Chief Justice Zazzali's career reveals a dedication to public service and an unyielding sympathy for the disadvantaged. Accordingly, this Tribute examines his impact on New Jersey civil law and seeks to honor both the man and his jurisprudence. Although his tenure on the Supreme Court of New Jersey lasted only seven years, and his time as Chief Justice only nine months, his impact was meaningful. His clear and accessible opinions consistently protected the state's children from myriad harms including negligent educators, harassing classmates, and tortfeasing businesses. In the area of tort law, Chief Justice Zazzali was willing to incrementally expand the common law to account for evolving norms and provide injured plaintiffs with avenues for redress when appropriate. In addition, when addressing worker's rights, Chief Justice Zazzali, the son of a labor lawyer and a labor lawyer himself, never forgot the plight of the worker. Finally, in the corporate law context, the Chief Justice, in a practical fashion, generally sought to level the playing field for aggrieved investors, consumers, and property owners seeking redress against corporate entities and municipalities. In short, Chief Justice Zazzali's civil jurisprudence reflects his sympathy for the "little guy." By taking care of the Garden State's underdogs, Chief Justice Zazzali was more than a caretaker.
Gregory L. Acquaviva, Jonathan L. Marshfield & David Stauss A Tribute to Chief Justice James R. Zazzali: More than a 'Caretaker', 59 Rutgers L. Rev. 667 (2007)