TortsProf Blog

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Southwestern Law School

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

NJ Governor Vetoes Changes To Wrongful Death Statute

The New Jersey Law Journal (via 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."


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» Corzine vetoes unlimited noneconomic damages from Overlawyered
Who says we never praise Democrats? Via Scheuerman, New Jersey's Democratic governor Jon Corzine has vetoed a law that would have created unlimited noneconomic damages in wrongful death cases:"[U]nlimited damages … could have a significant... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 16, 2008 5:06:18 AM


In other words, the Governor does not trust jurors to make such decisions, does not trust trial judges to review those decisions, and does not trust appellate judges to review the decisions of jurors and trial judges. He (presumably) trusts them enough to give them the right to vote on who should serve the state as Governor, but not the opportunity to weigh in on the monetary value of a life of a human being (except pure economic loss).

Posted by: John Day | Jan 18, 2008 4:52:10 AM

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