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Drug Laws in NJ: Negligent Service of Alcohol

September 29, 2014 Leave a comment

The New Jersey legislature recognizes the difficulty that alcoholic beverage servers face when attempting to obtain liability insurance, due to a lack of availability and the increased costs. It realizes that this not only adversely effects the servers themselves, but patrons and third parties who suffer personal injury and property damage as the result of negligent service of alcohol by alcoholic beverage servers. In order to make it more economically feasible for insurance companies to provide liability insurance to alcoholic beverage servers at a reasonable cost, the legislature enacted the New Jersey Licensed Alcoholic Beverage Server Fair Liability Act.

The Act can be found in N.J.S.A. 2A:22A-1 to -7, and allows recovery for damages resulting from the service of alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person. Laws such as this are commonly known as Dram Shop laws, and apply to taverns, liquor stores, and commercial establishments where alcohol is sold. In New Jersey, a person who sustains personal injury or property damage as the result of the negligent service of alcoholic beverages by a licensed alcoholic beverage server may recover damages from the server if the negligent service was the proximate cause of the injury or damage and was a foreseeable consequent of the negligent service. Negligent service is defined as serving a visibly intoxicated person, or serving a minor, under circumstances where the server knew, or reasonably should have known, that the person served was a minor.

In a recent case, the Supreme Court of New Jersey held that an injured motorcycle rider who was charged with, and pled guilty to, driving while intoxicated, was not barred from bring a Dram Shop claim against the restaurant he alleged negligently served him alcohol and therefore contributed to the accident in which he was injured. The restaurant argued that New Jersey law prohibits a Plaintiff who is found guilty of driving while intoxicated to recover for economic and noneconomic losses as the result of an accident. The Court however, found that while N.J.S.A. 39:6A-4.5(b) barred the right to sue for insurance coverage, it did not prevent an injured party convicted of driving while intoxicated from bringing a Dram Shop claim. The Court declared that there is no incompatibility between the two provisions. It further stated, “An intoxicated person is deterred from driving drunk by losing the right to sue for insurance coverage for his injuries. On the other hand, permitting an injured drunk driver to file an action against a liquor establishment and its servers for serving a visibly intoxicated patron similarly advances the goal of deterring drunk driving.” Voss v. Tranquilino, 992 A.2d 829, (2010 N.J. Super).

 Source: LexisNexis, codes and case cited in article

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New Jersey IV-D Court

August 15, 2014 2 comments

IV-D Courts were created pursuant to title IV-D of the Social Security Act, in order to establish and enforce child support orders. Title IV-D Courts hear child support and parentage cases, establish child and medical support orders, and enforce child support obligations. In 1984, Child Support Amendments to the federal Act mandated expedited processes, in the form of non-judge establishment and enforcement, to be eligible for federal funding. In response, the New Jersey Supreme Court authorized a pilot to test the use of hearing officers who would hear cases and recommend orders to judges, but not have the ultimate power of decision. The project became known as the Child Support Hearing Officer Program and is currently in use in New Jersey’s title IV-D Courts. Child-Support As part of the Child Support Hearing Office Program, a New Jersey Child Support Hearing Officer (“CSHO”) is authorized to hear child support cases and make recommendations to a judge. Unless a party objects to the process or the decision, and requests a hearing before the judge, the recommendation becomes an order of the court. CSHOs are appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court to hear and resolve family support cases, subject to judicial review and approval, in accordance with federal and state law. The CSHO has authority to hear issues involving establishment, modification, and enforcement of child support. The CSHO also facilitates the establishment of parenting time and custody consent orders. The CSHO hears testimony and evidence, makes findings of fact, reaches conclusions of law, and prepares a Uniform Summary Support Order with a recommended disposition for submission to a Family Part Judge for approval.

The Family Part Judge reviews the findings and recommendations of the CSHO before issuing a final Court Order. Family Part Judges also hear complex child support cases, including dissolution and non-dissolution matters, and has exclusive jurisdiction to enter orders for contested paternity, direct pay (not IV-D) child support cases, support for children over the age of 18, college tuition, claiming child as a dependent for tax purposes, and other matters related to more complex child support issues. The Judge also has exclusive jurisdiction to incarcerate, execute or vacate a bench warrant.

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The CSHO may make a preliminary determination that the matter is outside the jurisdiction of the CSHO or sufficiently complex that it must be heard by a judge. Some reasons for referral of a matter to the judge include active warrants or Domestic Violence Restraints, recommendation of incarceration, and objections to appearing before a CSHO by one or both parties. A party who appears before a CSHO also has the right to object to the CSHO’s recommendation and be heard before a Family Part Judge. A hearing before the Judge can usually be scheduled for the same day.

Sources:
http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/family/CSHOP_Ops_Man_20090326_with_attach.pdf

For Further details Visit: Child Support Lawyers In NJ or contact Family Law Attorney New Jersey here 3 University Plaza, Suite 350 Hackensack, NJ 07601
Telephone: (201) 771-1808