Hon. Maria Marinari Sypek (Ret.), a former Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey for 20 years, presided over dockets which were inclusive of the following Courts: Civil, Chancery (business court, probate court, and foreclosure court), Family, and Criminal. She has gained the respect of the bar, litigants, and the administrative arm of the Court, having served as the Presiding Judge in Chancery, Family, and Criminal Parts. Judge Sypek has resolved thousands of cases in a variety of practice areas by trial and/or settlement. Judge Sypek’s broad spectrum of knowledge and experience, as reflected in these assignments, has convinced the parties to the various disputes she has handled to place their confidence in her ability to fairly resolve their matters.
ADR Experience and Qualifications
Judge Sypek has presided over 600 trials in her career and has resolved, by decision or amicable settlement, thousands of issues in each of the above courts, including the following areas:
- Business/Commercial: Stockholder derivative, stockholder class action; corporate, commercial litigation; interfamily business disputes; professional corporate/partnership separations and withdrawals; foreclosure (residential and commercial); violation of non-compete agreements; corporate breach of fiduciary duties claims
- Civil Rights: Prisoner class action by women inmates seeking equal protection rights when confined to all male prison; prisoner rights cases involving cruel and unusual punishment claims; prisoners’ claims of failures to provide adequate medical treatment; racial discrimination claims against nursing home by employee; gender discrimination claim by prison guard against administration; sexual harassment claims by deputy attorney general by her superiors
- Class Action: Various cases involving claims of irregularity in stock offerings; claims against national drug store chain for charging general members of the public higher prices for the same medications sold to insured or government supplemented customers without disclosing same in the face of advertising that its pharmacy offered the lowest competitive prices
- Employment: Various collective bargaining issues raised in context of arbitration award appeals, (e.g., overtime, vacation, sick time issues); whistleblower, discrimination, sexual harassment, and wrongful termination claims including claims of discrimination based on plaintiffs’ disabilities -- one against the state and another by a professor against the college-employer
- Environmental: Various cases involving clean-up issues, (e.g. state seeking determination of responsibility of owner of various gas stations for contamination of local water sources)
- Estate/Probate/Trusts: Litigated and settled various types of will contests including undue influence; testamentary capacity; lost wills; and determination of quality and intent of holographic wills, claims against caregiver, trustees and executors for breach of fiduciary responsibility; issues involving determination of incapacitation; resolution of financial issues for incapacitated individuals; estates involving wrongful death claims and distributions of assets from personal injury actions; determination of fees for fiduciaries and attorneys; special medical guardianships
- Family Law/Marital Dissolution: Divorce; annulment; domestic violence disputes; equitable distribution; child custody/visitation; modification of property settlement agreements; paternity; juvenile delinquency; physical, sexual, emotional abuse of minors; termination of parental rights; grandparent visitation/custody issues; adoption
- Government/Public Policy: Dispute between state and art society over management of public historic park facilities and property; challenge that parole boards’ practices denied parolees due process rights
- Health Care: Order to show cause filed by Commissioner of Human Services why a series of nursing/rehabilitation facilities should not be ordered to close due to mismanagement claims; challenge to hospital’s responsibility to report certain issues to Board of Medical Examiners regarding physician’s actions
- Insurance/Reinsurance: Coverage issues; bad faith claims; fire loss coverage issues
- Personal Injury/Torts: Tried and settled numerous automobile negligence cases; significant injury railroad cases; product liability cases involving design defects of air bags and construction vehicles; slip and fall; construction site injuries; wrongful death actions; sexual assault and abuse by clergy
- Professional Liability: Legal malpractice claims involving real estate transactions; medical malpractice for failure to diagnose; claims of surgical medical negligence resulting in patient’s death
- Real Estate: Landlord/tenants disputes; easement challenges; disputes of private owners with builders and architects; homeowner’s association and town’s challenge to developer’s failure to complete project including retention basin, trees, and streets; foreclosures; mortgage priorities; specific performance; appointment of receiver for large commercial office park and apartment complexes
- Robertson v. Princeton University et al., Complex case involving plaintiffs’ claims that private endowments were being inappropriately applied to purposes other than as intended by donors. Case had potential claims involving hundreds of millions of dollars of donor funds. The matter resolved by settlement between the parties but received national attention due to import to educational institutions and other non-profit organizations.
