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Michael J. Rankin, Esq. Serves As Moderator For The Essex County Bar Foundation CLE Seminar NJ (Not So) Basic Estate Administration & Planning

April 12, 2016

On Tuesday, April 12, 2016, Michael J. Rankin, Esq. appeared as the Moderator for the Essex County Bar Foundation CLE Program entitled NJ (Not So) Basic Estate Administration & Planning. The CLE program included discussion on the estate planning process, including, but not limited to, the necessary documents to be drafted for clients, the probate and administration process, including, but not limited to, the fiduciary duties of the executor and administrator of the estate and an overview of New Jersey's inheritance and estate tax. Please contact Michael J. Rankin if you have any questions or need any assistance in connection with this subject.

Consumer Protection Treble Damages And Reimbursement Of Attorneys’ Fees And Costs Awarded Against A Builder For Violating New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act

March 22, 2016

Michael J. Rankin reports a recent case dealing with a builder's omission of material facts in the sale of new homes and whether the omission was a violation of New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act ("CFA"). The builder in this case designed and promoted homes with two car garages in a new development. The Plaintiffs ended up purchasing model homes in the development. However, after the closing, the Plaintiffs discovered that a platform and steps impaired the ability to fit a car into the left garage bay of their respective homes. Plaintiffs brought suit against the builder and prevailed on their claims under the CFA. The trial court found that the builder knew of the problem but knowingly omitted this material fact during their disclosures to Plaintiffs and awarded damages, which(...)

Premises Liability – A Business Owner’s Duty To Preserve Surveillance Video

February 10, 2016

Michael J. Rankin reports a recent case dealing with whether a defendant business owner's destruction of video surveillance constituted spoliation or fraudulent concealment of evidence. Plaintiff alleged that she tripped and fell resulting in injuries while shopping at a supermarket. Plaintiff initiated her action against the supermarket one year after her accident. During the discovery period of her lawsuit, she requested that the supermarket produce any photos or videos depicting her accident. The supermarket responded that it was not currently in possession of any such items. However, during the deposition of the supermarket's assistant store manager, it was revealed that potentially relevant surveillance video previously existed, but had been taped over. Plaintiff filed a(...)

2016 Estate And Gift Tax Limits

January 20, 2016

Michael J. Rankin reports for 2016 the estate and gift tax exemption is $5.45 million per individual which is an increase from $5.43 million in 2015. An individual can leave $5.45 million to his/her heirs and pay no federal estate or gift tax and a married couple with proper planning could potentially shield up to $10.9 million from federal estate and gift tax. The annual gift exclusion amount remains at $14,000.00 and the New Jersey's estate tax exclusion remains unchanged at $675,000.00. Please contact Michael J. Rankin if you have any questions or need any assistance in connection to this subject.

Consumer Protection Contractors Need To Make Sure That Their Representations When Bidding For Work Are Completely Accurate

January 19, 2016

Michael J. Rankin reports a recent case dealing with representations made by a contractor being actionable under New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act. A Condominium Association filed a complaint against a contractor installing tennis courts under the Consumer Fraud Act. The contractor obtained a request for proposal to install an outdoor tennis court for the Association. Before submitting the proposal, the contractor was aware that the tennis court would be installed over concrete. The contractor told the Association that it was qualified by experience to install the tennis court over concrete (an "open-cell" court). The contractor installed a "closed-cell" tennis court. The contractor admitted at trial that he was not certified as an installer of the court as he represented and(...)