Monmouth County, Consumer Rights and Consumer Litigation
Monmouth County is one of the most popular, if not most beautiful, counties in the State of New Jersey. Monmouth County consists of some of the largest townships in the State of New Jersey including Middletown Township. Middletown Township also contains Leonardo, Belford, Lincroft and portions of Keansburg. Monmouth County has numerous departments and facilities available to the public. There is a county clerk’s office, sheriff’s office, and surrogate’s office. Monmouth County also has an extensive park system, including various golf courses such as Bel-Aire, Charleston Springs, Hominy Hill, Howell Park, Pine Brook, and Shark River and includes an annual Monmouth County Fair. Monmouth County also has a health department, human services department, care centers, restaurant inspections, planning board, multiple libraries, special needs registry, prosecutor’s office and various other services which the public relies upon on a daily basis. More importantly, the Monmouth County website has various important information which the public can access, such as Freeholder Agenda, Freeholder Minutes, Record Search, subdivision maps, election information, tax list image archives, computer data and tax maps. All of these, especially Record Search, are resources that should be freely utilized by the public.
Monmouth County contains many dealerships, all of whom are subject to the provisions of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and have various obligations under the Administrative Code and the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
New Jersey is an excellent state insofar as consumer litigation as an area of law. New Jersey is considered a consumer-friendly state by both the legislature and the Supreme Court have as it has adopted and implemented various laws and regulations enforcing what is a consumer-friendly mandate with a remedial consumer statute.
Both the legislature in New Jersey in the Supreme Court New Jersey have determined that the Consumer Fraud Act is to be liberally construed and the favor of the consumers. This is equally true for consumer class actions. The courts recommend and follow an underlying premise that the certification of consumer class actions is favored under New Jersey law. This does not mean that every class action that certified however the court is instructed to look favorably upon certified consumer class actions. Class actions and causes of action can be pursued under the Consumer Fraud Act.
The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act has numerous regulations and specific rules per industry guidelines. There are numerous license boards, there are numerous registrations required and there is extensive regulation of the licensed professionals including on contractors.
The Consumer Fraud Act is wide-ranging to both those residents of Monmouth, Middlesex and Ocean County as well as all the other counties in New Jersey such as Essex, Atlantic, Mercer. Certain attorneys have favorite venues, favorite counties to litigate however the New Jersey laws for consumers are very strong and is really no significant difference on where one goes to trial.
The law is the law and the jury's charge is to apply the facts to the law is full by the judge. Consumer trials can be done in an expedited fashion with or without expert witnesses. Consumer attorneys anticipating in consumer trials in consumer litigation and appropriate opportunity under the consumer fraud jury instructions to pursue adequate remedies for the clients. Car dealers are but one common target of the Consumer Fraud Act. Other industries subject to the act include home-improvement food service and any other business that sells goods. The Consumer Fraud Act applies to artisans as well.
There was a time when it was disputed whether or not the allegation of consumer fraud was entitled to a jury’s determination. Ultimately, the Supreme Court decided that were entitled to jury charges or a jury to determine the facts on a consumer fraud case. Numerous defense attorneys attempted to thwart the effort to have a jury however they were finally unsuccessful.
There is another issue as far as the triple damages and attorneys fees. There was an open issue for a long period of time as to whether or not the jury should be told about the triple damages and about the attorneys fees. Finally, this was resolved in favor of advising jury as to the tripling of the damages and the awarding attorneys fees.
All those who are attempting to get compensated will receive compensation for the aforementioned act of violations thereof the jury must be advised that the consumer or the plaintiff will receive triple damages and the defendant have to pay for the attorney’s fees.
Again, the this should have no role in the final determination by a jury of the defendant has violated a consumer law. The jury is charged with listening to the jury charge and the law as directed by the judge in applying the facts the law in determining whether or not the law has been breached and the plaintiff is entitled to damages as a result of the defendant’s action. This is your right of a jury trial and this is what the job of the jury as with regard to jury trial. This is in Superior Court not in the administrative court.
The issue of arbitration is now significantly in the news including the daily prize of cases where and defendants challenge the right to have a jury trial. It has long been established in federal law and state law that arbitration favorite and should be liberally construed to enforce an arbitration agreement. Many consumers call my office and asked whether or not an arbitration agreement to be enforced and unilaterally I say yes, they can under no circumstances however they are not unilaterally enforceable under every set of facts.
The Supreme Court and the Appellate Division have set forth the specific circumstances when an arbitration clause can and cannot be enforced. There is a specific analysis that the court must undertake to determine whether or not a demand for arbitration or an arbitration clause must be enforced. Consumer attorneys who have experience in consumer litigation know how to oppose arbitration agreements and enforceability of the arbitration.