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For immediate release: Dec. 27, 2005
For further information contact: Michelle Perone 609-292-8471

Courts Announce New Service for "Lemon Law" Litigants

The Civil Division has enhanced its services with a new program for resolving lemon law cases, announced Jane Castner, assistant director of civil practice for the New Jersey courts.

The Lemon Law Pilot Program, which will begin on Jan. 1, 2006, will allow the parties in lemon law cases under N.J.S.A. 56:12-29 to choose which form of complementary dispute resolution (CDR) they want to use to resolve their dispute.

"By offering the parties a choice between mediation, non-binding arbitration, or voluntary binding arbitration, the program will accommodate the unique needs of each case and the preferences of the parties involved," said Ms. Castner.

In mediation, a neutral mediator with expertise in lemon law cases facilitates negotiations between the parties in order to reach a mutually acceptable settlement. In arbitration, the dispute is heard by either one or two experienced arbitrators who then make a non-binding decision, usually on the same day the case is heard. In voluntary binding arbitration, the parties sign a written agreement to abide by the decision of a two-member arbitration panel. A retired Superior Court judge also hears the case, but only becomes involved if the arbitrators do not agree. A booklet describing each of the types of dispute resolution and the situations for which they may be appropriate is available on the Judiciary Web site at njcourtsonline.com or in hard copy by calling 609-292-8471.

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