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Employment Contracts: Jury Waiver Provisions Must Be Clear And Unambiguous

March 7, 2017

Michael J. Rankin reports on a recent case dealing with an employee's waiver of a jury trial pursuant to an employment contract. An employee brought suit against his former employer alleging breach of contract and violation of New Jersey's Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), N.J.S.A. 34:19-1 et seq. CEPA is New Jersey's "Whistleblower Act" protecting employees from retaliation after they disclose, refuse to participate in or object to their employer's participation in unlawful or harmful activity. Pursuant to a jury-waiver provision in plaintiff's employment contract, the trial court denied his demand for a jury. Following a bench trial, the trial court dismissed plaintiff's claims. Plaintiff appealed, challenging, amongst other things, the trial court's application(...)

Insurance Law – The Anti Concurrent Causation Clause

February 27, 2017

MICHAEL J. RANKIN reports on a recent New Jersey case dealing with insurance coverage for property damaged by winds and flooding caused by Hurricane Irene. Plaintiffs were the owner and tenant of property insured by defendant. On August 27, 2011, the property was damaged. At that time, Hurricane Irene had made landfall and caused severe flooding to the surrounding area. The owner-plaintiff of the property made a property damage claim to defendant. Defendant denied coverage because "flooding and surface water" caused the damage, and the policy excluded coverage for damage caused solely or in part by flooding. Plaintiffs disputed the defendant's findings, arguing that the damage was caused solely by sewage back-up. Plaintiffs did concede, however, that the area surrounding(...)

Trusts And Estates Medicaid Lien Attached To The Decedent’s One Third Elective Share Interest Against The Augmented Estate Of His Wife Found Valid

February 14, 2017

MICHAEL J. RANKIN reports on a recent case dealing with the validity of a priority lien that the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS) filed against a decedent's estate for reimbursement of Medicaid benefits the decedent received. DMAHS determined the lien attached to all assets in the estate, including the decedent's one-third elective share against the augmented estate of his wife that included the proceeds from the sale of the couple's former marital home. In this case, the decedent and his spouse lived together in their jointly-owned condominium before he began living in an assisted living facility in April 2007. On July 18, 2007, decedent's spouse executed her Last Will and Testament disinheriting the decedent and naming their children as the sole(...)

Barry Kozyra Is Representing Two Full Service Independent Clinical Laboratories

February 13, 2017

Barry Kozyra is representing two full service independent clinical laboratories operating in New Jersey and Pennsylvania in a prospective sale to an independent cannabis lab testing and media firm. Both companies provide a broad range of diagnostic tests (blood, urine, cholesterol, drugs) for patients, physicians, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and drug and alcohol treatment programs and clinics.

Insurance/Breach Of Contract Trip Cancellation Coverage

January 31, 2017

MICHAEL J. RANKIN reports a recent case dealing with trip cancellation insurance coverage and the policy's exclusion of coverage for a pre-existing medical condition. Plaintiff purchased a trip to St. Lucia for himself and his family. On May 19, 2014, two days before his scheduled departure, Plaintiff purchased trip cancellation coverage (the "Policy") from the Defendant. On the Policy's effective date, May 20, 2014, Plaintiff sought treatment from his dentist and was diagnosed with acute pericoronitis (inflammation of the gum tissue surrounding the crown portion of a partially erupted tooth). Plaintiff was advised by his dentist not to travel and thus cancelled his trip to St. Lucia. He also filed a claim for reimbursement under the Policy. Defendant denied Plaintiff's(...)