Wednesday, January 16, 2008
The New Jersey Law Journal (via law.com) reports that New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine vetoed the bill passed by the Assembly last week to expand the state's wrongful death statute. As posted earlier, the bill would have allowed claims for emotional harm. (Under the present statute, damages are recoverable only for pecuniary loss). Governor Corzine explained his veto:
"[U]nlimited damages … could have a significant impact on state and local budgets, since government entities are not infrequently named as defendants in wrongful death suits, and there are similar concerns as the State undertakes efforts to attract and grow businesses here."
"Unfortunately, I do not believe that this bill in its current form strikes a fair balance that would avoid using a strict monetary valuation of a person’s life while also addressing the adverse effect of allowing unlimited and unpredictable damages."
He urged the Legislature to consider alternatives "granting more flexibility for courts to reduce excessive non-pecuniary damage awards and defining non-pecuniary damages less expansively."