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Premises Liability – No Duty Of Care Owed To A Social Guest For Unknown Dangerous Conditions Located On Your Property

April 26, 2017

MICHAEL J. RANKIN reports on a recent case where New Jersey's Appellate Division upheld the trial court's decision to grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissing a complaint brought by Defendants' social guest who was allegedly injured at Defendants' home during an Easter party. While leaving the Easter party at Defendants' home, Plaintiff's heel of her shoe caught on the metal weather-strip of the door threshold, and she fell into a sunken vestibule. Plaintiff alleged that the area at the time of the incident was dark due to the overhead chandelier being turned off. Plaintiff had visited Defendants' home on between fifteen to twenty prior occasions. During those times, Plaintiff always entered and exited using the same door and over the same threshold, and never(...)

Real Estate – Enforceability Of The Attorney Review Notice Provision Of A Standard Form Real Estate Contra CT

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(...)

Barry A. Kozyra And Michael J. Rankin Serve As Panelists For The Essex County Bar Association’s Annual Law Clerk Luncheon

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.

Personal Injury – Another Example Of The Importance Of Retaining A Liability Expert

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.(...)

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(...)