Firm Successfully Represents City of Paterson in Union Salary Dispute

Law 360 reported that a New Jersey appellate panel sided with the city of Paterson in the city’s dispute with police unions over how employee health contributions are calculated, ruling the state Legislature intended for an employee’s total pensionable salary to be used to calculate the contribution.

“In a published decision, a three-judge panel on the Superior Court of New Jersey’s Appellate Division ruled that Paterson properly calculated health contributions according to a contract with Paterson Police PBA Local 1 and its superior officers….

“The New Jersey Legislature failed to define “base salary” when it initially passed a trio of bills in March 2012 in response to a report from a joint legislative committee tasked with studying the reformation of public employee benefits. One of the committee’s recommendations was that employees be required to contribute 1.5 percent of base salary toward health insurance premiums, but the committee never provided the formula.

“According to the opinion, guidelines were later published by several state agencies, including the Department of the Treasury, the Division of Pensions and Benefits, the Department of Community Affairs and the Division of Local Government Services, which recommended the total pensionable salary formula adopted by Paterson.

“The appellate panel said that in addition to the formula’s appearance elsewhere, it considered the legislative intent, which was to reduce skyrocketing health care costs for employees, and in that light, the court favored Paterson’s method.”

The City of Paterson was represented by Managing Partner Brian W. Kronick and Associate Brett M. Pugach of the firm’s Labor Law Practice Group.

Joseph Bottitta appointed to New Jersey Supreme Court’s Special Committee on Attorney Ethics and Admissions

Joseph A. Bottitta, Of Counsel, has been appointed to The New Jersey Supreme Court’s Special Committee on Attorney Ethics and Admissions to review the recent American Bar Association (ABA) amendments to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct and standards for admission to practice law for attorneys from other jurisdictions.

“We are very fortunate that a panel of distinguished legal experts will examine the ABA’s new model rules,” said Chief Justice Stuart Rabner. “The ABA’s revisions reflect changes in technology, the globalization of the legal profession, and other related issues. We look forward to the committee’s recommendations about how to change the New Jersey Rules to respond to those developments.”

The committee, chaired by retired Chief Justice James R. Zazzali, has been formed in response to the ABA’s recent amendments, which reflect changes in technology and global legal practice. Topics addressed by the BA’s Commission on Ethics 20/20 include confidentiality in a digital age; ethics issues arising from new forms of advertising; outsourcing of legal services; issues relating to lawyer mobility; choice of law problems related to conflicts of interest; issues relating to practice of out-of-state lawyers; and practice of foreign lawyers in the United States.

Read the entire press release here. 

Michael Oliveira Addresses NJ Bankers Association on the Effects of Dodd-Frank on the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Regulation B

Counsel Michael j. Oliveira  addressed the Joint Lending Committee of the NJ Bankers Association at their annual meeting this week in Atlantic City. The topic was “The Effects of the Dodd-Frank Act on the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Regulation B”. Mr. Oliveira explained how the Dodd-Frank Act impacted the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Regulation B, particularly the new requirements placed on lenders to provide free copies of appraisals and other valuation documents to prospective borrowers in certain circumstances.  A member of the Business Law & Commercial Transactions, Commercial Real Estate & Redevelopment Law, and Land Use & Approvals Practice Groups, Mr. Oliveira one of the state’s leading attorneys in the area of land use, zoning and planning law. Mr. Oliveira has successfully handled hundreds of applications for residential and commercial developments before various Planning and Zoning Boards of Adjustment. He has successfully obtained land use approvals for such projects as the Marriott Courtyard Hotel and the Springfield Avenue Marketplace project in Newark for Tucker Development, and the new Panasonic world headquarters building for Matrix Development Group.

Rajiv Parikh Is Panelist at the 17th Annual eDiscovery & Information Governance in Practice Forum

Counsel Rajiv D. Parikh will be a panelist at the 17th Annual eDiscovery & Information Governance in Practice Forum being held in New York City December 12 at Thompson Hall. This one-day program, presented by the Hildebrandt Institute and West LegalEdcenter, is designed for attorneys, consultants, and legal technology professionals to convene and discuss industrial trends in information governance and eDiscovery in the current and forthcoming calendar year. Comprised of six panel sessions and a networking lunch, the program focuses on significant issues affecting Northeast legal practitioners navigating uncertain industry headwinds.

Mr. Parikh will be discussing “The Space Between: On the Crossroads of Technology, Information Governance & eDiscovery.”   The advent of electronically stored information (ESI) in litigation and regulatory matters has forced many organizations to (re)assess the enterprise management of confidential—indeed vital—business data. Many firms store critical information on disparate systems and incongruous technologies that raise questions of efficiency or comprehensiveness for eDiscovery. This opening roundtable interrogates the crossroads between information governance (IG), ESI and eDiscovery vis-à-vis cutting-edge or emergent technologies. Attendees will hear from IG and eDiscovery professionals, technologists, and thought leaders about the complementary interests of these seemingly isolated cost centers, as well as a hypothetical roadmap for attendees to use when implementing their own cost-effective business model.


Dena Calo Presents “Human Resource Law: What You Need to Know” for the National Business Institute

 Dena B. Calo, Partner and Director of the firm’s Human Resource Practices Group, will be presenting a seminar for the National Business Institute on “Human Resource Law: What You Need to Know”. The event will be held on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 from 9am-4pm at Ceasar’s in Atlantic City.This essential course focuses on day-to-day issue spotting – covering current hot button issues and highlighting practical pointers to avoid and handle common problem areas. Experienced faculty will take you through the critical legal issues you need to know from hiring to firing – including wages and benefits, workplace privacy and safety, discrimination, and more.  Topics include how to:

  • Stay up to date on the latest changes and cases in human resource law.
  • Understand the legal do’s and don’ts during the interview process, including background checks and drug testing, drafting employment contracts, and hiring independent contractors and immigrants.
  • Ensure overtime and employee leave policies are compliant with the law.
  • Learn appropriate methods for calculating and tracking FMLA time.
  • Make sure employee handbooks contain the critical provisions necessary to keep them up to date with current issues.
  • Discuss the latest interpretations of “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Prevent workplace safety violations by knowing safety regulations and record keeping requirements.
  • Know how to appropriately handle thorny employee behavior issues while ensuring privacy rights are upheld.
  • Set up proper discipline and firing procedures to avoid wrongful termination and retaliatory claims.

