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Newark Litigation and Appeals Law Blog

Judge delays Cosby's deposition in Dickinson lawsuit

New Jersey residents may be interested to learn that a California appeals judge has temporarily stayed an order for Bill Cosby to be deposed in the defamation lawsuit filed against him by Janice Dickinson. The Nov. 13 decision halted depositions Dickinson's lawyer had scheduled with Cosby on Nov. 19 in Los Angeles and Cosby's former lawyer on Nov. 23 in Boston.

Cosby's legal team has remained largely silent since public accusations that he drugged and raped dozens of women came to light in 2014. However, after the judge's stay, Cosby's spokesperson issued a statement noting that the comedian should not have to sit for a deposition "until Ms. Dickinson demonstrates a reasonable possibility of success on her claims." Meanwhile, Dickinson's lawyer shrugged off the stay, saying that she is "confident" that the case will move forward once the court hears all the arguments on the issues.

Risk to businesses of employee lawsuits high

New Jersey businesses may believe they have little chance of being sued by their employees, but a recent study indicates otherwise. The annual study was conducted by Hiscox, a specialty insurer that looked at employee lawsuit trends.

According to Hiscox, U.S. businesses of small- to medium-size have a risk of being sued by an employee of 11.7 percent. Some states show higher percentages of filed employee claims than do others. The jurisdictions with the highest rates of employee claims include California, Nevada, New Mexico, Alabama and Washington, D.C. Although New Jersey is not in the top five states for lawsuits, businesses there still face a strong risk of being sued by their employees.

New Jersey attorney sued for malpractice, evidence destruction

The duty of the attorney to his client is fiduciary nature; meaning, he cannot place his personal interests above or in conflict with those of the client. The consequences for failing to uphold this fiduciary duty can lead to litigation with the client as well as various civil and even criminal penalties. This axiom is illustrated by the recent filing of a motion in connection with a legal malpractice lawsuit in the US District Court of New Jersey.

The motion was filed on behalf of two former principles of a company that was subject to almost $19 million in fines by the Federal Trade Commission when it changed its business model without first notifying the FTC. The two former principals were held personally liable for that amount. They have since filed suit against the attorney who is representing them at the time, claiming that his advice to change the business structure of the company to avoid FTC scrutiny, coupled with the failure to notify the FTC of such change, then to the imposition of the fines that they had to pay.

New Jersey resident cannot sue federal agency, appeals court says

A federal appeals court has ruled that a New Jersey man who was falsely imprisoned cannot sue the federal agency that held him in Africa for several months. The court made this decision based upon the fact that the situation occurred overseas during a time of active terrorist investigations.

Though the court did acknowledge that the claims made by the man against the federal agency were “quite troubling,” they stated that the man’s constitutional rights had not been violated. Therefore, he is without recourse to pursue his claims.

What is a "reversible error?"

If you should find that your civil court legal dispute is one of the minority that does not settle before a judge or jury renders a decision, and for some reason that decision goes against you, you will be faced with a decision: "What next?" There are two basic choices that you can make.

First, you can decide to accept the result and to move on. Sometimes, your situation may be such that continuing the legal contest has reached a point of diminishing returns, and the better course is to let the battle end.

How can litigation be avoided?

Going through a divorce in New Jersey can be a grueling process. There are assets to split, custody agreements to arrange and finances to organize. All of this must be done on top of a whirlwind of emotions that are capable of easily spiraling off the charts when extra stressors come into play. Divorce is often one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. There are a few ways in which people are able to make divorce a little easier.

One popular route that individuals are using to ease the burdens of divorce is mediation. This helps them to avoid litigation altogether and come up with solutions in a much less stressful environment. When divorce cases go to litigation, important choices are often left up to a handful or single legal authority who do not personally know the couple or situation. This can result in decisions being made that a party is completely against.

Compliance becomes murky with new sick leave order

On Labor Day, the White House passed an executive order that mandates sick leave for employees of federal contractors. This order, however, has some features that are causing concern for employment lawyers, who are concerned about employment contract enforcement.

The new order extends paid sick leave to about 300,000 employees who are not currently eligible for these benefits, and will increase available sick leave for many more. It also allows workers to use this leave not only to care for themselves, but for family members who are ill and allows for its use for domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault situations. 

How do you prove a legal malpractice case?

In previous posts we have covered many examples of alleged an actual instances of attorney malpractice in New Jersey. Sometimes the underlying causes of the malpractice may seem obvious; at other times, it may be harder to discern. This post addresses the standard by which courts decide whether an attorney's behavior meets the threshold to qualify as legal malpractice.

In a key sense, proving legal malpractice is similar to proving a case of negligence: both causes of action require the plaintiff to show that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff and failed to uphold that duty. As you may suspect, however, a legal malpractice action involves more than a simple showing of negligence.

Is your attorney ripping you off?

When you hire an attorney in New Jersey, you likely expect them to “work for their money.” After all, you are likely paying thousands of dollars for their advice, expertise and representation. You want to ensure they are using the hours they are charging you for effectively in an effort to win the case for you. Of course, this is not always easy to gauge.

If you feel your attorney is slacking, you have a few options. One of the most important things you can do is have another lawyer also examine your case and what your current attorney has done thus far. You can request your case file from your attorney and present it to a third party, who can determine whether you are getting your money’s worth or not. Communicate with your current attorney and relay your concerns so they know you are aware of what’s going on.

What you should know about legal malpractice

When you experience a traumatic event, such as a serious work injury or divorce, you go to an attorney with all of your faith and trust. Like doctors, attorneys are supposed to be the right hand person of their clients and have their best interest at heart, working hard to get them the best results after their case has settled. You expect your lawyer to stick to his or her own professional standards. Unfortunately, that does not always happen, and legal malpractice in New Jersey is more common than you think.

Your lawyer is required to act with competence and with integrity. Just like medical malpractice, legal malpractice is an act, which your attorney will be responsible for, and he or she could face tremendous repercussions for their actions. If you or someone that you know have been the victims of legal malpractice do not hesitate to speak with a new legal representative, speaking to an experienced attorney could be very beneficial to your case.

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