BRIEFLY EXPLAIN THE RECENT NJ SUPREME COURT DECISION RELATED TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING OVERSIGHT.
After sixteen years without viable and constitutional regulations for Affordable Housing, the Supreme Court created new mechanisms to meet Affordable Housing goals. To really explain this issue, we need to go back for some history. In 1975 the Supreme Court said every municipality has an obligation to provide a reasonable opportunity for Affordable Housing. In other words, there needs to be a variety of choice in housing for residents and citizens of New Jersey at all income levels. In the eighties, the courts created a methodology to provide Builders’ Remedies, whereby builders who brought suit and established that municipalities engaged in exclusionary zoning would be granted the remedy of rezoning of their property for an inclusionary development, providing for a percentage of affordable housing within a market rate project. In response the legislature adopted the Fair Housing Act (FHA) whereby the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) was delegated as the authority to create and enforce regulations concerning affordable housing. Since 1999, COAH has failed to act in a responsible manner to create those regulations—we’ve been without constitutionally satisfactory regulations for sixteen (16) years.
As the dust settles on the legal battle between Apple and the F.B.I., businesses should take note of the many issues related to the privacy and confidentiality of electronically stored information. Though Apple arguably emerged victorious in refusing to create a backdoor for its security measures, the still unknown point of access utilized by the F.B.I. highlights the risk that electronically stored information is never truly secure. Data breaches at Sony, Home Depot, Target, and even within the federal government highlight this point.
Given their volume and value of data, businesses need to be particularly cognizant of the cyber-threats and nimble in response to cyber-attacks. However, it is not enough to simply recognize the threat posed by a cyber-attack. Businesses need to be prepared to act swiftly and effectively to prevent any further misappropriation or transmission of electronically stored information.
Congratulations to Stark & Stark Shareholder Scott Unger, who was appointed to the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law National Council. The National Council serves as the board of directors for the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.
The National Council provides constructive advice and plans to the law school, and bestows grants and awards to recognize the accomplishments of the graduating students. Current board members include an Ohio governor, an Ohio State Supreme Court Judge, as well as several federal judges. Once elected, a voting board member will have a term of five years, with a maximum of two terms.
Scott Unger is a Shareholder and a member of the firm’s Litigation Group, and he concentrates his practice on litigation arising out of business and commercial disputes. He also counsels corporations and their executives on various employment issues, such as workplace discrimination and wrongful discharge, and non-compete and confidentiality agreements. Additionally, Mr. Unger received B.A. from the Ohio State University and his juris doctor from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.
To learn more about the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law National Council and its current roster of members, please click here. To learn more about Scott Unger, please click here.
In a recent New Jersey Tax Court decision, ACP Partnership v. Garwood Borough, the court ruled that it will permit consideration of a property’s environmental contamination in deciding its true market value even though the property possesses a “value in use” to the tax payer. The case is significant because it rebuts the notion that a commercial property “in use” by the tax payer may only be assessed using “normal assessment techniques,” with no consideration given to environmental contamination in establishing its true market value.
The subject property in ACP Partnership is a multi-tenanted and multi-structured industrial and warehouse complex containing approximately 230,000 square feet of improvements. The tax payer leases the property to tenants for warehouse and industrial uses. The tax payer also occupies a small portion of the property for self-storage.
The bylaws of most community associations permit members to vote “in person” or “by proxy.” Voting “in person” means just what it sounds like: a member attends a meeting and casts their vote while physically in attendance. But what does voting “by proxy” mean? Black’s Law Dictionary defines a “proxy” as the written authorization given by one person to another so that the second person can act for the first.
Thus, when a member of a community association votes by proxy, they give written authorization for another person to vote for them. It may be tempting to take short cuts in this process, but if your members are voting by proxy, they must actually execute a proper proxy.
Once association counsel obtains a personal Judgment against a 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. One method of collecting on the Judgment is by garnishing the unit owner’s wages.
The process starts by conducting an employment search. Once we find that a unit owner is employed, we file a Notice of Application for Wage Execution, Order, Certification and Execution against Earnings pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 1673 and N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56. After a judge signs the Order allowing for the wage execution, the case is assigned to a Court officer. The Court officer then takes the Order and serves the unit owner’s employer with a copy of the Order. The Order has specific instructions to the employer mandating him/her to garnish the unit owner’s wages. In no event shall more than 10% of the unit owner’s gross salary be withheld.
The employer is ordered to deduct a certain amount from the earnings and to pay that sum over to the Court officer. Once the Court officer receives the monies, he/she forwards the check to association counsel, and this process continues until the Judgment amount, plus Court officer commissions, is paid in full.
Many times, once a unit owner notices that his/her wages are being garnished, they contact association counsel to pay off the Judgment amount, so that the association will put a stop on the wage garnishment process. Either way, we find the wage garnishment process to be an effective method of collecting on Judgments.
On the heels of the Joyce Leslie and Sports Authority Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings, another retailer just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and it appears that two (2) more retailers are preparing to file to reorganize.
PacSun, more formally known as Pacific Sunwear of California, Inc., just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this morning in the United States Bankruptcy Court for Delaware, docket # 16-10882. High debt forced the teen retailer of surf/beachwear to file. PacSun operates 600 stores and is expected to close a number of stores either after the big back to school or holiday season. It lists total assets of $298,853,000 and liabilities of $305,056,000 in its petition.
Stark & Stark would like to congratulate Shareholder Adam J. Siegelheim, Chair of the firm’s Franchise Practice, for being named by Franchise Times Magazine as a 2016 Legal Eagle. Mr. Siegelheim was even selected as a featured Legal Eagle.
Legal Eagles are selected each year from nominations by their clients and peers and are recognized as the top lawyers in franchising. This year’s selection focused on “around-the-clock” attorneys, who are always available for clients. When looking at this year’s list of Legal Eagles you will find “dedicated professionals who are available whenever their clients need them, steeped in knowledge about all things franchising – with plenty of interesting aspirations and outlets beyond the courtroom.”
For more information about this year’s Legal Eagle selections, please click here.
If you are the beneficiary of an Estate where a Decedent recently passed away, you will undoubtedly like to know when you will receive your bequest under the Decedent’s Last Will and Testament. What you should be aware of, however, is that there are a multitude of steps that must occur before distributions can be made under a Last Will and Testament.
The first necessary step is that the Decedent’s Will must be admitted to probate. This would be done by the named Executor in the Will, and thereafter, the Executor would be appointed by the Surrogate to serve as the Executor of the Estate. The next step would be for the Executor to marshal all available liquid assets of the Estate and deposit them into an Estate account, or simply discover the location of the assets if they exist in the form of stocks, bonds, or other investment vehicles. Once this has occurred, the Executor will typically prepare an informal accounting, which will be provided to the beneficiaries of the Estate.
Both during and after a divorce, one spouse may require financial support from the other; this financial support is known as alimony. Alimony allows the dependent spouse to maintain a lifestyle as close as possible to what the couple enjoyed during the marriage, at least until the dependent spouse is able to start supporting themselves.
In New Jersey, there are five types of alimony: