Majors Law Firm P.C.

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Are Municipal Fire Companies Subject to the Open Public Records Act?

August 30th, 2017 | Written by Richard P. Cushing, Esq.

Background For a number of years, there have been vexing questions as to whether volunteer fire companies are considered public entities or simply a group of volunteers who get together to fight fires.  The uncertainty arises from the fact that fire companies consist of a group of self-governing individuals who volunteer to fight fires without significant oversight from municipal officials.  Volunteer firemen often raise significant funds for their operation; they independently elect officers, provide for their own training and often purchase significant amounts of their own equipment.  On the other hand, the municipality in which they are located must permit their operation, often makes significant financial contributions, and frequently approves membership.  Many municipalities have ordinances establishing the creation or recognition of volunteer fire departments and those ordinances exercise various levels of control.  In addition, municipalities fund large capital expenditures for heavy fire equipment and make Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) contributions.  Furthermore, while volunteer fire companies agree to fill the municipal function of firefighting, they also operate as social or fraternal organizations that provide recreational, educational and other benefits to members.

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Out-of-State Relocation Standard in Divorce Cases Changed to “Best Interest” Analysis

August 17th, 2017 | Written by William J. Rudnik, Esq.

In New Jersey, the statute N.J.S.A. 9:2-2 allows a parent to relocate out of state with the parties’ children if the other parent agrees or if the court issues an order allowing the move.  In cases where there is a true shared custody arrangement or equal parenting time, the court would apply a “best interest” analysis, similar to the analysis in deciding custody of children in a divorce case.  In cases where there is a parent who has primary residential custody (parent who has the majority of overnight parenting time), the standard the court applied for the last sixteen years in these relocation cases is set forth in Baures v. Lewis, 167 N.J. 91 (2001).

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Name Change of a Minor in the Twenty-First Century

August 11th, 2017 | Written by Diana N. Fredericks, Esq.

In June 2017, the trial court published an opinion addressing a matter of first impression in the State of New Jersey[i].   Plainitff, the mother of the 16-year-old child, petitioned the Court to allow the parties’ transgendered child to change his name from Veronica to Trevor.

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Court Rules Against Employer for Not Accommodating Employee’s Religious Belief of “Mark of the Beast”

June 28th, 2017 | Written by Leslie A. Parikh, Esq.

Recently, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a near $600,000 award against an employer for failing to accommodate an employee’s religious belief after a biometric hand scanner was installed in the workplace (EEOC v. Consol Energy). The employee claimed that the scanner would label him with the “Mark of the Beast,” contrary to his evangelical Christian religious beliefs.

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What Happens If Your Divorce Case Goes to Trial?

June 23rd, 2017 | Written by William J. Rudnik, Esq.

The goal of every person getting divorced should be to settle the case as quickly, painlessly and inexpensively as possible.  There are many ways to settle a divorce case, including through the collaborative divorce process and mediation.  There are also certain events within the court system that are designed to help settle a case that is in the litigation process.  Although rare, unfortunately there are some cases that require a trial.  If you find yourself in that situation, what can you expect and how can you prepare for a trial as a divorce litigant?

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What Happens When You Don’t Have an Estate Plan?

June 16th, 2017 | Written by Daniel S. Makoski, Esq.

There are two ways in which your property can be apportioned to family and friends after your passing.

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Should I File a Motion in the Midst of a Divorce Settlement?

June 15th, 2017 | Written by Diana N. Fredericks, Esq.

One of the most frequently asked questions in a divorce, custody, or support proceeding is “when and how do I get before the judge to have him/her decide my case/issue?”  Unfortunately, it is a somewhat complicated, multifaceted answer.

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City’s Delay in Abating Dangerous Condition Deemed Not Unreasonable

May 23rd, 2017 | Written by Tara St. Angelo, Esq.

The Appellate Division recently held that a delay of more than one year in abating a “dangerous condition” was not “palpably unreasonable” because the municipality was required to publicly bid a contract for such repairs.

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Court Finds That Uncooperative OPRA Litigant is Not Entitled to Attorney’s Fees

May 22nd, 2017 | Written by Tara St. Angelo, Esq.

Typically, a prevailing party in a lawsuit seeking disclosure of records under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) is entitled to attorney’s fees.  N.J.S.A. 47:1A-6.  However, the Court held in Grieco v. Borough of Haddon Heights, No. L-2876-15 (N.J. Super. Ct. Law Div. Oct. 19, 2015) that an uncooperative litigant who rushed into Court instead of alerting the municipality to an obvious mistake in its production of documents was not entitled to attorney’s fees.

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The Right of First Refusal for Parenting Time…a Blessing or a Curse?

April 24th, 2017 | Written by Diana N. Fredericks, Esq.

Many parents want to include a right of first refusal provision in their custody and parenting time or marital settlement agreements.  Such a clause requires a parent to contact the other parent if they are going to be unavailable to the children for a certain period.  This requires the parent to do so before contacting a third party to watch the children. 

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