April 18, 2017
MICHAEL J. RANKIN reports on a recent New Jersey Supreme Court decision concerning whether the attorney-review provision of a standard form real estate contract, which specifies that notice of disapproval must be transmitted to the real estate agent or broker by certified mail, telegram, or personal service, must be strictly enforced.
On January 12, 2014, prospective buyers signed a contract to purchase a certain condominium from the seller. The real estate agent prepared, and the parties used, a standard form real estate contract. Seller signed the contract on January 14, 2014.
The agreement included an attorney-review clause which gave the parties' respective attorneys three business days to review the contract before it became legally binding. If buyers' or seller's(...)
March 23, 2017
On March 23, 2017, the Essex County Bar Association (ECBA) hosted its annual Judicial Law Clerk luncheon at the Veterans Courthouse in Newark. Michael J. Rankin co-chaired the event for the ECBA.
The event provided Law Clerks with the opportunity to network with members of the ECBA and to learn more about the next steps in their career upon the completion of their clerkship.
Barry A. Kozyra and Michael J. Rankin appeared as panelists for the event discussing, amongst other things, the interviewing process for obtaining a position as an associate in a law firm and the importance and process of professional networking.
March 20, 2017
On January 17, 2017, MICHAEL J. RANKIN reported on a New Jersey case where the Court granted the Defendant Township's motion for summary judgment because the Plaintiff, who alleged a shoulder injury during the process of being handcuffed, failed to produce an expert report in discovery to prove liability against the Township's police officer who arrested him. In that case, the Court found that Plaintiff needed an expert to inform the jury about police practices and procedures and how the officers deviated from those standards.
MICHAEL J. RANKIN now reports on a recent New Jersey case providing yet another example of the importance of retaining an expert to prove liability.(...)
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(...)
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(...)