The New Jersey Supreme Court amended one rule and adopted another on the precedential status of unpublished Appellate Division cases reviewing those of the Tax Court.
In a Sept. 19 notice to the bar, Glenn A. Grant, administrative director of the courts, announced amendments to Rule 1:36-3 and new Rule 8:9-6. In that notice, Grant stated that the new and amended rules are meant to “codify the current and long-standing practice in which an unpublished Appellate Division opinion reviewing a published Tax Court opinion is, with the approval of the Chief Judge of the Appellate Division, published in the New Jersey Tax Court Reports.”
“The amendments to Rule 1:36-3 and new Rule 8:9-6 codify that limited precedential nature of those opinions,” according to Grant’s bar notice.
The amended rule, 1:36-3, states that “no unpublished opinion shall constitute binding precedent or be binding on any court,” “except unpublished appellate opinions that have been reported in the New Jersey Tax Court Reports or an authorized administrative law reporter.” The opinion is also excepted to the extent required by res judicata, collateral estoppel, the single controversy doctrine or any other similar principle of law, according to the amended rule.
“No unpublished opinion shall,” according to the amended rule, “be cited to any court by counsel unless the court and all other parties are served with a copy of the opinion and of all contrary unpublished opinions known to counsel.”
New rule, 8:9-6, deals with the publication of Tax Court opinions. The rule states that “opinions of the Tax Court approved for publication” by that court “shall be published in the New Jersey Tax Court Reports.” Appellate Division opinions reviewing published Tax Court opinions that are not published in the New Jersey Superior Court Reporter “shall be published in the New Jersey Tax Court Reports,” with the consent of the Appellate Division. If an opinion is published in the New Jersey Tax Court Reports, according to the new rule, it will be precedential in the Tax Court.
The amended rule and the new rule were adopted as of Sept. 12 by order of Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.