Flouting Mandatory Joinder Rule Draws Mixed Results in Consumer Fraud Case

May 23, 2011 – In The News
New Jersey Law Journal
A recent ruling brought up the use of New Jersey's controversial mandatory joinder rule that states under the Consumer Fraud Act, a party that is not properly notified of its potential liability in an original case cannot be sued by a settling defendant for contribution.

This rule became especially important in the recent case of Kent Motor Cars Inc. v. Reynolds and Reynolds. The original case started in 2002 after a customer purchased a vehicle from a subsidiary of Kent Motor Cars Inc. and sued them because the stipulations in small print were printed smaller than the statutes and regulations required.

In the original suit, the printer of the form, Reynolds and Reynolds, was not mentioned or notified as a potentially liable party. In other cases, besides those dealing with the Consumer Fraud Act, the defending party would have been able to sue Reynolds and Reynolds for contribution. Because of the act, the lawsuit brought upon Reynolds and Reynolds by Kent Motor Cars Inc. was dismissed.

Jeffrey Pollock, who represented Kent Motor Cars Inc. in the matter, said the "ruling clarifies what happens when there is concurrent litigation."