Toys “R” Us Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

Posted in Shopping Center and Retail Development

Wayne, NJ-based Toys “R” Us filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond) on Monday (Case no. 17-34665). Toys “R” Us operates more than 1,600 locations for both Toy “R” Us and Babies “R” Us and employs approximately 64,000 people. The chain is seeking borrow money in order to pay suppliers by restructuring $5 billion in long-term debt. The company noted that the approaching holiday shopping season accounts for 40% of its net sales.

Prior to the filing, almost all the company’s vendors sought cash in advance before shipping products, forcing Toys “R” Us to raise $1 billion for suppliers. The company’s debt is attributed to a $6.6 billion buyout in 2005 led by KKR & Co. LP, Bain Capital LP and Vornado Realty Trust.

If you are a landlord or trade creditor of Toys “R” Us, it is important to know your rights now. Stark & Stark’s Shopping Center and Retail Development Group can help.

Our bankruptcy attorneys regularly represent landlords and trade creditors throughout the country, including recently in the Eastern District of Virginia, Eastern District of Missouri, District of New Jersey, Southern District of New York, District of Delaware, District of Minnesota and the Western and Eastern Districts of Pennsylvania regarding a variety of issues. Most recently, our Group has represented landlords and trade creditors in the Payless, Gymboree, Eastern Outfitters (EMS Part 2), EMS, Golfsmith, RadioShack, General Wireless (RadioShack 2), Gander Mountain, A&P, Joyce Leslie, rue21, Central Grocers and Sports Authority chapter 11 bankruptcy cases.

For more information on how Stark & Stark can assist you, please contact either Tom Onder at (609)219-7458 or tonder@stark-stark.com or Joe Lemkin at (609)791-7022 or jlemkin@stark-stark.com.

Tri-Parenting Arrangements and Custody

Posted in Divorce & Family Law

Changing American Families

Changing social norms and biological advances in reproductive technology have changed the face of the family, in turn creating legal consequences and implications.

Families formed by non-traditional marriages, same-sex couples, and individuals intending to parent alone may use assisted reproductive technology. Assisted reproductive technology and adoption can help create families who may not be biologically related.

Tri-Parenting Arrangements – D.G. and S.H. v. K.S.

One example is a tri-parenting arrangement. In D.G. and S.H. v. K.S., the court addressed issues of custody, relocation, and child support between a same-sex married couple and their female friend. The two men – D.G and his husband, S.H – and their friend, K.S., agreed to conceive and jointly raise a child in a tri-parenting arrangement. The parties agreed to use D.G.’s sperm and K.S.’s egg to conceive the child, and the child was given S.H.’s last name. S.H. would not be biologically related to the child. The parties went to parenting classes and prepared their homes with the intent that the child would reside with all three parents.

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Avoiding Charity Scams in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey

Posted in Consumer Fraud, Stark News

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey and the incredible devastation wrought across the State of Texas, many Americans want to do what they can to help. Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous individuals who will seek to personally profit from the generosity of their neighbors.

The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that over $20 million was lost to charity scammers after Hurricane Katrina, and this disaster has the potential to cause just as much harm. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have both issued warnings about fake charity scams that are emerging, and are urging Americans to only reach out to recognized charitable organizations.

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Can Anything Be Done to Stop the PennEast Pipeline?

Posted in Condemnation & Eminent Domain

What is the status of the PennEast Pipeline project?

With the recent confirmation of two new commissioners, a quorum has been restored in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). This likely means that FERC will soon begin addressing the approval of natural gas pipeline projects, including the PennEast Pipeline.

The PennEast Pipeline project received its final environmental impact statement from FERC in April 2017.

In the next step in the approval process, FERC will decide whether to issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity under Section 7 of the federal Natural Gas Act. Once a Certificate is issued, as is probable, FERC will convey the power of eminent domain to the PennEast Pipeline project owners. PennEast will then use the power of eminent domain to take private property to construct the pipeline along a right-of-way approved by FERC.