This basic-to-intermediate level seminar examines the current issues in human resource law for Attorneys, HR Directors, and Risk Management Directors. CLE credits and credits for the Human Resource Certification Institute are available.

Firm’s Employee Benefits Team to Speak on “Making Sense of the Affordable Care Act” for Hudson County Chamber of Commerce

 On Friday, December 6, Partner Patrick McGovern and Associates Gina M. Schneider and Phillip M. Rofsky will present a breakfast forum for the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce entitled Breakfast for Business – Making Sense of the Affordable Care Act. Whether you call it “Obamacare” or the “ACA”, provisions of the Affordable Care Act are now in effect and others will take effect in the very near future.  Are you ready for how the ACA will impact your business and employee benefits plans?

The discussion will address:

  • Which employers and employer groups are covered by ACA?
  • What factors determine whether an employee is covered by ACA?
  • As new employees are hired, what standards apply to determine whether and when they are covered by ACA?
  • What duties does an ACA-covered employer have to its ACA-eligible employees?
  • Does your group health plan qualify as a grandfathered plan or a self-insured plan and if so, what are the benefits?
  • With all the delays in implementation of ACA, what are the current compliance deadlines?
  • What tax credits and penalties might a business be subject to for complying or not complying with ACA?

This event will be held at the Culinary Conference Center at Hudson County Community College at 161 Newkirk Street in Jersey City anis FREE to Chamber members. Nonmembers must pay registration fee of $25 in advance. Registration includes Continental Breakfast.   Click here to register.

Mr McGovern, Ms. Schneider and Mr Rofsky are members of the firm’s Labor Law Practice Group, with expertise in Employee Benefits issues.

Laurence Laufer Interviewed about McCutcheon Case and Ramifications for Campaign Finance Reform on City & State

City & State, the only publication in New York devoted solely to covering government and politics in the city and state, has published a video interview with Partner Laurence D. Laufer, Director of the firm’s Corporate Political Activity Practice Law Group. Mr. Laufer, whose clients include New York City Mayor-Elect Bill DiBlasio and City Controller-Elect Scott M. Stringer, spoke with City & State editor Morgan Pehme on whether the pending Supreme Court decision McCutcheon vs. FEC could undermine the New York City Campaign Finance Board system and the ongoing effort to enact campaign finance reform statewide.

The on line story stated that “(i)f the Supreme Court finds in McCutcheon’s favor, the decision would likely open the floodgates to more money in electoral politics in New York by overturning the state’s $150,000 cap on the total amount of contributions permissible by individuals to candidates per year. ‘I think the ramification in New York is that that $150,000 limit would likely fall altogether, which would free up individuals to give to an unlimited number of candidates, party committees, and PACs in New York without an overall $150,000 aggregate limit,’ Laufer added.”

The video was also posted on Rick Hasen’s Election Law Blog.

William Harrison To Present Webinar with New Jersey Future on Non-Contiguous Cluster Development

Partner William F. Harrison, Director of the Land Use & Approvals and Environmental Law Practice Groups, will be presenting a webinar as part of a series presented by New Jersey Future on non-contiguous cluster development,  The course is aimed at officials, planners and citizens interested in using the state’s enhanced municipal land use tools to direct planning for compact, walkable communities while preserving open space, farmland, or historic sites. Scheduled for  Tuesday, Dec. 10, Mr. Harrison will join a group of experts in examining technical details associated with implementing a non-contiguous cluster plan.  AICP-CM and CLE credits for this webinar are pending. Attendees will also learn more about a grant opportunity that New Jersey Future will offer to municipalities to help them develop a non-contiguous cluster ordinance.

For more information and to register please click here.

Jennifer Mazawey on Navigating New Jersey’s DEP Permitting Process at NJBIA Seminar

What a business needs to know about navigating the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) can be overwhelming to employers. Partner Jennifer Mazawey will join top officials from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection to present an NJBIA seminar entitled “Environmental Requirements: Working with DEP and Local Government” taking place on Friday, November 8th. The event is intended to provide attendees with the latest information on applying for permits, the requirements of New Jersey’s environmental regulations, and practical advice from employers who have gone through the process. Reviewing the major permit areas of air, site remediation, water, and land use, this seminar will highlight compliance strategies for business. It will also include information on dealing with local permitting and zoning/planning boards.

To learn more about this seminar and register please click here.

Laurence Laufer’s Article, “Picture This: Campaign Finance Law and the Question of Values,” Published in Seton Hall Law Review

Partner Laurence D. Laufer,  Director of the firm’s Corporate Political Activity Law Practice Group, has published an article in Seton Hall Law Review entitled Picture This: Campaign Finance Law and the Question of Values,” 43 Seton Hall L. Rev. 1209 (2013). The piece provides a thumbnail sketch of federal law as it exists today; catalogues predominant critiques of significant components of current law, taking note of commonly suggested avenues for reform; and poses an exercise for identifying common values that should be served by campaign finance laws. Mr. Laufer asks the reader to “think of a blank canvas and try to contemplate the values the American public thinks campaign finance laws should serve in a democratic political system.” The article was picked by Rick Hasen’s Election Law Blog.