Second Circuit Upholds Constitutionality of NY and Connecticut’s Assault Weapons Bans

On October 19, 2015, the Second Circuit issued an opinion regarding the constitutionality of the SAFE Act/Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention  legislation in New York and Connecticut, upholding the lower court’s decision that a seven round magazine limit was arbitrary but otherwise affirming the constitutionality of the legislation. Read the rest of this entry »


New Jersey Appellate Division Holds That a Defendant is Only Required to Produce Surveillance Evidence After the Plaintiff Has Been Deposed

On September 3, 2015, the New Jersey Appellate Division reiterated the notion that trial courts should take a balanced approach when it comes to the discoverability of surveillance evidence obtained for purposes of litigation.

surveillance-152097_1280 (2)In Mernick v. McCutchen, the Appellate Division was tasked with assessing whether surveillance videos of a plaintiff were protected from discovery due to the work product doctrine. The plaintiff was injured in a car accident, and after the plaintiff filed her lawsuit, the defendants took surveillance videos of the purportedly injured plaintiff.  In their discovery responses, the defendants acknowledged that they possessed the surveillance videos but refused to produce the videos until after the plaintiff had been deposed. As a result, the plaintiff’s counsel refused to produce his client for deposition until the videos were provided. Read the rest of this entry »


Table Saw Manufacturer’s Failure to Include Automatic Guard is Not a Design Defect Under New York Law

On July 8, 2015, New York’s Second Department held that a design defect claim cannot be based upon a table saw manufacturer’s failure to include an automatic guard.

In Chavez v. Delta International Machinery Corp., 2014-05235, 2015 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 5769 (N.Y. App. Div. [2d Dep’t] July 8, 2015), the trial court denied the branch of the defendant’s motion for summary that sought to dismiss all claims based upon allegations that a table saw was defective for not including an automatic safety device – an interlock device that would prevent the saw from operating unless the blade guard was properly in place. Read the rest of this entry »


NJ Appellate Division Cracks Down on the Practice of Bootstrapping Expert Opinions

Last week, primarily relying on Evidence Rules 703 and 808, the New Jersey Appellate Division struck a blow to the practice of bootstrapping, which is when a testifying expert at trial improperly presents a non-testifying expert’s opinion to the jury.

In James v. Ruiz, the New Jersey Appellate Division addressed whether lawyers are allowed to ask an expert witness at trial whether his or her findings are consistent with those of a non- testifying expert. In other words, the Appellate Division confronted the practice of utilizing expert testimony to “bootstrap” into evidence unauthenticated hearsay studies, reports, or other documentary evidence.

Judge Sabatino, writing for the Court, held that such questioning is inappropriate when the purpose is to have the jury consider an absent expert’s hearsay opinions about “complex and disputed matters.”
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