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eighteen-wheeler-614201__340The transportation and disposal of solid waste in New Jersey is a heavily regulated industry.  The statutory and regulatory framework of New Jersey sold waste law is complex.  Attorneys from our firm have significant experience counseling and representing solid waste companies in all aspects of their businesses.

This regulatory complexity starts at the beginning of a solid waste hauler’s lifecycle.  A business or person who wants to get into the business of hauling solid waste must make an A-901 application to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protections, undergo a rigorous background investigation, and obtain a certificate of public convenience & necessity (CPCN).  The operation of the business is also governed by a complex regulatory scheme, including the registration of vehicles, the types of waste which can be handled, and what can be done with it.

And, of course, a solid waste hauler is a business just like any other business.  It will have the multitude of issues any business has.  It will have disputes with its customers.  It will have labor and employment problems.  Competitors will try to take its business.  The owners will have disputes between themselves.  It will need to collect delinquent bills.

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council-of-state-535721__340Our employment law attorneys represent government employees in New Jersey Civil Service appeals.

One of the most criticized but least understood areas of New Jersey employment law is the Civil Service System.  Employers complain that New Jersey’s Civil Service System makes it too difficult to fire employees who are not carrying their weight.  Employees, especially prospective employees, complain that civil service makes it too difficult to obtain jobs.  However, the Civil Service System is there for an extremely important reason.

New Jersey – gasp – has a history of corruption and political patronage when it comes to awarding government jobs, and while the old civil service system helped, it did not eliminate it.  After the long reign of Frank (“I am the law”) Hague in Jersey City, New Jersey said enough is enough.  It held a constitutional convention, and the New Jersey Constitution of 1947 provided that civil service selections and appointments had to be based on merit, determined by test if possible.  This was to take politics, corruption, nepotism and favoritism out of employment decisions so that merit was the only reason employees obtained or kept their jobs.

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head-1825517__340It is important to consider certain essential factors when choosing which type of business entity for your new business.  In order to reach your goals and find the best fit for your company, you should consider protection from liability, taxation mechanisms, ease of formation, and your future requirements for raising capital. The two primary options for small businesses are the limited liability company (“LLC”) and the S Corporation (“S-Corp.”). The LLC is the structure most commonly used by small business owners, but it is important to review the S-Corp. before making your decision and forming your entity.   Once you understand the similarities and differences between the two structures, you can review your business goals and needs to make an informed decision as to which type of entity you should form.

The Limited Liability Company

Under the New Jersey business law, the LLC provides liability protection similar to that of a corporation while retaining the taxation structure of a partnership. For tax purposes an LLC is a “disregarded entity”, the LLC issues a K-1 form to each member at the end of the tax year showing the distributions made to each member.  This K-1 is used to prepare each member’s individual income tax returns.  An LLC is quite flexible as to the forms of management which are permitted.  It can be member-managed in that the members (owners) manage the business of the LLC; or manager-managed, in that an outside manager is hired to manage the business affairs of the LLC; or some combination of the two models. Additional flexibility is found in the LLC because profits and losses can be allocated in any way desired by the members, it does not have to be based on the amount of capital contributions contributed by each member. The operating agreement is the controlling document and it can be drafted to reflect the agreement of the members.  The operating agreement can also reflect different voting rights among the various members and it can relax the strict recordkeeping rules of a corporation.

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The New Jersey Estate Tax is being phased out beginning with residents dying on or after January 1, 2017.  Governor Christie signed a new law calculator-385506__340[1], the new tax laws reduce the estate tax for resident decedent’s dying in 2017 by increasing the exemption amount to $2,000,000.00, and then eliminating the New Jersey Estate Tax altogether for resident decedents dying on or after January 1, 2018.  New Jersey is no longer one of the worst states in which to die, and New Jersey resident seniors may no longer feel the need to establish domicile elsewhere. Those New Jersey decedents dying in 2016 with estates exceeding $675,000 will remain subject to New Jersey estate tax. Further, the federal estate tax will continue to apply to estates greater than the federal exemption amount, currently $5,450,000, which increases annually based on inflation.  And, after the recent elections, we need to keep an eye out for new laws enacting changes to the tax code.

However, while the New Jersey Estate Tax is being phased out, the Inheritance Tax will remain.  New Jersey is one of only six states which impose an inheritance tax on transfers from a decedent to a beneficiary.   Whether an estate is subject to inheritance tax is determined by the relationship between the decedent and the beneficiary.  Bequests to “Class A” beneficiaries (i.e. spouses/domestic partners, parents, children) are not subject to inheritance tax.  The tax rate on transfers to non Class A beneficiaries depends on the “Class” of the beneficiary and the value of the asset transferred to that beneficiary.  Likewise, non-resident decedents who own New Jersey real estate or tangible personal property will continue to be subjected to the New Jersey Inheritance Tax.  Additionally, New Jersey Inheritance Tax Waivers will still be required in order to transfer title to real estate, brokerage accounts, securities and bank accounts.

Please call or e-mail the attorneys at McLaughlin & Nardi, LLC to create an estate plan or  review and update an existing plan.

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As the holiday season creeps up on us, it’s good that we have the chance to reflect on what we are thankful for. Here at McLaughlin & Nardi we have much to be thankful for this year.

First, we are thankful for you who give us the opportunity to help people for a living. This is a gift which for which we are profoundly grateful.

Second, we are grateful for the people who help us do that. This includes all of the people who work here. There are those whom you see, such as our attorneys and paralegals, but there are many who you don’t see, including those who do the administrative, research and support work which allows the rest of us to be your advocates and counselors. They are more than just coworkers; they are family.

