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NJ DEPARTMENT OF LABOR & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT: Limited Reopening of Workers’ Compensation Courts

Notice to the Bar

March 30, 2020

This notice announces additional statewide steps by the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation to address the ongoing public health crisis surrounding the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in New Jersey.

To slow the spread of the virus, after consulting with the Governor’s office, the N.J. Commissioner of Labor, the N.J. Department of Health, and in accordance with the recommendations of the CDC, all workers ’compensation court calendars were suspended from March 17, 2020 through April 3, 2020. Only emergent motions for Medical and Temporary Benefits filed electronically were heard by the Chief Judge, telephonically.

Litigants, attorneys, and witnesses who were scheduled to appear for a workers’ compensation matter from March 17, 2020 through April 3, 2020 should await notice of a rescheduled court date.

In accordance with Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107, which imposed strict limitations on the operations of “brick-and-mortar” businesses and required telecommuting to the greatest extent possible, all N.J. workers ’compensation courts will continue to be closed to the public and to non-essential court personnel until April 13, 2020.

In response to overwhelming requests from the Workers’ Compensation Bar to hold non-emergent matters electronically or by teleconference, as of April 6, 2020, the following Workers’ Compensation Judges shall be designated by the N.J. Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the N.J. Division of Workers’ Compensation as essential personnel and shall report to their home vicinages for the purpose of hearing as many Workers’ Compensation matters as possible by telephonic conferencing, including all emergent matters and the following non-emergent matters, pre-trial conferences, general motions for medical and temporary benefits, and settlements by affidavit:

  • Hon. Audrey Kernan, S.J., Atlantic City WC Courthouse
  • Hon. Arthur Marchand, A.S.J., Bridgeton WC Courthouse
  • Hon. Ingrid French, A.S.J., Camden WC Courthouse
  •  Hon. Lionel Simon III, A.S.J., Freehold WC Courthouse
  • Hon. Diana Ferriero, S.J., Hackensack WC Courthouse
  • Hon. Jill Fader, S.J., Jersey City WC Courthouse
  • Hon. Glenn Kaplan, S.J., Lebanon WC Courthouse
  • Hon. Michael Luther, S.J., Mt. Arlington WC Courthouse
  • Hon. George Geist, S.J., Mt. Holly WC Courthouse
  • Hon. Ashley Hutchinson, A.S.J., New Brunswick WC Courthouse
  • Hon. Philip Tornetta, A.S.J., Newark WC Courthouse
  • Hon. William Roca, S.J., Paterson WC Courthouse
  • Hon. Maria Del Valle Koch, S.J., Plainfield WC Courthouse
  • Hon. Eugene Mulvaney, S.J., Toms River WC Courthouse
  • Hon. David Puma, S.J., Trenton WC Courthouse

Our plan is to limit physical interactions in our workers’ compensation courts to the greatest extent possible and shift to the use of telephone conferencing, and if possible video conferencing for judges, attorneys, and litigants. There will be no in-person Workers’ Compensation Court proceedings (except for extremely limited emergent matters and certain ongoing motions for medical and temporary benefits and trials in which case social distancing will be enforced).

Court offices will remain closed for in-person submissions. Filings will continue to be accepted electronically through COURTS On-line.

Please contact each individual workers’ compensation court if you have questions about a scheduled hearing, motion, conference, or other matter by email, fax, or telephone.

The N.J. Division of Workers’ Compensation’s number one goal is to limit the exposure and spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus to court personnel, attorneys and their staff, litigants, witnesses, and members of the public at large.

We apologize for the inconvenience you may experience and we thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Hon. Russell Wojtenko, Jr.

Director and Chief Judge of Compensation

N.J. Department of Labor & Workforce Development

Division of Workers’ Compensation

Notice to Reopen WC Courts – 3.27.20.pdf