In this two-part presentation, attorney Thomas De Luca discusses New Jersey Pre-Trial Practice in depth. Part 2 of the program addresses pre-trial issues that arise as the trial date approaches. Specifically, Mr. De Luca examines issues when the court orders alternate dispute resolution or when parties make motions for summary judgment. Mr. De Luca also discusses how parties can narrow issues that have to be tried by way of pre trial orders, notices to admit or motions in limine. Other miscellaneous issues will also be covered.
I. Grasp dispositive motions and other methods that can resolve some or all of the issues in the case
II. Prepare for the actual trial as the scheduled date approaches
About New Jersey Pre-Trial Practice Generally
Pre-trial practice begins long before a trial date is scheduled. It begins the day an attorney is retained, interviews the client for the first time and reviews all the relevant documents. If the client is a plaintiff, the attorney must make early decisions as to the causes of action that the client should allege, the court in which the action should be brought, and numerous other issues. The plaintiff’s attorney should do a complete investigation to determine if the suit should be commenced at all, the likelihood of success on the merits and the value of the case.
The defendant’s attorney’s task might seem less daunting but involves a complete investigation of the facts and certain immediate strategic decisions. Is the defendant willing to litigate in the forum that plaintiff chose or should the defendant try to transfer or remove the case to another court? If the case is legally insufficient on its face for any number of reasons should the defendant, rather than answering the complaint, move to have it dismissed at the outset? The choice of forum could have a significant impact on the result of such a motion.
Both parties have to develop theories and themes of the case. Assuming the case survives beyond the pleading stage, both parties must make decisions as to the scope and type of discovery that they need. The theme and theory of the case can change based upon what the parties learn in pre trial discovery.
In order to qualify to testify, experts must have expertise that is relevant to the issues in the case. They must develop qualified opinions, prepare reports and be prepared to defend their conclusions.
As the trial date approaches the attorneys must prepare their witnesses and be certain that both the lay and expert witnesses are available for trial. If one is not available to testify at trial there are methods to remedy the situation.
During the process it is likely that the court will compel some kind of alternate dispute resolution in an attempt to dispose of the case. The attorney must be familiar with the types of alternate dispute resolution and how they, if not properly handled, can lead to an unsatisfactory result.
Prior to joining Osborn, in 2007, as of counsel, and to founding De Luca & Forster in 1993, Mr. De Luca served as an associate at Pantages, Sellar, Richardson & Stuart from 1978 – 1980, and was at Postner & Rubin from 1980 – 1993, where he was a partner for 8 years. Mr. De Luca represents contractors, owners, developers, designers, sureties, and insurers in all aspects of construction related litigation, arbitration, and mediation.
Mr. De Luca has tried numerous arbitrations, jury trials and bench trials on complex construction matters. Prior to practicing law, he was a senior surety underwriter for Fireman's Fund Insurance Company. In addition to his legal counseling, he has served as a financial advisor to construction companies.
Mr. De Luca is admitted in New York and New Jersey
Presented before numerous groups including the North Jersey Chapter of the National Association of Credit Managers, the New York Sprinkler Contractors Association and others on various construction and surety issues.
NITA trial advocacy course for the New York County Lawyer’s Association
New York Construction Law: Bonds and Insurance” Pratt Institute
“Law and Risk Management: Introduction to Risk Management; Insurers and Insurance Representatives” Building Owners and Managers Institute (BOMI)
Co author of New York Construction Law, by Postner & Rubin, published by Shepards - McGraw Hill, 1992.
American Bar Association
Very thorough and extremely informative. Thank you.
Good refresher course even for the experienced practitioner!
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