Pashman Stein Walder Hayden has been recognized as Appellate Litigation Department of the Year by The New Jersey Law Journal for the Second Year in a Row
Hackensack-based law firm Pashman Stein Walder Hayden is pleased to announce that its Appellate Litigation Practice Group has been named The New Jersey’s Law Journal’s 2018 Appellate Litigation Department of the Year for its impressive record of appellate successes this past year. The Law Journal, the leading legal trade publication in NJ, made the selection from among the state’s 900 law firms with the help of an outside panel of distinguished practitioners.
Pashman Stein Walder Hayden’s Appellate Practice had a banner year in 2018, including several successful decisions that resulted in published opinions. On the commercial side, PSWH fully briefed two separate complex commercial appeals in 2018 that involve nine figure damages claims. In the first matter, the Liquidating Trustee of the Maxus Liquidating Trust retained PSWH to serve as his appellate counsel in New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Occidental Chemical Company, No. A-2038-17 (App. Div.), in which the trustee is pursuing indemnification claims against the former parent company of an insolvent corporation arising from the long-running Passaic River Litigation. In the second matter, Deborah Heart and Lung Center v. Virtua Health, Inc., No. A-2307-17 (App. Div.), PSWH is representing The Cardiology Group, P.A. (CGPA) and a group of individual cardiologists in Deborah’s appeal from the trial court’s dismissal of its unfair competition and tortious interference claims against CGPA and Virtua. PSWH successfully represented CGPA and the individual cardiologists in the trial court and is now defending the win on appeal.
Among the firm’s most significant appellate victories in 2018 was Scheeler v. Atl. Cnty. Mun. Joint Ins. Fund, 454 N.J. Super. 621 (App. Div. 2018), which began when a North Carolina resident sought government records from two New Jersey public agencies. Both agencies denied the requests and two lawsuits followed. In one case, an Atlantic County judge ruled that Scheeler was prohibited from filing OPRA requests because he was not a New Jersey citizen. In the other case, a Burlington County judge ruled that OPRA has no standing requirement and “any person” can file an OPRA request. Both decisions were appealed and were consolidated with a third matter the Atlantic County judge had decided, where it concluded that a non-profit civil rights organization that was incorporated in Washington D.C. could not access records under OPRA. The Appellate Division agreed with the arguments advanced by PSWH and issued a published opinion holding that OPRA is not limited only to New Jersey citizens, despite Section 1’s declaration that “government records shall be readily accessible for inspection, copying, or examination by the citizens of this State.”
In Wronko v. New Jersey Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 453 N.J. Super. 73 (App. Div. 2018), the firm successfully defeated an appeal where the NJSPCA argued that it was not subject to OPRA because it was a non-profit corporation and not a traditional government agency.
Due to the firm’s significant expertise in appellate work, PSWH has also been retained to participate in numerous appeals on behalf of various amici curiae, including:
- Brennan v. Bergen County. Prosecutor's Office, 233 N.J. 330, 334 (2018)
- Petro-Lubricant Testing Labs., Inc. v. Adelman, 233 N.J. 236, 245 (2018)
- Kean Fed'n of Teachers v. Morell, 233 N.J. 566 (2018)
- Paff v. Ocean Cnty. Prosecutor's Office, 235 N.J. 1, 14 (2018)
- L.R. v. Camden City Public School District, Supreme Court Docket No. 080333
- Piscitelli v. City of Garfield Zoning Board of Adjustment, Supreme Court Docket No. 079900
- Correa v. Grossi, Appellate Division Docket No. A-4883-17
- United States v. Tarnai, Third Circuit Docket No. 17-1330
Notably, several of the appellate clients that PSWH successfully represented last year were referred by other law firms that represented the client at trial, but specifically sought out the firm’s appellate experience to protect the judgment on appeal or to demonstrate the reversible errors committed below.
In crafting their written arguments and preparing for oral argument, PSWH attorneys draw on retired New Jersey Supreme Justice Gary Stein’s unique insight and experience, reflected in the more than 365 majority and dissenting opinions he authored during his 18 year tenure as an Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, which cover virtually every area of New Jersey state law, including education, constitutional law, insurance coverage, zoning and land use law, civil and criminal procedure, and attorney discipline. A number of PSWH attorneys also served as judicial law clerks for prominent appellate court judges prior to joining the firm, including for justices of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, and judges on the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second and Third Circuits, and the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.
New Jersey Law Journal Professional Excellence Methodology and Selectivity
Each year, the Litigation Departments of the Year awards draw one of the most enthusiastic responses of all the Law Journal’s Professional Excellence categories. Even this year, as it shifted its focus toward New Jersey’s midsize and smaller firms, the response was strong, as were the submissions. The litigation groups that were selected as winners went beyond providing good counsel to clients—they, in many cases, ferried them through the most significant disputes, handled matters in creative ways, litigated at the trial and appellate levels, or moved the law forward. Sometimes they accomplished these things all at once.