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The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) regulates, monitors, and enforces a wide range of environmental protection and conservation laws throughout the State of New Jersey.  The NJDEP is a cohesive government organization which is involved in various programs and areas of environmental protection including recycling, clean water, air quality and pollution, open spaces, wildlife protection, business regulations, waste transportation and disposal, and other environmental areas.

Waste transportation and disposal is one of the major areas which the NJDEP monitors with  the important goals of: eliminating illegal dumping (and thus land and water pollution), eradicating criminal activity from the waste removal industry due to a historic connection between the industry and illegal conduct, and educating waste handlers of relevant rules and environmental impacts.

To achieve these goals, the New Jersey State Legislature and the NJDEP have enacted numerous laws, rules, regulations, and reporting requirements for waste transporters.  To start, most waste transporters are required to obtain a New Jersey A-901 license.  The process for obtaining an A-901 license is not a quick or easy one.  Before ever engaging in any waste transportation, the business must provide a great deal of information to the NJDEP, including the source of funding for the business, business locations, lease and lessor information, identification of owners and key employees, etc.  On top of that each key employee, owner, partner, officer, director, and managing member must complete a disclosure form which requires a great deal of specific and detailed information such as information regarding family members, employment history, and other personal details.  Moreover, each of these people need to be fingerprinted and have background checks conducted.

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skills-835747_960_720In New Jersey, obtaining a teaching certificate is a difficult task, requiring a great deal of credentials.  For the individuals who are issued a teaching certificate, it is a testament to the individual’s dedication, commitment, and passion for teaching.  Therefore, if your certificate is at risk of being revoked or suspended, it is important to know your rights and whether to challenge such a determination.

The State Board of Examiners may revoke, suspend or deny a teacher’s certificate for many grounds set forth in the New Jersey Department of Education’s regulations in the New Jersey Administrative Code, N.J.A.C.§6A:9B-4.4.  One of the grounds that the State Board of Examiners may revoke, suspend or deny a teaching certificate is on the basis of “conduct unbecoming a teacher.”  Like many legal terms, “conduct unbecoming a teacher” is inherently  broad and encompasses a wide variety of teacher activity.  Due to its broad nature, a look into how courts have defined and analyzed “conduct unbecoming a teacher” is important if your certificate is being revoked, suspended or denied to determine whether to appeal the revocation or suspension.

Courts have defined “conduct unbecoming a teacher” in multiple ways including :

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New Jersey employment law has long protected employees against discrimination in employment. New Jersey was one of the first states to do so, passing the Law Against Discrimination in 1947.  One of the things that New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination protects employees from is discrimination because of disabilities.  This means that employers are prohibited from doing three things.  First, employers cannot take adverse actions, such as firing or demotion, against employees because of their disabilities.  Second, employers cannot harass or create a hostile work environment for employees because of their disability.  Finally, employeer cannot fail to make reasonable accommodations so that employees can do their job even with their disabilities.

When an employer violates New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination, employees may sue their employees.  If they are successful they can recover their economic damages (such as lost pay), compensation for their emotional distress, the attorneys fees and litigation expenses they spent in the lawsuit, and sometimes punitive damages.  Of course, the employees must first prove that the employers violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, and then they must prove their damages.

Proving that an employee had a disability is part of the employee’s required proofs.  In many cases there is no dispute because the disability is apparent – if an employee is missing a leg the disability is obvious, and in many cases the disability is admitted.  However, in many cases the disability is neither apparent nor admitted by the employer.  How then to prove that the employee had the disability?  In many cases, this requires testimony from a doctor.

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office-1319849__180The Corporation Business Tax (“CBT”) is a New Jersey State tax imposed on corporations for the privilege of doing business in the State.   Nearly every state has instituted a similar type of tax on businesses, sometimes including taxes referred to as franchise taxes or privilege taxes.  This tax is income-based and is measured by the net income which may be allocated to  New Jersey.  CBTs go towards general State use, with 4 percent of the CBT revenue dedicated to environmental projects and activities.

The following entities are exempt from CBT: corporations created under the limited-dividend housing corporation law, nonprofit cemetery corporations, nonprofit corporations without capital stock, federal corporations exempt from state taxes, certain agricultural cooperative associations, non-stock mutual housing corporations, canal and railroad corporations, water and sewer corporations, insurance companies subject to premiums tax, and certain municipal electric corporations.

A corporation may be either a “C” Corporation or a“S” Corporation.  Generally, a corporation chooses its election of classification when it is being formed.  A “C” corporation is subject to what is commonly referred to as “double taxation” because a C corporation’s revenue is taxed first as company revenue and then again when the shareholders are taxed for the revenue.  However, there are also certain tax advantages including being able to deduct certain business expenses.  On the other hand a “S” corporation is only taxed at the individual level, commonly referred to as a “pass-through” tax entity.  The owners of the company are the only ones taxed for profit of the company.  “S” corporation owners may be able to deduct corporate losses on personal tax returns.   There are also a myriad of considerations in addition to tax factors which should be considered before making the determination as to what type of company to form.

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frankfort-105591_960_720The Supreme Court of the United States has recently issued an opinion holding that, even perceived speech or associations (as opposed to just actual speech or associations) are protected by the Civil Rights Act.

A police officer, Jeffrey Heffernan, working in Paterson, New Jersey filed suit seeking redress for his demotion after he had been seen speaking to staff members for a candidate running for mayor and holding a yard sign supporting that candidate.  The candidate was running against the incumbent mayor who had appointed Heffernan’s superiors.  Heffernan was specifically demoted due to his “overt involvement” in the candidate’s campaign.

Unbeknownst to Heffernan’s superiors, Heffernan did not actually support the candidate, but was merely picking up the sign for his ill mother.