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Price, Meese, Shulman & D’Arminio, P.C. Blog

Civil forfeiture in New Jersey

New Jersey is among the worst states in the country when it comes to civil forfeiture laws.  Many people incorrectly assume that civil forfeiture applies to only an accused or a criminal defendant's property.  However, civil forfeiture can occur with any type of property which is simply allegedly tied to criminal activity.  The owner does not have to be actually charged with a crime in order to have their property taken them.  Also, in a civil forfeiture proceeding where the state is represented by the county prosecutors, there is a lower standard of proof which does not require them to prove guilt 'beyond a reasonable doubt.'  New Jersey has consistently ranked as one of the least transparent states when it comes to disclosing how much they have actually confiscated, and has consistently been given poor marks by independent agencies which monitor forfeiture activity.  For example, in 2015, the highly respected Institute for Justice gave New Jersey a D-, the lowest grade possible, when it analyzed the laws and the growth of civil forfeiture proceedings around the United States.  

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The Consequence of Violations of Family Court Orders

The headlines are everywhere: “Mom jailed for refusing to vaccinate child.” Outrage and confusion may have been a common sentiment for anyone reading such a headline without delving further into the story. Those who actually read past the headlines, however, quickly realized that the controversial issue of vaccination (or lack thereof) was not the root cause of the mother’s, Rebecca Bredow’s, incarceration.

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The “Un-Orthodox” Divorce: Who Decides the Children’s Religious Upbringing?

(Weisberger v. Weisberger, ___ AD3d ___, 2017 NY Slip Op 06212 [2017].)

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Back to School Tips


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Andrew Luck Fans, Beware! You Have No Automatic Right to Renew Indy Colts Season Tickets

Die-hard sports fans, more specifically season ticket holders, almost certainly assume that their game tickets will automatically be renewable from year to year.  As a recent federal court decision (Frager v. Indianapolis Colts, Inc., Dkt. No. 1:16-cv-632-WTL-DML (S.D. Ind. Nov. 9, 2016), aff’d, Dkt. No. 16-4183 (7th Cir. June 22, 2017)) makes clear, however, that is often not the case.

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Billions in Wire Fraud Preventable with 19th Century Technology!

The bad news is that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has reported that there were more than $2.3 Billion Dollars of losses from October 2013 to February 2016 from business e-mail compromise (“B.E.C.”) scams. The good news is that a simple phone call confirming the authenticity of the wire request prior to acting on it will foil the scam one hundred percent of the time.

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By: Natalie Diratsouian

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Ocean Carrier Claims in Bankruptcy


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Canceling Contracts Through Email: N.J. Supreme Court Recognizes New Methods to Disapprove Residential Real Estate Contracts

In a ruling that acknowledges modern modes of communication, the New Jersey Supreme Court has found that a notice of disapproval of a standard form real estate contract may be transmitted by email, fax, personal service or overnight mail with proof of delivery. This is a change from the prior 34-year-old requirement that a notice of disapproval must be sent to the real estate agent or broker by certified mail, telegram or personal service. The Court in Michael Conley, Jr. vs. Mona Guerrero, 2017 N.J. Lexis 371 (2017), amended the settlement agreement made between the New Jersey Bar Association and New Jersey Association of Realtor Boards in the case that originally established the three-day attorney review clause for standard form real estate contracts to allow notice of disapproval by email, fax, personal service, or overnight mail. New Jersey State Bar Ass’n v. New Jersey Ass’n of Realtor Boards (Bar Ass’n), 93 N.J. 470, modified, 94 N.J. 449 (1983). The three-day period in which one must send the notice remains unchanged.

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A Roadmap to the Special Education Referral and Evaluation Process
By Michelle Krone

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What is Required for an Award of Punitive Damages

The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey has been called upon three times in recent weeks to clarify what is required for a plaintiff to be awarded punitive damages. In each instance, District Judges reinforced that negligence, or even gross negligence, is not sufficient. Instead, under New Jersey law, there must be clear and convincing evidence of actual malice, or wanton and willful disregard of others. This requires an intentional wrongdoing, an evil-minded act, or a deliberate act or failure to act that creates a high probability that another person will be harmed. In each case, the Court relied upon the New Jersey Punitive Damages Act which clearly sets out what is and what is not sufficient to justify awarding punitive damages. Under the Act, punitive damages should be awarded where the plaintiff can demonstrate all of the following:

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By Rick Steinberg, Of Counsel

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As a small business owner, you may be familiar with the concept of an in-house general counsel, who is an attorney that is an employee of a company who handles a variety of business-related issues extending across a number of legal disciplines.  The cost of employing an in-house general counsel, while a fixed expense, is often excessive for a small or even medium-sized business.  That is why Price Meese, along with its specialization in a variety of disciplines, has developed an expertise in providing “general counsel” services to smaller companies on an as-needed basis.

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Contract Limitations v. Bill of Lading Limitation

My carrier/shipper contract says my liability as a carrier for freight damage or loss is limited to $1,000,000.00 but the Bills of Lading say my liability as a carrier is limited to $1.00.
Is my limitation $1,000,000.00 or $1.00?
Can I split the difference?
What do I do?

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Suing the State of New Jersey: A primer on the Tort Claims Act

           This article is meant to serve as a general summary of the New Jersey Tort Claims Act (or “TCA”) and how one can sue municipalities and their employees under the requirements provided in the statute.  Under N.J.S.A. §59:4-2, a plaintiff is required to prove that public property owned and operated by the government is in a dangerous condition.  That dangerous condition, when used by a foreseeable person in a reasonable manner, must be the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.  Finally, the plaintiff must provide objective medical proof that they have sustained the permanent loss of a bodily function as a result of the injury.  Specifically, you must have the permanency just described as well as medical expenses in excess of $3,600.00. 

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Court Throws Life Preserver to Alimony Payors Struggling to Stay Afloat

Mills v. Mills, 447 N.J. Super 78 (Ch. Div. 2016).
In the context of divorce proceedings, many are familiar with the concept of “alimony”: the requirement of the higher-earning spouse of the marriage to make payments to the lesser-earning spouse in order to maintain his or her post-divorce support. The amount of alimony paid and received, as well as the term of the alimony payments, are both dependent on the specific facts of each individual case. Specifically, the New Jersey statute outlines various factors which the attorneys or the Judge must consider in formulating an alimony obligation. Whether the parties ultimately agree upon an alimony amount and term, or the Judge imposes this obligation, it is common for one party to make alimony payments to the other for a set period of time. But, what happens when the alimony payment is no longer possible, due to the obligor’s loss of his or her job or a reduction of the salary held at the time of the divorce?

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Exception to OPRA- The Deliberative Process Privilege

The New Jersey Open Public Records Act (“OPRA” or the “Act”) guarantees that government records are readily accessible for inspection, copying and examination by citizens of this State with certain limited exceptions. One such exception is the deliberative process privilege which includes inter – or intra-agency material that is advisory, consultative, or deliberative in nature1. This privilege allows draft documents or documents prepared during the formulation of governmental decisions to be withheld from public disclosure.

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Commercial Loans and the Fair Market Credit


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                                                       OUT OF DISTRICT PLACEMENT: A Word of Caution
If you think your child’s placement is not appropriate it does not mean that your public school district has to place your child out of district even if your child has an IEP or Section 504 Plan. You have the right to place your child in any school that you choose but only if you are willing to pay for that school.

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Rick A. Steinberg, Esq.


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