Trial by Jury Is Unavailable under New Jersey Spill Act

Title:
Trial by Jury Is Unavailable under New Jersey Spill Act
Practices:

The Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey, in GEI International Corp. v. St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co., et al., recently held that a party who sought contribution from other responsible parties at a contaminated site and a declaratory judgment against its insurance carriers was not entitled to a trial by jury. In upholding the trial court's decision, the court found that trial by jury is "inviolate only with respect to cases of action that were triable by jury at common law." The Appellate Division agreed with the lower court that "environmental cleanup litigation relative to the apportionment of remediation costs was unknown at common law." Further, the Court found that the Spill Act authorizes the court "to make an equitable determination without a jury trial."