Edwin F. Chociey, Jr. maintains a diverse commercial litigation practice. He frequently litigates in the areas of trade secrets, restrictive covenants and unfair competition. He also litigates in employment, insurance, healthcare, intellectual property, construction, utilities, products liability and other matters. He manages the Firm’s New York City office.
Ed believes that preparation and attention to detail are essential components of effectively representing his clients. That was the case when representing New Jersey Natural Gas Company in a matter presenting legal issues of first impression in New Jersey. Forty-seven plaintiff homeowners asserted that NJNG and Jersey Central Power & Light had negligently failed to preemptively suspend, respectively, gas and electric service before Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. The plaintiffs’ houses in Brick Township’s Camp Osborn neighborhood were destroyed by fires during the Superstorm. They alleged that the utilities’ negligent failure to preemptively suspend utility service caused or contributed to the fires.
The Superior Court originally referred the plaintiffs’ complaints to the Board of Public Utilities to determine whether New Jersey statute or regulation or the utilities’ tariffs with the BPU required them to proactively suspend service before Superstorm Sandy. An Administrative Law Judge and the BPU determined that the utilities did not owe a duty of preemptive suspension to the homeowners. After the BPU returned the matter to the Superior Court, we moved for summary judgment before discovery. We argued that the Court should apply the BPU’s findings as to the lack of a statutory, regulatory or tariff-based duty, and also determine that NJNG did not owe plaintiffs’ requested duty as a matter of common law. After extensive briefing and two lengthy oral arguments, the Ocean County Law Division granted summary judgment. The Appellate Division affirmed. The New Jersey Supreme Court denied the plaintiffs’ petition for certification.
Ed also represented Cooper University Hospital and Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in a highly public challenge to a human subject research study. Pursuant to the study, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services had granted certificates of need to certain hospitals, which lacked on-site cardiac surgery backup, to perform elective angioplasties. The controversial practice of permitting elective angioplasties to be performed at such hospitals was the subject of a research study that contravened American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology guidelines. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the Department had illegally adopted the regulations pursuant to which the certificates of need were granted, and therefore were invalid.
Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.
Ed’s other representations have included the following:
- Through the granting of a motion to dismiss by the District Court and affirmance by the Third Circuit, successfully defending a fertilizer manufacturer whose product had been used as an explosive by terrorists in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
- Successfully defending an automotive lift manufacturer in a design and warning defect product liability case brought by a mechanic, obtaining a no cause jury verdict at trial.
- Successfully defending jewelers who sought to open their own jewelry exchange, in simultaneous actions filed by their landlord in the Chancery Division for alleged violation of a non-competition covenant in their leases and in the Landlord/Tenant Part for eviction. We obtained the denial of the landlord’s preliminary injunction application after extensive expedited discovery in the former, and dismissal of all claims at trial in the latter.
- In perhaps the first case in the country involving judicial review of a physician challenge to a hospital’s use of an exclusive agreement for medical oncology services, obtaining summary judgment in the Chancery Division, and the Appellate Division’s affirmance, in favor of Northwest Covenant Medical Center (now known as Saint Clare’s Hospital). We thereby established an important precedent in New Jersey’s exclusive contract jurisprudence.
- Successfully defending Northwest Covenant in the Chancery, Law and Appellate Divisions in multiple lawsuits by anesthesiologists challenging the hospital’s use of an exclusive contract to provide anesthesia services.
- Successfully defending an insurance claim adjusting firm in an arbitration filed by an insurer, which sought millions of dollars in damages. The insurer also sought declaratory relief requiring the adjusting firm to continue to service and to pay certain law firms to defend, without compensation from the insurer, all claims remaining after the insurer had terminated the parties’ claims service agreement. After a lengthy arbitration, the arbitrator ruled in our client’s favor, denied all of the insurer’s claims and awarded damages to our client on its counterclaim. As a result, we also obtained favorable results for our client in three lawsuits in New York filed by the law firms, which had sought payment from our client.
- In an action by a competitor of the insurance claim adjusting firm alleging that it had “raided” the competitor’s employees in three states, successfully defending our client in the Chancery Division, after exhaustive accelerated discovery, on the competitor’s preliminary injunction application by obtaining denial of all requests for relief. We also prevailed on our client’s behalf in the Appellate Division.
- On National Starch and Chemical Company’s behalf, obtaining summary judgment against an automotive seam filler compound’s seller in the District Court. The seller claimed that National Starch had breached the parties’ technology purchase and consulting agreement by failing to use reasonable efforts to promote and market the compound after purchasing it. The Third Court affirmed.
- In the District Court, obtaining summary judgment in McKesson Corp.’s favor in an antitrust action by a pharmacy claiming that McKesson and other pharmaceutical distributors had conspired to limit the credit extended to the pharmacy.
- Obtaining summary judgment in the Southern District of New York for a defendant accused of exercising undue influence over a mentally incapacitated person to cause him to change his beneficiary designations on his multimillion dollar financial accounts.
- On the basis of the doctrine of comity, obtaining the Law Division’s dismissal of a later-filed attorney malpractice action in New Jersey against our client, a law firm. Our client had previously filed an action in New York to recover unpaid fees from its former client. The Appellate Division affirmed.
- Obtaining the dismissal with prejudice of multiple actions in lieu of prerogative writs filed by citizen groups, based on environmental and other grounds, challenging a developer’s construction of a large retail and office project in Mercer County.
- Obtaining a substantial judgment on defamation and tortious interference claims for a vascular surgeon wrongly denied hospital medical staff privileges.
- Successfully representing a large apartment complex owner before the Office of Administrative Law and the Board of Public Utilities in its action against a cable television and internet service provider. Our client initially obtained preliminary restraints against further major work by the provider. At the OAL trial, our client then obtained virtually all of the access conditions that it had requested pursuant to the New Jersey Cable Television Act, as well as the BPU’s adoption of the OAL’s rulings in its favor.
- Obtaining injunctive relief on behalf of Johnson & Johnson and Cordis Corporation against a competing medical device manufacturer and three sales representatives who had resigned from J&J/Cordis and joined the competitor in the same territories, located throughout the country, in which they had worked for J&J/Cordis. The District Court thereby upheld the salespersons’ non-compete and non-solicitation agreements.
Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.
For 15 years, Ed co-authored the Appellate Practice and Procedure volume of West Publishing’s New Jersey Practice Series with former Riker Danzig Partner Edward A. Zunz, Jr.
During law school, Ed served as an Articles Editor of the Seton Hall Law Review. He published articles concerning New Jersey’s “Fireman’s Rule”, 21 Seton Hall L. Rev. 961 (1991), and Title VII’s extraterritorial effect, 22 Seton Hall L. Rev. 91 (1991). He received the Seton Hall Law School Center for Social Justice Pro Bono Service Award for his work with the Essex County Public Defender’s Office. After law school, he served as the Law Clerk for the Hon. Freda L. Wolfson, U.S.M.J. (now Retired U.S. Chief District Judge) in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Areas of Emphasis
Trade Secrets, Restrictive Covenants and Unfair Competition
Products Liability Litigation
United States District Court, District of New Jersey
United States District Court, Southern District of New York
United States District Court, Eastern District of New York
United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D., summa cum laude, 1993
University of Pennsylvania, B.A., 1990
Advisory Board Member, Seton Hall University Law School's Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
Member, Fenerbahçe USA
Former Member, N.J. Supreme Court District XB Ethics Committee
Former Board Member, Jersey Battered Women’s Service
Former V.P. and Board Member, Morris Habitat for Humanity
Law Clerk, Hon. Freda L. Wolfson, U.S. Magistrate Judge (now Retired U.S. Chief District Judge), United States District Court, District of New Jersey, 1993-94
Rankings & Recognitions
Since 2015, Ed has been included in The Best Lawyers in America®, a peer review of U.S. lawyers, in the Healthcare Litigation and Commercial Litigation fields. In addition, Ed received the Best Lawyers in America® “Lawyer of the Year” award for Healthcare Litigation in 2019 and 2021 in the Newark region, an honor given annually to a single attorney in each practice area in each region.
Thomson Reuters has included Ed on the New Jersey “Super Lawyers” list for Business Litigation since 2009.
See Awards and Honors Methodology.
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Roudi, et al. v. JCP&L, et al., Docket no. OCN-L-2955-14 (Law Div. 2018), aff’d, Docket no. A-1505-18T1 (App. Div. 2020); Harvey, et al. v. JCP&L, et al., Docket no. OCN-L-3256-14 (Law Div. 2018), aff’d, Docket no. A-1513-18T1 (App. Div. 2020); Minutella, et al. v. JCP&L, et al., Docket no. OCN-L-1646-15 (Law Div. 2018), aff’d, Docket no. A-1516-18T1 (App. Div. 2020)
Belda v. Doerfler, et al., Case No. 14-cv-941(AJN) (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 30, 2015)
In the Matter of the Arbitration between Colonial Cooperative Insurance Company and Muehlbauer v. York Claims Service, Inc., 46 A.D.3d 1012, 846 N.Y.S.2d 813 (3rd Dept. 2007)
Colonial Cooperative Insurance Company and Muehlbauer v. York Claims Service, Inc., 2008 WL 5562121 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2008)
Cooper University Hospital and Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center v. Jacobs, 191 N.J. 125, 922 A.2d 731 (2007)
Pemaquid Underwriting Brokerage, Inc. v. Mutual Holdings (Bermuda) Ltd., 2003 WL 24089901 (D.N.J. 2003)
Tony Samaha, M.D., et al. v. Northwest Covenant Medical Center, Docket No. MRS-C-94-98 (Ch. Div. 1999), aff‘d, Docket No. A-0309-99T5 (App. Div. 2000)