LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Ernest P. Fronzuto was sworn in as municipal court judge at the Jan. 22 Township Council meeting.
Mayor James Damiano previously appointed Fronzuto to complete a one-year term on the bench at the Jan. 9, 2017 Township Council meeting. Fronzuto replaced then interim municipal judge Toni Belford Damiano, who filled in for Municipal Judge G. Dolph Corradino after he was suspended in 2015 for a state investigation. Belford Damiano was appointed by then-Mayor Darlene Conti, and resigned in December 2016 when her son James was mayor-elect, to prevent the appearance of a potential conflict of interest. Corradino's term expired last month.
Fronzuto was sworn in by Superior Court Judge Raymond Reddin, with his wife Casey and his son Jack by his side. He is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a civil trial attorney. He founded his private practice, Fronzuto Law Group in 2006, which specializes in complex plaintiff civil litigation, product liability, medical malpractice and catastrophic injury matters.
He also served as municipal prosecutor in Woodland Park from 2002 to 2006. He is a member of the bar in the State of New Jersey and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. He is also a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association, New Jersey Association for Justice (formerly ATLA) and the Passaic County Bar Association.
He received his bachelor's degree from Susquehanna University and his Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall University School of Law. He frequently lectures and publishes in the areas of product liability, medical malpractice and trial advocacy.
Fronzuto was the attorney representing the Domalewski family of Wayne. He helped them win a $14.5 million lawsuit settlement against a metal bat manufacturer when their son Steven nearly died after being struck by a line drive while he was playing in a youth baseball game.
Reddin commended Damiano and council members for their appointment of Fronzuto and referred to the municipal court system as the most important courts in the state because "it's where the public has the greatest contact."
"It's important that all judicial appointments be wisely thought out, particularly in the municipal court, and to be a good judge you have to be fair, you have to be knowledgeable in the law, you have to have good temperament, and that's really all you need," Reddin further commented. "The added benefit is if you have someone that's a trial lawyer. He (Fronzuto) has all the qualities I mentioned. He's very fair, very respectful, knows the law, and I tell you he's an exceptionally fine trial lawyer."
Fronzuto commented after he was sworn in.
"I'm honored that Mayor Damiano and council have appointment me to this position," he said. "I'm flattered by the trust and confidence they have placed in me."
Corradino was first appointed municipal court judge back in 1993 and resigned last July. He is currently under a pending investigation on reported alleged misuse of drunk driving statewide funds. The money is earmarked for special court sessions pertaining to drunk driving cases and education.