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Addressing Harassment Issues in Community Associations

Posted in Community Associations

Community Association Board of Directors Powers:

As is well understood, Community Association Boards are elected to manage the property, affairs, and business of the Association. The Board has the power to enforce obligations of the unit owners and do what is necessary and proper for the management of the community. This includes enforcing the Association’s Governing Documents. If a violation occurs, the Board generally has the power to assess penalties.

Typical violations concern parking issues, storage of property in common areas, failure to comply with fireplace and dryer vent cleaning requirements, violation of pet restrictions, and similar issues.

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New Standard for Child Relocation Applications in New Jersey

Posted in Divorce & Family Law

Baures v. Lewis Standard for Relocation

For just over 16 years, Baures v. Lewis was the standard in New Jersey for allowing a parent to permanently relocate out-of-state with a child against the other parent’s wishes. N.J.S.A. 9:2-2 provides that a parent seeking to relocate and remove a child from New Jersey without the other parent’s consent must show “cause.”

Pursuant to Baures v. Lewis, a parent designated as the Parent of Primary Residence (PPR) could show cause to relocate the children out of state by: 1) demonstrating a good-faith reason for the move, and 2) that the move would “not be inimical to the child’s interests.” The New Jersey Supreme Court has now abandoned that standard in favor of a best interest of the child standard.

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A Board of Trustees May Now Amend the By-Laws Without a Vote of the Unit Owners

Posted in Community Associations

On July 13, 2017, a new law was enacted in New Jersey amending the Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act (PREDFDA). PREDFDA governs homeowners associations, condominium associations, and co-ops.

The new PREDFDA provisions apply to trustee elections and certain by-laws amendment procedures. They also permit an association’s board of trustees to amend the association’s by-laws without a vote of the unit owners. This may be very helpful to an association that needs by-laws amendments to operate more efficiently but cannot get apathetic unit owners to vote.

There are two circumstances in which a community association board may amend the by-laws without the majority vote or procedures required by the by-laws: Continue Reading

New By-Laws Amendment Procedures Mandated by PREDFDA

Posted in Community Associations

On July 13, 2017, a new law was enacted in New Jersey amending the Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act (PREDFDA). While the new law was created in reaction to litigation involving a community called the Radburn Association, which lacked by-laws that mandated fair and open trustee elections, it also includes provisions relating to amendments of the by-laws which will apply to all community associations.

Here is what you should know about these by-laws amendment provisions which are effective immediately:

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New Trustee Election Procedures Mandated by PREDFDA

Posted in Community Associations

On July 13, 2017, a new law was enacted in New Jersey amending the Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act (PREDFDA). While primarily governing the development of community associations (homeowners associations, condominium associations, and co-ops) PREDFDA also has many requirements relating to their operation and governance.

The new amendments to PREDFDA were created in reaction to litigation involving a community called the Radburn Association, which lacked by-laws that mandated fair and open trustee elections. However, the amendments will also apply to community associations which do have by-laws with seemingly-sufficient election procedures, and that may be a surprise to many community association board members and managers. A few of these important provisions which relate to board elections are summarized below.

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Amazon Isn’t Killing All the Shopping Centers, Just Like Video Didn’t Kill All the Radio Stars

Posted in Shopping Center and Retail Development

Thirty six years ago today, MTV was launched. The song by the The Buggles “Video Killed the Radio Star” was the first video played. Non-video, radio artists, like Christopher Cross (remember “Sailing?”), suffered, by not being ready for TV. Yet, how many people today actually think about a singer’s video and not their song? Heck, when was the last time you saw a video on MTV?

Just like MTV didn’t really kill all the radio stars, Amazon, demographic changes, and consumer tastes are not killing all the shopping centers and malls. Rather, these developments are changing the way we use and see the shopping center and mall experience.

True, there are a number of so-called “dead” centers. At one time, these were popular (just like Christopher Cross), anchored by Sears, JCPenney, or some other big box store that drew traffic. The structure, zoning, and high traffic areas with good visibility to the community still exist. There is just no draw… no “MTV” … to bring people in. This presents opportunities for developers to resurrect “dead” centers.

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