Third Circuit Deals Blow to Jersey City Ordinance Requiring PLAs on Privately Funded Projects in Exchange for Tax Abatements

Jersey City’s Municipal Code offers real estate developers generous tax exemptions that are designed to spur the City’s economic growth, but the tax incentives have strings attached. Specifically, to receive a tax exemption, even on a privately funded project, the developer must agree to use the City-approved project labor agreement (“PLA”), which is a pre-hire agreement that favors unionized contractors and subcontractors. On September 12, 2016, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated claims against Jersey City that its tax exemption ordinance mandating PLAs is preempted by the National Labor Relations Act and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and violates the dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Now the case returns to the District Court for a determination whether Jersey City’s PLA requirement is unlawful. The Court was careful to explain that its ruling has nothing to do with public construction projects, and is limited to the City’s attempted regulation of privately funded projects. Associated Builders and Contractors v. City of Jersey City, No. 15-3166 (3rd Cir. Sept. 12, 2016).
For a more in depth discussion of the Court’s decision and its implications for municipalities that offer tax abatements in exchange for PLAs, click here. Questions relating to this important decision may be directed to any partner in our firm’s Labor Law Practice Group – James McGovern III, Patrick McGovern, Douglas Solomon, and John Vreeland.

Client Alert – Third Circuit Halts Sports Wagering in New Jersey

On August 9, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, sitting en banc, released its much-anticipated decision in NCAA v. Governor of New Jersey. The Third Circuit ruled, in a 10-2 vote, that New Jersey’s latest effort to implement sports wagering in the state violated a federal statute known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”). PASPA is a law that prohibits most states from authorizing by law sports wagering (Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon have varying levels of exemptions from PASPA). The decision affirmed a lower court ruling that New Jersey violated PASPA by partially repealing its sports wagering prohibitions.

Going forward, casino and racetrack operators should monitor both state and legislative developments regarding PASPA and sports wagering, as well as the likely appeal to the United States Supreme Court. To read the entire client alert, please click here

For more information, please contact Nicholas R. Amato, of Counsel, Chair of the firm’s Casino & Gaming Law Practice Group, at or 973-535-7136 or Jordan Scot Flynn Hollander, Associate with the firm’s Casino & Gaming Law Practice Groups, at or 973-387-7808.

Avi Kelin Recently Quoted in Corporate Counsel Magazine

Firm Associate Avi D. Kelin was recently quoted in a Corporate Counsel magazine article entitled “Koch Brothers-Backed Groups Hit With $233K FEC Fine Over Disclosures”. To read the entire article including Mr. Kelin’s quote, please click here.

Avi D. Kelin is a member of the Firm’s Business Law & Commercial Transactions, Commercial Real Estate & Redevelopment and Corporate Political Activity Law Practice Groups.

Client Alert – Important Tax Developments That Have Occurred During the Second Quarter of 2016

The following is a summary of some of the more important tax developments that have occurred during the second quarter of 2016 that may affect you, your family, your investments, and your livelihood. Please call us for more information about any of these developments and what steps you should implement to take advantage of favorable developments and to minimize the impact of those that are unfavorable.

  • New Jersey Adopts “Uniform Trust Code”
  • Termination of Trust Does Not Trigger Generation Skipping Transfer Tax
  • IRS Clarifies “Grantor Trust” Definition in Bankruptcy and Insolvency Settings
  • IRS Can Require Sole Owners of Disregarded Entities to Provide EINs
  • IRS Releases Stricter Collection Financial Standards
  • No Innocent Spouse Relief Where Applicant Wife Remained Silent
  • Post-Divorce Settlement Sale of Businesses Between Ex-Spouses Nontaxable
  • Taxpayer Entitled to Exclude Income Under Key Insolvency Exception

To read up on the useful tax planning tips listed above and many more, CLICK HERE.

For more information, please contact: Judson M. Stein, Partner and Chair of the Trusts & Estates Practice Group, at

Client Alert – Appellate Division Limits Municipal Affordable Housing Obligation

On July 11, 2016, the Appellate Division issued a decision limiting the affordable housing obligation of municipalities. The court ruled that municipalities only had to provide for the prospective need for affordable housing for the period from 2016 until 2025. The decision reversed a lower court holding that created an obligation for municipalities to meet their prospective need requirements during the 16 year “gap period” between 1999 and 2015 in addition to the period starting in 2016.

Going forward, developers and property owners should monitor those municipalities which are seeking judicial determination that they are meeting their affordable housing obligations to see how the municipal proposals impact their properties.  To read the entire client alert, please click here.

For more information, please contact William F. Harrison at or 973.535.4430. Mr. Harrison is Chair of the Firm’s Land Use & Approvals and Environmental Law Practice Groups and a Partner in the Commercial Real Estate & Redevelopment Practice Group.

Partner Dina M. Mastellone & Summer Associate Vinicius Beraldo Pen Recent Article in New Jersey Business Magazine

An article written by Partner Dina M. Mastellone and Summer Associate Vinicius Beraldo entitled, “How to Conduct Employee Reviews”, was recently featured in New Jersey Business Magazine. The article outlines the “Do’s” and “Dont’s” regarding best practices for conducting employee performance reviews.

Click here to read the entire article.

Dina M. Mastellone is Chair of the Human Resource Training & Audit Programs Group and a member of the Employment Law & Litigation Practice Group.

Avi Kelin heavily featured in Corporate Counsel’s article “Is It So Wrong for the CEO to Hold a Trump Fundraiser?”

Associate Avi D. Kelin provided his insight in a recent Corporate Counsel article entitled “Is It So Wrong for the CEO to Hold a Trump Fundraiser?”

“As politics become somewhat more polarized,” says Kelin, “going forward companies have to ask themselves whether its worth the reputational risk to be on the front lines of a particular issue or supporting a candidate in a public way.”

To read full article, please click here.

Mr. Kelin is a member of the Business Law & Commercial Transactions, Commercial Real Estate & Redevelopment and Corporate Political Activity Law Practice Groups.

Harris Freier Quoted in Recent Business Insurance Article

Partner Harris S. Freier was interviewed for a recent Business Insurance article “Arbitration clause ruling against employer could breed new level of caution.” Mr. Freier noted that the ruling is significant “because federal courts have recently been very pro-arbitration and have been mandated to be so by the Supreme Court.” Mr. Freier elaborated saying that the NLRB ruling will encourage employers to more careful than ever before with the language used in their arbitration clauses “with a particular focus on what’s right above the signature line.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Mr. Freier is a member of the Employment Law and Appellate Practice Groups.

Dina Mastellone Recently Featured in Article

Partner Dina M. Mastellone was recently featured in a article entitled “Social Media Bans in College Sports Offer Lessons for Enterprises.” In the article, Ms. Mastellone discusses recent policies that restrict social media use by collegiate athletes and offers insight into questions regarding colleges’ and employers’ restrictions on social media when balanced with freedom of speech rights. For the full feature and Ms. Mastellone’s advice on how employers can avoid trouble with the NLRB, please click here.

Dina M. Mastellone is the Director of the Human Resource Training & Audit Programs Group and a member of the Employment Law & Litigation Practice Group.

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