New opinion — the author of the New Jersey Appellate Blog wins an appeal with an interesting procedural issue

Bohus v. — civil — reversal — Jordan

Bruce Greenberg of Lite, Depalma, Greenberg — the author of one of my favorite CA3-oriented blogs, New Jersey Appellate Blog, and an accomplished federal and state appellate lawyer — won an interesting Third Circuit civil appeal today.

The case arose out of some restaurant gift certificates sold online. Plaintiffs alleged the certificates violated various NJ state laws and filed a class-action lawsuit. In a prior appeal, CA3 certified to the New Jersey Supreme Court a question about whether a state law covered gift certificates, and the state court answered that it covered these gift certificates. But then, on remand, the district court ruled that the plaintiffs still lose because the state-court interpretation should not apply retroactively. Applying NJ retroactivity law, CA3 today reversed, holding that the state court’s certified answer applied to the named plaintiffs.

Readers of Greenberg’s blog will recall that this is the appeal where, after oral argument, the panel invited counsel to sidebar to shake the judges’ hands. (That’s similar to the practice in the Fourth Circuit, where the judges all come down from the bench afterwards and shake your hand at the counsel table.) That post, which was picked up on How Appealing, is here.

Joining Jordan were Chagares and Vanaskie. Greenberg argued for the plaintiffs, Michael McDonald of Gibbons argued for the defendants.