Senators Warren and Cotton Misled by Misleading Report on Broker Check

Posted in Business & Corporate, Securities Compliance & Arbitration

Two US Senators recently demanded that FINRA explain how it plans to minimize the high rate of brokers who are involved in criminal activity or have been the subject of customer complaints.

Clearly Senators Warren and Cotton are not familiar with how the FINRA U-4 and U-5 process works. In addition, they are probably not overly familiar with the history of federal securities laws. As a brief background, the federal securities laws have been built on and continue to operate on the theory that “sunlight is the greatest disinfectant.” The laws have been built and we continue to operate under a fair market where people are free to make their own informed decisions. Senators Warren and Cotton should look past this misleading data and understand some common realities.

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U.S. Senate Committee on Finance Hearing Discusses Combatting the Counterfeiting Industry

Posted in Stark News

On Wednesday, May 11, 2016, the United States Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing on the oversight of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. Amongst several other subjects, the hearing discussed the ongoing efforts to dismantle the extremely costly counterfeiting industry. Attorneys across the country have been working tirelessly to protect and defend companies against copyright infringement from perpetrators who are typically located on the other side of the globe. One such attorney is Stark & Stark Shareholder Craig S. Hilliard, who has spent the past several years defending businesses in the bridal and wedding industry against these same counterfeiters.

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Uniform Federal Protection for Trade Secrets Under the Newly Passed Defend Trade Secrets Act Of 2016

Posted in Intellectual Property

Trade secrets, amorphously defined as any confidential business information which gives an enterprise a competitive edge, have not had much federal protection as compared to other intellectual property vehicles such as copyrights, trademarks and patents. Traditionally, trade secret misappropriation cases have been litigated in state court using state law. Even though the majority of states have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“UTSA”), there are still notable differences among the various version of the UTSA implemented by the individual states. This has resulted in inconsistent and sometimes contradictory decisions regarding what a state court considers a “trade secret,” what constitutes “misappropriation” of a trade secret, and what the proper recourse is for a proven misappropriation.

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Distribution of Personal Injury Proceeds to Heirs of a Decedent’s Estate

Posted in Probate Litigation

In general, if there is a personal injury action concerning the death of the Decedent it is typical that two types of claims are asserted in this action. The first claim is typically a wrongful death claim, and the second claim may be a survivorship claim. In general, the survivorship claim is distributed in accordance with the Decedent’s Last Will and Testament. Thus, the proceeds from the settlement or judgment are typically paid to the beneficiaries of the Decedent’s Estate in the percentage set forth under the Last Will and Testament. That is because the survivorship claim is deemed to be property of the Decedent’s Estate. The other claim which is brought, the wrongful death claim is not distributed in the same fashion to heirs of the Estate.

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Stark & Stark Sponsors the 2016 Central New Jersey Kidney Walk

Posted in Stark Events, Stark News

Stark & Stark is pleased to sponsor the 2016 Central New Jersey Kidney Walk.  This year the walk will take place on May 22, 2016 in Mercer County Park in West Windsor Township.  Check-in time for the event is 8:30 a.m.   Stark & Stark attorneys Joseph Lemkin and Rachel Stark will be participating in the walk with a client-supported team.

The Kidney Walk is held nationwide every year to raise awareness and funds to fight kidney disease.  Donations are used for community screenings, patient services and education on kidney conditions, diseases, and cures. Eighty percent (80%) of all funds raised are directed to these programs.  The fundraising goal this year is $120,000.  Signing up to join a team or as an individual walker is simple and free.   Volunteers are appreciated as well—for more information contact mary.sullivan@kidney.org or sign up online.

Say What You Mean – 3 Easy Steps to Avoid Ambiguous Agreements

Posted in Commercial, Retail & Industrial Real Estate

Have you ever read a confusing contract and scratched your head? Whether it is a lease, operating agreement, or other contract, it is imperative to understand what you want. It is also important to negotiate and draft agreements quickly to avoid losing opportunities. Failure to clearly say what you mean can result in unexpected costs, disputes and lawsuits.

  1. Avoid Ambiguous Words

Black’s Law Dictionary states that language in a contract is “ambiguous” when it is reasonably capable of being understood in more than one sense. An easy tip is to avoid ambiguous words. However, this can be a challenge, since even words that seem clear to you, may not be clear to others.

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Your No-Pet Building May Have to Allow Dogs, Cats, and Other Animals

Posted in Community Associations

Community associations in New Jersey which have pet restrictions may need to permit a disabled resident to maintain an animal in his or her unit depending on needs. This rule could even apply to a visiting guest who is disabled.

Most people understand that the blind are entitled to use a guide dog wherever they go. However, there are other types of animals that also assist individuals with different types of disabilities and these also must be allowed despite any community pet restrictions. This could range from a monkey which performs tasks for a person with a spinal cord injury to a cat that provides emotional support to an individual with PTSD. Even if your association prohibits pets (or has weight or size restrictions for pets) they may be required to permit such animals for disabled residents or guests.

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Michael G. Donahue, III, Esq. Elected Managing Shareholder of Stark & Stark

Posted in Stark News

Stark & Stark is pleased to announce the election of Michael G. Donahue, III, Esq. as Managing Shareholder of the firm, effective May 1, 2016.  In this new leadership role, Mr. Donahue will oversee the day-to-day operations and long-term strategic planning of the firm.  His election to Managing Shareholder coincides with his upcoming June installation as President of the New Jersey Association for Justice (NJAJ) for the 2016-2017 term, where he also serves as co-chair of NJAJ’s Amicus Curiae Committee.

Mr. Donahue, who has been with the firm since 1995, is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney and focuses his practice on products liability and serious personal injury litigation. He is a prolific legal presenter, a member of several New Jersey-based law associations, and very active in area charitable and philanthropic organizations, including Boheme Opera New Jersey, the Trenton Area YMCA, the Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra, and Theater Exile in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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How Community Associations Can Collect on Judgments by Rent Levy

Posted in Community Associations

Once association counsel obtains a personal Judgment against the unit owner for failure to pay maintenance fees, late fees, attorneys’ fees and costs, and other charges, we look for ways to collect on the Judgment. If delinquent unit owner rents his unit, one method of collecting on the Judgment is by levying the rental income.

The process starts by association counsel requesting tenant information from management and the board; we need information such as the names of the tenants, copies of any leases management may have on file, license plate numbers of the vehicles driven by the tenants, etc. Once we obtain this information, we file an Execution against Goods and Chattels. A judge will review and sign the Execution against Goods and Chattels, authorizing a Court officer to levy the rent in an amount up to the Judgment amount, plus Court officer commissions and other Court costs. Once the Order is signed, the case is assigned to a Court officer. The Court officer will then serve the tenant with the Execution against Goods and Chattels, which mandates that the tenant must pay his/her rent to the Court Officer, rather than to the delinquent unit owner.

At that point, the tenant will pay the rent to the Court Officer. The Court officer will notify association counsel that the rents have been levied. Association counsel then files a Motion to turn over funds that were levied. The Motion places the unit owner on notice that his/her rental income is about to be turned over to the association.

Once the Order to turnover funds is entered, it is served upon the Court officer, who will then forward the monies to association counsel. This process continues until the Judgment amount, plus court officer commissions and court costs are satisfied.