Stark and Stark, along with its co-counsel Barry, Corrado, Grassi & Gillin-Schwartz, have filed a class action on behalf of thousands of potential female class members against the New Jersey Department of Corrections (“NJDOC”), over the intolerable conditions at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women (“EMCFW”).

NJDOC is a public entity that maintains an annual budget of roughly $1 billion; approximately 8,000 employees; 13 correctional institutions; and nearly 23,000 state-sentenced offenders housed in prisons, county jails, and community halfway houses. NJDOC is responsible for the day-to-day operations, supervision, and management of EMCFW. In 2017, EMCFW had an operational capacity of 846 persons and an average daily population of 659. The daily expense per inmate was $202.15, and the yearly per capita was $73,785.00.[1]

EMCFW, formerly known as the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women, is located at 30 Route 513, in Clinton, Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Opened in 1913, EMCFW was named after one of the first female correctional superintendents in the United States. According to the official NJDOC website description, EMCFW “houses state-sentenced female offenders. The prison provides a campus-like setting with housing units and various support buildings. In terms of security designation, there are two compounds – minimum and maximum/medium. There is a third housing compound for inmates with varying classifications of special mental health needs. Programming includes counseling as well as education and vocational opportunities.”[2] EMCFW is the only women’s correctional facility in New Jersey, providing custody and treatment programs for female offenders 16 years of age and older.

For decades, there has been a recognized and documented environment of rampant and unchecked sexual assault and harassment of female inmates by prison employees, agents and administrators, as well as other inmates, throughout state and federal corrections systems. Continue Reading Stark & Stark is Once Again at the Forefront of Protecting Women at Risk in Sexually Abusive Environments

The termination of a shareholder’s employment may constitute oppression under N.J.S.A. 14A:12-7(b)(1)(c). That is because a person who holds a share in a closely held corporation often does so “for the assurance of employment in a closely-held corporation in the business.” Muellenberg v. Bilkon Corp., 143 N.J. 168, 180-181 (1996). That is because, a shareholder may have a “reasonable expectation” of continued employment. See, Brenner v. Berkowitz, 134 N.J. 488, 508 (1993).

When representing the minority, it is important to develop why the employee/shareholder had a reasonable expectation of continued employment. Of course, when representing the corporation or majority, counsel should present evidence that the employee/shareholder did not have a reasonable expectation of continued employment.

Continue Reading Can the Termination of a Shareholder’s Employment be Oppression?

In State, County, or Municipal projects, payment bonds are typically required of the general contractor, as the commercial Construction Lien Law is inapplicable to these projects. Copies of the payment bond are always provided to the relevant government agency, as well as to all direct subcontractors or suppliers with whom the general contractor has directly contracted.

On the other hand, copies of the payment bond are not typically provided to other subcontractors or material suppliers with whom the general contractor does not have a direct contractual relationship. In general, a subcontractor who has a direct contract with a subcontractor to the general contractor, or a material supplier who likewise has a direct contract with a subcontractor to the general contractor has a right to bring a claim against the bond in the event of non-payment. Before they are able to bring such a claim against the bond, however, specific notifications are required relevant statute.

N.J.S.A. 2A:44-145 provides a detailed procedure that a potential beneficiary of the bond must follow in order to be entitled to bring a claim against the bond should there be payment issues in the future. If this procedure is not followed, the right to file a bond claim could be waived entirely by the subcontractor or material supplier. The statute specifically states that any person who may be a beneficiary of the payment bond, as defined in this article and who does not have a direct contract with the contractor furnishing the bond shall, prior to commencing any work, provide written notice to the contractor by certified mail or otherwise, provided that he shall have proof of delivery of same, that said person is a beneficiary of the bond. The statute further explains that if a beneficiary fails to provide the required written notice, the beneficiary shall only have the rights and benefits available hereunder from the date notice is actually provided. On the other hand, if notice is never provided no rights to claim to the bond will ever accrue.

As to delineated by the statute, this is a very simple notification requirement by any subcontractor or supplier who does not have a direct contractual relationship with the party who posted the bond. This is a simple procedural step that should be taken by any subcontractor or supplier on a state, county or municipal project. It is suggested that the notification be done via certified mail, or overnight mail with signature confirmation. Also, the timing of this notification should be done prior to performing any work or providing any materials to the project. Under such instances, this would entitle the subcontractor or supplier to bring a claim against the bond. Should this party fail to provide such notification, they may later provide it, however, they would be limited to bond claims only from the date of notification thereafter.

As such, it is important that a subcontractor or material supplier follow the relevant state law as to notification to the contractor who provided the payment bond. If this contractor or supplier has any questions, they should consult with an attorney who can assist them in this regard.

This blog will explore the possibility of probating a copy of a Decedent’s Will if the original document cannot be located. Typically, the County Surrogate will only accept for Probate an original of a Decedent’s Last Will and Testament. If for some reason an original of a Decedent’s Will cannot be located, a party may apply to the Court to Probate a copy of the Decedent’s Will.

Continue Reading Attempting to Probate a Copy of a Will

This week, Massachusetts-based pizza chain Bertucci’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Delaware (seeking joint administration under case No. 18-10894). Bertucci’s operates 59 stores, 29 of which it plans to reject.

According to The Wall Street Journal, an affiliate of Chicago-based investment firm Right Lane Capital LLC has agreed to purchase the chain’s assets, but that bid will be tested at a bankruptcy-court supervised auction.

Continue Reading Pizza Chain Bertucci’s Files for Chapter 11 Protection

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