This year has brought several interesting changes and important proposals that can affect many estate plans. We have held seminars covering two major issues:

  1. the IRS Proposed Regulations affecting qualified retirement plans and IRAs; and
  2. the Administration’s proposed changes to the Federal Estate and Gift Taxes.

Continue Reading Important Estate Related Proposals and Changes for 2022

McDonald's No Poach Clause in Franchise AgreementsRecently, McDonald’s has been receiving much attention for its closure of restaurants in Russia due to Russia’s aggression into Ukraine. As part of the coverage, news outlets have been reporting on some of the underlying infrastructure McDonald’s invested in as part of its efforts to expand into Russia. As noted in the Washington Post, as part of its Russian expansion, McDonald’s: Continue Reading McDonald’s Closure of Russian Locations Spotlights the Proper Way to Franchise Internationally

Over the next five years, the federal government expects to spend over a trillion dollars on a wide range of infrastructure projects, including road widenings, bridge repairs, and upgrading mass transit and the power grid (to name a few). Some projects will require the government to exercise its power of eminent domain to take private property to create new right-of-way access or expand existing access rights.

Continue Reading Infrastructure Spending’s Impact On Franchise Sites

Federal trademark registration is the Holy Grail for companies, especially franchises, looking to expand their footprint and access a national audience. But even though trademark registration confers on owners certain exclusive rights and benefits, such as constructive national notice of use, protects against registration of confusingly similar marks, provides notice of ownership, and enables recovery of statutory and exemplary damages in appropriate cases, it does not extinguish the rights of an owner of a substantially similar mark who has used the mark in commerce prior to registration. This can be especially problematic for growing franchises that have built their business on a recognizable name and charge significant fees for franchisees to use that name in running a local franchise location.

Continue Reading Franchisor Beware: Registered Trademarks Does Not Mean Impunity from Priority Local Use Challenge

Arbitration Taco BellOn May 23, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, decided Morgan v. Sundance, Inc., No. 21-328, in favor of an employee who sued her employer, a Taco Bell franchisee, for wage theft. The Court concluded that waiving arbitration rights does not require a showing that the party seeking to have their case heard in federal court would be prejudiced by continuing with arbitration. The case, although decided on narrow grounds, demonstrates the risk that a party takes when it decides to delay enforcing a contractual arbitration provision. By eliminating the prejudice requirement, the Court removed a safety valve that saved parties who decided to forgo arbitration for a period of time, then ultimately opted for arbitration. As a result of the holding, a party seeking to invoke the right to arbitrate should not delay, or they will risk forfeiture of the right to arbitrate at a later time.

Continue Reading Use It or Lose It: Supreme Court Rules Against Special Rules Favoring Arbitration When Deciding Waiver of That Right

Non-disparagement is not the same thing as non-disclosure. It seems simple and straightforward, except when it isn’t. That was the case of Savage v. Township of Neptune.

It was only a matter of time before New Jersey courts began passing judgment on the March 18, 2019 amendment to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) preventing the enforcement of non-disclosure agreements in employment contracts and settlement agreements. In 2019, pundits and practitioners questioned the breadth and scope of that supplement to the NJLAD. Three years later, in Savage v. Neptune, the New Jersey Appellate Division has now made clear that non-disparagement provisions are not covered by or included within the prohibition against non-disclosure provisions in employment contracts and settlement agreements.

Continue Reading Non-Disparagement Clauses in Employment Contracts Still Valid Under New Jersey Law

National Realty Investment Advisors and numerous affiliates (“NRIA”) filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the District of New Jersey on June 7th (Case No. 22-14539). NRIA is a New Jersey-based real estate developer. According to filings with the Bankruptcy Court, NRIA owns thirty-one (31) completed properties; three (3) properties which are near completion; and sixteen (16) which remain to be completed and/or are in the planning stage per NRIA’s independent manager, Brian Casey. The value of these properties currently is asserted to be $225 million, with future stabilized values asserted to be over $1 billion. Continue Reading National Realty Investment Advisors Lands in Bankruptcy

Last Will & TestamentUnder a Last Will and Testament, a decedent disposes of both their tangible personal property as well as their intangible personal property. Questions might arise in the context of administering an Estate, however, as to whether an item is classified as tangible personal property or intangible personal property of a decedent. This distinction is often important, as the distribution of an item of significant value can be directly affected by this determination.

Continue Reading Tangible vs. Intangible Assets in Estate Administration

employer gps tracker

Earlier this year, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law Assembly Bill No. 3950, which requires employers in the State to provide written notice to an employee before using a tracking device on a vehicle used by the employee. The new law, which went into effect on April 18, 2022, recognizes that employers may have a legitimate business interest in being able to track their workforce’s whereabouts—particularly when traveling or working offsite—while also reconciling that with the protection of workers’ privacy rights. At the very least, the days of covertly tracking employee vehicles appear to be a thing of the past.

Continue Reading New Jersey Employers Are Now Required to Provide Written Notice Before Using Tracking Devices in Employee-Operated Vehicles

Last Will & TestamentWhen considering whether to contest a decedent’s Last Will and Testament, an individual should consider whether red flags might be present which may point to a successful basis to challenge a disputed Will. The purpose of this article is to examine potential red flags which could highlight a potential issue with a Will which may lead to its invalidation. While this list is not exhaustive, these red flags tend to be the most frequently encountered issues concerning improperly drafted and/or executed Last Wills and Testaments.

Continue Reading Red Flags Indicating a Potentially Invalid Will