Today, Claire’s Stores, Inc., along with seven affiliates and subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Delaware (Case No. 18-10584). Claire’s is a well-known specialty retailer of teen and young women jewelry, accessories, and beauty products, as well as ear piercings at local malls, based in Cook County, Illinois.

Back in January 2018, I included them on my list of Retailers to Watch for a Bankruptcy Filing in 2018.

According to Court pleadings, the company negotiated a restructuring support agreement and plan term sheet with an ad hoc group of its first lien noteholders and is seeking approval of up to $135 million in DIP financing.

The company lists 92 stores to close, on top of the 100 that it closed last year. Still, Claire’s indicates that it intends to operate the remaining 1,600 Claire’s and Icing brand stores through a restructuring.

Continue Reading Teen Fashion Retailer Claire’s Files for Chapter 11 Protection

In general, the time to contest a Last Will and Testament is very short. An in-state resident who is aware of the notice of probate will have four months to challenge a Will from the time it is submitted to probate. On the other hand, an out of state resident would have six months to challenge a Last Will and Testament once it is admitted to probate.

Continue Reading Challenging a Previously Concealed Will

Does a private pipeline company have the right to file a lawsuit to take private property to build a gas pipeline?

Under the Natural Gas Act, a pipeline company can apply to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. If FERC issues the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and the pipeline company meets many other conditions, it can obtain the power take private property.

Continue Reading Frequently Asked Questions About Defending Eminent Domain Actions Filed by Pipeline Companies

After a person passes away, their assets are typically divided into probate assets, which are assets which pass through the Estate, and non-probate assets, which are assets which pass outside of the Estate.

Probate assets are those to which a beneficiary is not specified, and thus, the assets become part of the Decedent’s Estate.

Non-probate assets those in which a direct beneficiary is specified by the instrument itself, and therefore, these assets pass outside of the Estate.

Traditionally, an IRA, a joint bank account, and other investment vehicles are considered non-probate assets provided the beneficiary designation or survivorship designation is properly executed.

Continue Reading Payable on Death Designations for IRA and Non-IRA Accounts

Property managers are often tasked with leading a board or member meeting. These tips will help to keep the meeting on track and productive. Before doing anything else in preparation for the meeting — double check compliance with notice requirements. No notice = no meeting.

Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance – “The Five ‘P’s”

Preparation is the key to a successful meeting. Determine what type of meeting will be held – that is, a board or member meeting. Create a clear and concise agenda. Remind the board that it is your role to keep the meeting on track. Organization helps to start things off right and keep the meeting on the right track.

Continue Reading Tips to Help Property Managers Effectively Manage Meetings

It would be unusual for a large to medium scale construction project to be completed without the general contractor experiencing issues with at least some of its subcontractors or suppliers.

Under such circumstances, it is typical for back charges to be assessed by the general contractor against the subcontractor or supplier who failed to perform properly pursuant to the terms of their contract. If the possibility of litigation looms in the future concerning such issues, or even if it may not, it is suggested that the general contractor carefully document any potential back charges against the subcontractor or vendor.

Continue Reading Documenting Backcharges on Construction Projects

The New Jersey Public Recreational Bathing Facility Code, N.J.A.C. 8:26-1.1, et seq., (“Bathing Code”), has changed as of January 16, 2018 and all pools in community associations with three or more dwelling units will be impacted.

Some of these changes are minor and most community associations will have no difficulty adapting to them. Other changes will result in increased costs to pool vendors, which may be passed onto the association. A few of these new requirements will require substantial unexpected and unbudgeted costs to associations. There may even be some confusion regarding who is obligated to comply with the Bathing Code.

All New Jersey Community Associations Must Comply With the Bathing Code

One may think that the Public Recreational Bathing Code would not apply to private community association pools. However, community association swimming pools, wading pools, and hot tubs/spas are considered public recreational bathing facilities as long as they are used by three or more dwelling units. Even though the general public cannot use these facilities, they must be operated in compliance with the Bathing Code.

Continue Reading Recent Changes to New Jersey’s Public Recreational Bathing Facility Code Will Impact All Community Associations

A few weeks ago, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted conditional approval of the PennEast Pipeline. FERC is a federal agency which regulates gas pipelines and issued an order to allow PennEast to proceed forward with its project on January 19, 2018. This approval will allow PennEast to file complaints in the United States Federal Courts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania seeking to exercise the power of eminent domain to take property rights to install the pipeline.

Since this announcement, the most common question has been: what happens next?

Continue Reading The PennEast Pipeline: What Happens Next?

If you are a contractor or subcontractor in New Jersey who is involved in the construction or renovation of residential structures, you should be aware of the requirements for filing a construction lien on a residence.

This process is markedly different from the filing of a construction lien with regard to a commercial property. The process to file a residential construction lien is outlined within N.J.S.A. 2A:44A-21.

In a commercial construction setting, a construction lien only has to be filed with the county clerk within 90 days of the last date the contractor or vendor provided the materials and services. On the other hand, the process for filing a lien on a residential property is much more involved.

Continue Reading Filing a Residential Construction Lien in New Jersey

Consider a few scenarios:

  • An employee has been injured on the job and unexpectedly fails a post-accident drug test, testing positive for opioids. What do you do?
  • An employee comes into your office, closes the door, and confides in you that she is battling an addiction to opioids and needs help. What policies apply and laws come into play?
  • An employee is increasingly absent from work, appears drowsy and inattentive when he is working, and his performance is slipping. You’ve issued a few verbal disciplinary warnings and have decided it is time for the employee to go, but when you go to put the “pink slip” in the employee’s locker, you find a current prescription for pain killers prescribed to the employee. Do you fire him?
  • A candidate for employment submits an application, has impressive credentials, has relevant job experience and hits a home run at her interview. You make a conditional job offer subject to the candidate passing a comprehensive background check, which turns up a drug possession conviction. You raise the issue with the candidate, who discloses that she had a drug dependency addiction in the past but is clean now and still attending support group meetings to stay clean. Do you hire her?

These are just a few examples of how employers and the workplace can be affected by the opioid crisis. Just about everyone in this day and age has been touched by the opioid epidemic or knows someone who has. Employers similarly are not immune to this sad and sobering reality. The opioid crisis touches many employment law issues, policies and procedures, including background checks, drug testing, medical leave laws, employee benefits and counseling, social media and employee speech, employee privacy and HIPAA, and disability discrimination and accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Continue Reading Opioids, Employees, and Accommodations: an Employer’s Primer on Confronting the Crisis