- Steven M. Goldman, Commissioner of the Department of Banking and Insurance of New Jersey v. Consumer First Insurance, granted order to show cause with temporary restraints ordering rehabilitation of. Ultimately, order of liquidation entered July 21, 2009.
- U.S. Bank National Association as Trustee Residential Funding Company, LLC v. Hylton et al., reported decision analyzing equitable subrogation issues to establish priority among competing mortgage lenders.
- L.C. v. New Jersey State Parole Board, order to show cause seeking injunctive relief to bar the parole board from requiring plaintiff to submit to a polygraph test and answer a sexual history questionnaire in violation of due process rights. Injunctive relief granted based on deficiencies found in the parole boards procedures.
- Jane Doe M.D. v. ABC Hospital, NJ Board of Medical Examiners, order to show cause seeking injunctive relief barring the Board of Medical Examiners from posting the physician on the Medical Board website as having resigned from the hospital while under investigation.
- Plaintiff claim that the New Jersey Attorney General’s office should be held responsible for sexual harassment behaviors of plaintiff’s immediate and other supervisory personnel. Claims of wrongful discharge also made. Jury verdict concluded case in favor of plaintiff against her immediate supervisor. Court was asked to award counsel fees, including a lodestar application.
- I/M/O Liquidation of Eagle Insurance Company, addressed proof of claim and other post-trial issues in the liquidation matter after trial had been presided over by previous Judge and affirmed by Appellate Division.
- Class action by stockholders of a medical development corporation against the corporation, members of the board of directors, and a third-party national medical research and development company for injunctive relief and damages for breach of fiduciary duty and violation of other state laws claiming alleged unfair sales processes to acquire outstanding shares of the corporation.
- A New Jersey medical society sought injunctive relief from major health insurance company’s decision to establish a privileging program to deny participating medical service provider reimbursement for certain radiological testing performed on “covered” patients.
- Plaintiff, an exceptional mathematics PhD candidate, sought pecuniary and economic damages in a personal injury automobile negligence action for significant brain injury resulting in cognitive losses and depression such that plaintiff was unable to perform beyond elementary levels of mathematics.
- Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS
- While on the New Jersey bench, Judge Sypek chaired the Court’s Bail Forfeiture Committee and the Juvenile Court Subcommittee. She also served on the following Court committees: Civil Practice, Criminal Practice, Children in Court, Civil Jury Charge, Education, and American Disability Act
- Supreme Court Appointment as Wiretap/Communication Data Warrant Judge for Mercer, Burlington, Somerset, Warren, and Hunterdon Counties, requiring extensive knowledge of technologies of various communication devices and their providers
- Conducted programs on trial advocacy, appellate/motion oral argument, foreclosure/bankruptcy, neo-natal malpractice, and probate Chancery issues for attorneys
- Program panelist, New Jersey Judges’ Judicial College, speaking on various criminal matters
- Formulated Foreclosure Mediation Program for Mercer County Vicinage as part of the statewide NJ Supreme Court initiative
- Secretary, District VII Fee Arbitration Committee
- Appointed Arbitrator by U.S. Federal District Court of New Jersey
- Homeland Security Judge for Mercer Vicinage, 2008-2010
- Member, Mercer County Bar Association and appointed to Professional Practice Committee as the judicial representative
- Member, New Jersey State Bar Association
- Judge, New Jersey Superior Court, 1990-2010
- Presiding Judge of Chancery, 2008-2010
- Presiding Judge of Family, 2007-2008
- Presiding Judge of Criminal, 2002-2007
- Associate and Partner, Stockman, O’Donnell & Sypek, P.A., 1974-1990
- J.D., cum laude, Seton Hall Law School, NJ, 1974 (Member of Seton Hall Law Review), “American Judicature Society Award” recipient
- B.A. (Political Science), Rosemont College, Rosemont, PA, 1971
- “… Be assured that in any mediation with Judge Sypek, counsel and their clients, and their positions will all receive deeply respectful treatment, careful consideration of their claims, as well as a full opportunity for all sides to be heard. Perhaps most importantly, Judge Sypek’s personal warmth creates an atmosphere in which hostilities are reduced and the parties feel comfortable and thus more inclined to achieve an amicable resolution.”
– Law Firm Attorney
- Civil Rights
- Class Action
- Family Law
- Governmental/Public Agency
- Health Care
- Personal Injury/Torts
- Professional Liability
- Real Property
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