Family Servs. v. E.B., 264 N.J. Super. 1 (App. Div. 1993)
Elizabeth Szabo, Esq.
Appellate court ruled that the public defender’s office had to split the payment of the fee for a court-appointed expert witness with Legal Services in a protective services action initiated by the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services, but that Legal Services was required to pay its half because it did not make it clear at the outset that it would not be responsible for paying expert witness fees on behalf of its client. N.J. Div. of Youth and Family Servs. v. E.B. (In re R.J.B.), 137 N.J. 180 (1994)The Court held that the lower court had not abused its discretion in directing both the public defender and Legal Services to split the cost of the fee for a court-appointed expert witness in a protective services action instituted by the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Service.
In re Petition for Rulemaking, 117 N.J. 311 (1989)
Diane K. Smith, Esq., Somerset-Sussex Legal Services, William F. Matrician, Esq., Legal Aid Society of Morris et al
Department of Human Services was required to determine a standard of need for the state's welfare recipients.
Williams v. Department of Human Services, 228 N.J. Super. 529 (App. Div. 1988)
Jane Herchenroder, Esq. Hunterdon County Legal Service Corp.
The court invalidated a DHS regulation that terminated Emergency Assistance to the needy after five months because there were no mechanisms in place to provide adequate shelter for recipients after the end of the five-month period. (The court’s decision to invalidate the regulation was overturned by the New Jersey Supreme Court, the following year, in Williams v. Department of Human Services, 116 N.J. 102 (1989), wherein the Court held that the five-month termination regulation could remain valid, under the condition that concrete plans were developed to allocate resources to make reasonably certain that individuals whose emergency assistance was terminated by the regulation in question would be able to find adequate shelter and, eventually, housing.)
RWB Newton Assocs. v. Gunn, 224 N.J. Super. 704 (App. Div. 1988)
The appellate court reversed and remanded the trial court’s judgment of possession for the landlord, and dismissed the landlord’s complaint, where the landlord had not served the defendant tenant with proper notice to cease, and thus had not given her an opportunity to conform to the rules and regulations under the lease.
Chobot v. Chobot, 224 N.J. Super. 648 (App. Div. 1988)
Robin C. Kiel, Esq., Legal Aid Soc. of Morris County
The appellate court held that the trial court erred in deducting appellant’s consumer credit debts from his income for the purposes of determining his child support obligations.
Loyko v. Loyko, 200 N.J. Super. 152 (App. Div. 1985)
Alberta T. Foster, Esq., Somerset-Sussex Legal Services
A husband’s installment payments on a mortgage account were intended to constitute additional support for his four minor children, and thus were not dischargeable in bankruptcy.
Harden v. Pritzert, 178 N.J. Super. 237 (App. Div. 1981)
Alan Strelzik, Esq., Somerset-Sussex Legal Services
The appellate division upheld the lower court’s decision that the Anti-Eviction Act did not bar eviction of tenants on grounds of lease expiration, because the premises were a homestead farm and thus were not being rented solely for appellant’s residential purposes.
Alford v. Somerset County Welfare Board, 158 N.J. Super. 302 (App. Div. 1978)
Alberta T. Foster, Somerset-Sussex Legal Services
The court held that a mother’s proof that her five children were receiving SSI benefits was insufficient to meet her burden of showing that her children were independent under NJ state welfare law, resulting in termination of Medicaid benefits.
In re Geraghty, 68 N.J. 209 (1975)
Amicus curiae, Somerset-Sussex Legal Services Michael Namias, Esq., Joseph Lipofsky, Esq.
After the N.J. Court Rule governing civil commitment hearings had been revised to the Court’s satisfaction, and because the appellant in the original case was no longer under involuntary commitment, the Court held the appellant’s case to be moot and dismissed the matter.
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