October 2, 2015
Michael J. Rankin reports a recent case finding that an insured's property damage coverage claim was not barred by a one year statute of limitation period in the policy due to the carrier's coverage letter being unclear as to what damage would or would not be covered. The insureds were owners of Jersey shore property who submitted a claim for damage incurred to property by Superstorm Sandy. In response the carrier sent a letter advising that it was "pleased to inform them" that wind damage from the storm would be covered under the policy. However, the carrier's letter was silent as to the specific dollar amounts that would be received and explained that damage due to flooding was not covered. Nearly nineteen (19) months later, the Policyholders filed a lawsuit for, amongst(...)
July 30, 2015
Michael J. Rankin reports a recent case finding a violation of the Consumer Fraud Act ("CFA") where a retirement community's advertisement brochures and sales presentations of a "90% refund" for entrance fees into the facility were materially misleading because the refund (based on a future resale to a subsequent resident to occupy the unit) could be significantly lower if a discounted entrance fee was given.
Specifically, the sales presentations omitted reference to language included in the actual residence and care agreements which expressed that refunds would be based on the lesser of the resident's entrance fee or the fee paid by the subsequent resident who took the initial resident's unit.
While the decision might also reflect the Court's extra concern for older citizens, it(...)
July 22, 2015
Judith A. Hartz, President of The Essex County Bar Association, was among the hosts of the "Women at the Bar - Empower. Engage. Enjoy" a sold out event with 250 attendees, at the McLoone's Boathouse located at 9 Cherry Lane, West Orange, New Jersey on Wednesday, July 22, 2015. The "Women at the Bar" event was also hosted by the Garden State Bar Association, IWIRC-NJ Network, NJ Turnaround Management Association, the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association, the Rutgers Women's Law Forum, and Women Lawyers in Bergen.
June 17, 2015
Michael J. Rankin reports a recent case addressing when a waiver of jury trial in a condominium purchase contract in favor of arbitration is legal. Arbitration can allow for a private, faster and cheaper way to resolve disputes over courts. But when is such an arbitration clause unlawful?
The court examined an arbitration clause included in a developer's form condominium purchase agreement stating that any disputes "shall be heard and determined by arbitration before a single arbitrator of the American Arbitration Association". Despite what appears as clear language, the court found the arbitration clause was not lawful because it did not state that buyers were waiving their right to seek relief in court. The court held that the ruling applied to both statutory claims and common(...)
June 16, 2015
Judith Hartz, President of the Essex County Bar Association, was interviewed by NJ.com and the Star Ledger about Governor Chris Christie's nomination of eight judges to the Superior Court of Essex County. Ms. Hartz said that with an increase in the number of judges, cases will hopefully move more quickly through the system. She said that Governor Christie's action is a "welcome development for Essex County." She observed that, "It will provide relief to the sitting judges, that is for sure, and the community at large in Essex County." Below is the full and complete article: