SENATE, No. 2316
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
INTRODUCED SEPTEMBER 30, 2010
Senator NICHOLAS P. SCUTARI
District 22 (Middlesex, Somerset and Union)
Senator GERALD CARDINALE
District 39 (Bergen)
Bars direct solicitation letters from licensed professionals to accident victims and other persons.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
As reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee on November 15, 2010, with amendments.
An Act concerning certain solicitations 1[by attorneys]1, amending P.L.1999, c.325 and supplementing Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. (New section) The Legislature finds and declares that, increasingly, certain attorneys are sending intrusive and unwarranted solicitation letters to victims of motor vehicle accidents, drivers who receive traffic tickets, and persons charged with offenses. The attorneys obtain these people’s names, addresses and other personal information through public information sources such as police reports and court records, and send the letters in an attempt to solicit business. The Legislature finds that this practice constitutes an abuse of our system of open public records, constitutes an invasion of these individuals’ privacy, and increases the public’s mistrust and suspicion of the legal profession.
2. (New section) a. No attorney shall send any written communication soliciting professional employment on the attorney’s own behalf to any person whose name, address or other personal information was obtained from a public record such as a police report, accident report or court record 1unless at least 30 days have passed since the incident resulting in such report or record1. This 1[subsection] section1 shall not apply to any solicitation through advertising which is not directed to a specific person. 1This section shall not apply if contact with the attorney was initiated by the person who is the subject of the public record.1
b. Violation of this section is a crime of the third degree.
3. Section 1 of P.L.1999, c.325 (C.2C:40A-4) is amended to read as follows:
1. a. No person shall solicit professional employment from an accident or disaster victim or an accident or disaster victim's relative concerning an action for personal injury or wrongful death involving that accident or disaster victim for a period of 30 days after the date on which the accident or disaster occurred.
b. Subsection a. of this section shall not apply if the accident or disaster victim, or his relative, as the case may be, had a previous professional business relationship with the professional 1or if the accident or disaster victim or his relative initiated the contact with the professional1.
c. Subsection a. of this section shall not apply to recommendations or referrals by past or present clients or patients, friends, relatives or other individuals relying on the reputation of the professional, provided the recommendation or referral is not made for value.
d. Subsection a. of this section shall not apply to any solicitation through advertising which is not directed to the victim or victims of a specific accident or disaster.
e. Subsection a. of this section shall not apply to emergency medical care.
f. For the purposes of this section:
"Professional employment" means services rendered by a 1[physician, chiropractor or other health care professional] person licensed, certified, or otherwise permitted by law or regulation to practice a profession or occupation regulated under Title 45 of the Revised Statutes1.
"Solicit" means to contact a person with a request or plea, which is made in person, by telephone 1[or], by1 other electronic medium1, or by any writing1.
g. A person who violates the provisions of this section, and who acts with intent to accept money or something of value for his services, shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree.
(cf: P.L.1999, c.325, s.1)
1[3.] 4.1 Section 2 of P.L. 1999, c.325 (C.2C:40A-5) is amended to read as follows:
2. In addition to any other sanction that may be imposed by the Supreme Court, an attorney who violates the Rules of Professional Conduct promulgated by the Supreme Court of New Jersey by contacting an accident or disaster victim or an accident or disaster victim's relative[, using means other than written communication,] to solicit professional employment on the attorney's own behalf, and who acts with intent to accept money or something of value for his services, shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree.
(cf: P.L.1999, c.325, s.2)
1[4.] 5.1 This act shall take effect immediately.