The plaintiff has made numerous claims pursuant to Federal and State statutory law as well as New Jersey Common Law. The plaintiff has also made a demand for punitive damages for the statutory and common law violations alleged. New Jersey Law permits the plaintiff to recover up to $350,000 in punitive damages or five times compensatory damages, whichever is greater. Moreover, the plaintiff is entitled to punitive damages under the Fair Credit Reporting Act or the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Under any of these statutory schemes, including the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the plaintiff is entitled to attorneys’ fees and costs of the action. The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act’s rights and remedies are cumulative and in addition to any other claims that the plaintiff might have under either Federal or State Law. Therefore, if the plaintiff is successful under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act she would not be prohibited from collecting damages either Truth In Lending, Equal Credit Opportunity Act or the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Therefore, it is not unreasonable to assume that the plaintiff will be seeking an amount from $250,000 to $500,000, which requires a $3,000.00 fee for the initial session and $2,000.00 for each additional session. This would be in addition to any fees and costs which are charged by National Arbitration Forum for amendments, subpoenas, discovery orders, continuances and time waivers. Simply put, the fee structure associated with the National Arbitration Forum is excessive in light of the plaintiff’s salary. Assuming the plaintiff had no expenses, with her take home pay at $372.00 per week it would be unreasonable to assume that the plaintiff could proceed with the In-Person Participatory Hearing. Clearly, the fact that there are less expensive methods, document hearings, telephone participatory hearings and on-line participatory hearings, is of no consequence. Nonetheless, the fees for these hearings in the $250,000 to $500,000 range are excessive. A document hearing in this range is $5,000.00. A telephone participatory hearing in this range is $1,750.00 for the initial session and $1,250.00 for each additional session. The fee for the on-line participatory hearing is $2,500.00 for the initial session and $1,500.00 for each additional session. This is in addition to the $1,000.00 filing fee. This cannot be the effective vindication of the plaintiff’s rights as envisioned by the United States Supreme Court in Green Tree v. Randolph.