You Can't Blame The Lawyer
Court Rules provide that a party to a lawsuit may obtain information from his adversary before trial.
The procedure is generally referred to as "discovery". There are several procedures a litigant can use, such as requiring sworn testimony of witnesses in the presence of a stenographer (depositions), requiring the production of relevant documents (notice to produce) and requiring written, sworn responses to written questions (interrogatories).
If a party is served with any of these discovery demands, he is required to make a complete and truthful response and within the time limits required by the Rules.
The Rules provide penalties where a litigant does not comply with his discovery obligations. An initial failure can result in a dismissal of his claims in the lawsuit pending compliance. But a continued failure to make discovery can result in the dismissal of a litigant's claims permanently.
In a recent Appellate Division case, plaintiffs failed to provide discovery. They blamed their lawyer for being inattentive. The trial court dismissed their case, but pointed out that the Rules permitted them to seek reinstate of their case if they supplied the demanded discovery within 90 days. The court also gave plaintiffs time to retain a new attorney.
Plaintiffs got a new lawyer, but they didn't supply the discovery.
The trial court permanently dismissed plaintiffs' case for this persistent failure to comply with discovery.
Plaintiffs appealed, still blaming their first lawyer for being inattentive.
YOU BE THE JUDGE: Is a lawyer responsible to make sure his clients comply with court rules?
The Appellate Division affirmed the dismissal by the trial court. Plaintiffs' problems with their first lawyer did not excuse their continued failure to comply with discovery after they had a new lawyer.
The decision points out that a courtroom can bring justice and may be the only way to protect your rights. Bornstein Law Firm knows courtrooms; we have harnessed the power of the law in courtrooms to bring justice for our clients for decades in Little Ferry, Oakland, Mahwah, Midland Park, Park Ridge and throughout Bergen County, in Little Falls, Ringwood, Passaic, Little Falls and elsewhere in Passaic County, in Livingston, Nutley, Roseland, Millburn, Livingston and throughout Essex County, in Whippany, Montville, Pequannock, Madison and Long Valley and Mendham in Morris County, in Murray Hill, Kenilworth, Mountainside and Cranford in Union County, in Manalapan, Manasquan and Little Silver in Monmouth County, in Parlin, Perth Amboy, Piscataway and Old Bridge in Middlesex County, in Kearny, Bayonne, Union City and North Bergen in Hudson County, in Hightstown, Pennington, Frenchtown and Princeton in Mercer County and throughout the State of New Jersey, as well as New York City. Please contact us to discuss how we can help you in a new lawsuit or provide a "second opinion" about your pending lawsuit. There is no obligation for the initial consultation.About the Author:
Author, Samuel D. Bornstein, is associated with the law firm (http://www.bornsteinlawfirm.com/ ) and has 40 years of experience in representing individuals and a wide variety of businesses from Fortune 100 companies that need specialized assistance to smaller companies that look to the firm as their "in house" lawyer for general day-to-day advice. The firm is experienced with transactional work and litigation, emphasizing corporate and partnership operations, employment and workplace law, professional negligence, malpractice matters, immigration, civil rights and real state matters and insurance defense.