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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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building-2603161__340-300x200The New Jersey Supreme Court recently issued an important decision in the case of Palisades At Fort Lee Condominium Association, Inc. v. 100 Old Palisade, LLC, defining when the statute of limitation will begin to run  in construction defect litigation.  This decision is now the defining law on the timeliness of construction lawsuits.

Background

The devil is in the details, especially in construction law.  These are the facts in this one.

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face-1618921__340-300x192Where We Stand

Given the reports of sexual harassment and sexual assault which have been flooding the news lately, such as those involving Harvey Weinstein, Megyn Kelly and the situation at Fox News, Kevin Spacey, Bill Cosby, and Ray Moore, we want to make clear where we stand.

We are employment lawyers.  We reject all forms of discrimination and harassment, and stand ready to fight for those who have been the victims of such reprehensible conduct.

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Wage and Hour Laws Governing New Jersey Workplacesjustice-2756939__340-275x300

The Fair Labor Standards Act is the federal law which, along with the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor’s regulations found in the Code of Federal Regulations, governs overtime and minimum wage requirements.  The Fair Labor Standards Act (known as the “FLSA”) requires that most employees (known as “non-exempt” employees, or those who are not exempt from overtime requirements) be paid “time and a half” for all hours they work over forty in any particular week.

In an action for violating the F

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toy-2883494__340-300x200There is a large and complex body of laws which restrict and regulate the of waste transportation businesses in New Jersey.  Indeed, New Jersey has arguably the most stringent requirements and restrictions on the solid waste industry in the country.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) has broad authority and power to control and supervise waste transportation and disposal through multiple statutes.  Indeed, the NJDEP has authority under New Jersey’s Solid Waste Management Act as well as the Solid Waste Utility Control Act (“SWUCA”).  The SWUCA took effect in 1970 as a result of a 1969 report published by the New Jersey Commission of Investigation which found that the solid waste business was heavily influenced and effected by organized crime.  As a result, initially the Board of Public Utilities, and later the NJDEP, was empowered to monitor rates being charged and services being provided by waste transportation companies.

There are also a number of regulations which have been created to effectuate the intent and goals of the Acts.   As a result, New Jersey solid waste collectors and haulers are subject to close regulation.  However, this regulation has actually lessened somewhat over time.  Indeed, while initially the Board of Public Utilities was actually permitted to set rates for waste transporters to charge, whereas, currently, now they only evaluate and monitor the rates being charged to ensure effective competition in the marketplace.

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american-963190__340-300x200Some of the most conflict-ridden areas in New Jersey employment involve wage and hour issues – who needs to be paid, how much, when and for what.  An important Federal appeals court decision has shed light on one of the most contested topics in this area – when employees mostly paid for benefits.

The Wage and Hour Legal and Regulatory Framework

Wage and hour issues in New Jersey are governed by New Jersey’s Wage and Hour Law and New Jersey’s Wage Payment Law.  Employers in New Jersey must also comply with the requirements of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (known as the “FLSA”), and the regulations put out by the United States Department of Labor implementing the FLSA.  New Jersey courts follow federal court decisions on the FLSA when interpreting the Wage and Hour Law and the Wage Payment Law.  The Regulations which the Department of Labor established are found in the Code of Federal Regulations, known as the “CFR.”

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business-meeting-and-teamwork-large-team-at-the-table-300x160New Jersey has followed the national trend in creating the “limited liability company,” (known as “LLC”),  as an allowable form of business entity under New Jersey business law.  The LLC combines the best elements of both a corporation and a partnership.

The Limited Liability Company

A (Limited liability company combines the best qualities of both corporations and partnerships (or sole proprietorships).  Like corporations, but unlike partnerships and sole proprietorships, owners (known as “members” in an LLC) are shielded from personal liability for most corporate debts.  However, like partnerships and sole proprietorships (but unlike many corporations, especially larger corporations), LLCs are “flow through” entities.  This means that the business itself pays no income taxes.  The profits “flow through” to the owners, who are then taxed on the profits as their income.  This avoids the “double taxation” of corporations, where the company pays taxes on the profits before they are distributed to the owners, and then the owners pay income tax on the remaining after tax profits when they receive them.  So essentially members in an LLC only pay tax once, while shareholders in a corporation pay tax twice, which can result in significantly higher after tax earnings for the owners on the same business revenue.

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racism-2733840__340-300x300When an employee is being harassed or disciplined in his employment as a result of discrimination or retaliation for the employee’s objections to illegal conduct, there are multiple laws which may provide relief to the employee.  These include, for instance, New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (the “LAD”) and New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA,” also known as the “Whistleblower Law.”)

Both Acts may allow the employee to bring a lawsuit against the employer for a wrongful termination or other adverse employment action (i.e. demotion), as well as harassment.  When an employer is wrongfully disciplining or retaliating against an employee, it is important for the employee to preserve and maintain records of the wrongful conduct of the employer in order to support her claim that she suffered a wrongful employment action.  However, employees need to be cautious in what records they preserve and how they preserve those records.

In the case of Quinlan v. Curtiss Wright Corporation  Joyce Quinlan believed that as a result of gender discrimination, her employer had passed her over for a promotion. She then began copying confidential human resources files which she believed supported her claim that she was being discriminated against and she produced the copies in the course of discovery during litigation.  The employer later fired her for “taking” the records (while litigation was ongoing).  Quinlan then amended her complaint to include the claim that she was retaliated against for essentially participating in the LAD suit against the employer.  The Law Against Discrimination  not only prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of a protected classification (gender, nationality, religion, race, etc.), but it also prohibits retaliation against a person for opposing discrimination, filing a discrimination complaint, or participating in a LAD proceeding.

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new-home-2841442__340-300x200Recently, many people who are purchasing real property have been reluctant to spend the money to obtain a survey of the property they are purchasing.    However, in most circumstances it is obtaining a survey is vitally important and it is money well spent.  Also, if the purchaser is financing the purchase with a mortgage loan, the lender will almost always require a survey before closing.

Surveys are performed by licensed surveyors who are subject to regulations imposed by the State of New Jersey.  A survey will locate any structures and other above ground improvements on the premises, including fences, identify easements the property is subject to and provide the purchaser with the property’s dimensions.  It will show the exact boundaries on the deed – which sometimes yields surprises.

There are many reasons why you should obtain a survey prior to closing (beyond it being required by the lender).  These are some of the universally applicable reasons to get that survey: