Superior Court Judge Kay Walcott-Henderson has been named as the new presiding judge of the general equity division in Mercer County, a move that positions her to preside over one of the biggest civil lawsuits in state history.
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner named Walcott-Henderson on Thursday to replace Timothy Lydon, who resigned last week to become the executive director of the Senate Majority Office.
As presiding judge, Walcott-Henderson will decide which judge is assigned the hear a lawsuit filed by the New Jersey Attorney General against Credit Suisse, alleging that they offered more than $10 billion of residential mortgages while misrepresenting the risks of the investment.
This puts the non-tenured judge in the spotlight.
Walcott-Henderson could wind up hearing the case herself, since Mercer County only has one general equity judge. Either way, this will be her call.
After more than eight years of motions and conferences, Lydon had set the trial to begin on September 12. As of Wednesday, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of the Courts said that has not changed.
But it’s likely that the trial will get pushed back.
Walcott-Henderson, known as an incredibly smart lawyer, has been assigned to the family law division for three years and it’s not immediately clear if she will be ready to start a hugely complex trial in just four weeks. That will be her call.
Prior to her nomination to the Superior Court in 2016, Walcott-Henderson served as chief counsel to the Assembly Democrats under Speaker Joseph Robert and as first assistant counsel to Gov. Jon Corzine. Corzine appointed her to serve as a Workers’ Compensation Court Judge after he lost re-election in 2009.
In 2020, Walcott-Henderson made it to the short list for a seat on the New Jersey Supreme Court, but Gov. Phil Murphy chose to nominate Fabiana Pierre-Louis to the seat.