One of the most often asked questions about equitable distribution of marital assets is how a retirement asset is divided between spouses. The answer depends largely on the type of retirement account being divided and what rules are associated with the retirement account.

All retirement accounts are not alike. The first question that must be asked is what type of retirement account are you dealing with? Generally, retirement plans are one of two types: a defined contribution plan or a defined benefit plan.

Continue Reading Dividing Retirement Benefits in a Divorce

It is not uncommon for drafters of Wills to include a “no-contest clause” in a decedent’s Last Will and Testament. The purpose of the “no-contest clause” is to provide for the disinheritance of an heir to the estate should they challenge the validity of the decedent’s Last Will and Testament. While a “no-contest clause” could ultimately have this effect, it can likewise be defeated during a challenge to a Will. Further, if the litigation is settled before trial, there would typically be an agreement between the parties that the “no-contest clause” would not apply.

Continue Reading No-Contest Clause in a Will

Recently, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of Judge Thomas S. Zilly of the District Court of the Western District of Washington in favor of defendant John Doe, a retired police officer accused of illegally downloading and distributing adult content produced by Strike 3 Holdings LLC. [1] Agreeing with the district court’s finding that Strike 3 failed to prove its claim that the defendant pirated its adult films, the Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s order requiring Strike 3 to pay defendant John Doe $47,777 in costs and fees.

Continue Reading Retired Police Officer Prevails Against Adult Film Studio Strike 3 Holdings in Proving His Innocence in Copyright Infringement Suit

Suppose a party seeks to challenge a decedent’s last will and testament based upon claims of competency or the improper assertion of undue influence. In that case, this contestant may also seek to challenge the transfer of certain non-probate assets that could comprise either the majority or a substantial percentage of the decedent’s assets. The grounds for challenging such transfers may be identical to those pursued in a challenge to a last will and testament, however, may be subject to applicable statutes and different standards of proof that govern a challenge to a particular class of asset.

Continue Reading Challenging the Transfer of Non-Probate Assets

On March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the “Act”) into law. The Act is a $1.9 trillion economic relief package intended to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continue Reading American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Provides For Additional Cash Assistance and Supplemental Federal Unemployment Benefits

During a Will contest, there are several different ways that a party seeking to challenge the validity of a Will may attack the document. One of the most common ways is to challenge the decedent’s competency when he/she executed the Will. In essence, the challenge would be that the decedent was not mentally competent at the time he/she executed the last will and testament, and therefore, this document is invalid as a matter of law.

Continue Reading Invalidating a Will Due to Lack of Competency of the Decedent

Once an individual is appointed as an executor of an estate, they will have access to assets that belong to the estate. Some of these assets may involve liquid funds which the executor can utilize during the administration of the estate to complete this process. Some permissible uses would be retaining counsel to assist with administration, or using assets of the estate to pay any applicable taxes or expenses of the estate. Unfortunately, at times, the executor may improperly utilize estate assets for their benefit and not for the benefit of the estate or the beneficiaries of the same. Such misuse of estate funds by an executor would be a breach of the executor’s fiduciary duty.

Continue Reading Misuse of Estate Funds by Executor of an Estate

On January 13, 2021, the Supreme Court of New Jersey, in Branch v. Cream-O-Land Dairy, issued an important decision (available here) clarifying the scope of the so-called “good-faith defense” available to employers sued for violating the minimum wage and overtime compensation requirements of the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law (“NJWHL”). The Court’s opinion has significant implications for employers in New Jersey in terms of how they make certain compensation decisions and upon what authority employers can safely rely in ascertaining their legal obligations.

Continue Reading New Jersey Supreme Court Narrowly Construes “Good-Faith” Defense to Wage and Hour Claims

In our overstimulated environment with a plethora of brands, names, and marks, it is difficult for products to stand out. Some businesses, however, have managed to break through the noise by creating marks with lasting impressions on consumers. But there are limits, even for the most well-known brands such as Starbucks.

Continue Reading Survey Evidence Not Enough to Show Acquired Distinctiveness of Starbuck’s Green Dot on Coffee Cup

Many employees who are let go or terminated from employment don’t know what happens at work once they’re gone. Sometimes employees know or subsequently learn, whether through word of mouth, social media platforms such as LinkedIn, or the employer’s website, that they have been replaced. Sometimes their replacement is someone significantly younger, yet it is unclear exactly how old the replacement is. In a recent ruling, the Third Circuit has held the lack of knowledge doesn’t matter, at least not at the pleading stage of the litigation.

Continue Reading A “Significant Age Difference” Will Suffice to Advance an Age Discrimination Claim