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Scura, Wigfield, Heyer, Stevens & Cammarota Blog

Mark T. Matri


Recent Posts

Disorderly Persons Offenses in NJ & Conditional Dismissal

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The State of New Jersey does not use the often-heard terminology of “felonies” and “misdemeanors” when classifying criminal offenses. Rather, New Jersey classifies criminal infractions as either indictable offenses (felonies) or disorderly persons offenses and/or petty disorderly persons offenses (misdemeanors). A majority of criminal cases heard in New Jersey are disorderly persons offenses, However, disorderly persons offenses are not considered “crimes” in New Jersey. N.J.S.A. 2C:1-4(c). Despite not being considered crimes, a disorderly person offense conviction will still appear on a criminal background check. Therefore, if you are facing a disorderly persons offense or a petty disorderly persons offense, you should consult an experienced defense attorney.

Who Will Benefit From Your Life Insurance Policy?

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Life insurance policies are a frequently utilized estate planning tool. A life insurance policy is a contract between the insurer and the insured for the benefit of the beneficiary. Vasconi v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America, 124 N.J. 338, 351 (1991). The insurer is the company or entity that issues the policy. The insured is the individual upon who’s life the policy is issued. The beneficiary is the person named by the insured who will receive the death benefit proceeds upon the insured’s death. In other words, as long as policy premiums are paid, upon the insured’s death, the death benefit proceeds are paid to the beneficiary named in the policy.

ENFORCING INTERLOCUTORY ORDERS

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“Lawsuits are war. It’s as simple as that and they all begin the same way; a declaration of war: the complaint.” -John Grisham, A Civil Action. After the complaint, the war is waged through discovery until final judgment or settlement. Litigation attorneys are constantly strategizing, planning and calculating how to gain the competitive advantage. We are trained to wage these wars against our adversaries in a civil, professional manner. Sometimes civility and professionalism break down in the process. Regardless, during the lawsuit, one party may feel that the other party is not fighting fair by disobeying court orders. It is incumbent upon the aggrieved party to level the battlefield by forcing compliance with the court’s orders. This is especially true in the discovery context. This article details the usage of a Motion to Enforce Litigants Rights as a tool to keep you adversary honest.

Making Decisions for Elderly Loved Ones

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As we move through life, our parents who cared for and protected us in our youth often become the ones in need of care and protection. Illness, disease and natural aging erodes memory, faculties and routine decision-making skills. This is undoubtedly a confusing and frightening experience for the parent who now struggles with day to day activities. It is equally taxing on the children who must balance the emotions and responsibilities they feel while witnessing their once revered and trusted parent deteriorate. At some point, it may become necessary for the child to make decisions in the best interest of the elderly parent regarding their finances or medical treatments. New Jersey law recognizes two simple documents through which the elderly parent can voluntarily cede decision making power to a trusted individual in the event of incapacity. These documents are called powers of attorney and advance directives for health care. The contents of this article will analyze and explain the process and benefits to having a power of attorney and advance health care directive. 

A New Jersey Residential Foreclosure Road Map

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Foreclosure is the judicial process by which a lender takes title and possession to property after a homeowner stops making mortgage payments. Generally, a “mortgage” is comprised of a promissory note (the “Note”) and a mortgage (the “Mortgage”). The Note memorializes the money lent to the homeowner to fund the purchase, the terms of repayment, and the borrowers promise to repay the money lent. The Mortgage is the “security” for the Note i.e. it gives the lender the right to take the property if the Note isn’t repaid. The Sheriff then sells the property at public auction and the money received is given to the lender as repayment for the Note. New Jersey is a judicial foreclosure state, meaning the lender must go through the courts to foreclose upon a property. A lender cannot resort to “self-help” by changing locks or just showing up and demanding the owner vacate the premises. 

Putting the Screws to a Bad Home Improvement Contractor

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Remodeling or adding to your home is often a necessary undertaking to stay current and accommodate a growing family. It is also a stressful and costly endeavor. During the process, homeowners struggle for months, if not years, over plans, drawings, finances, carpets vs. hardwood, paint color and especially, which contractor to trust with the job. These are just the initial stressors of the undertaking and can be the least of a homeowner’s problems if the wrong contractor is hired. Luckily, the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (“NJCFA”) applies to most “home improvement contracts” and can be useful tool in the event of unforeseen delays, defects, disagreements, or rising costs.

New Jersey's Wage and Hour Law

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New Jersey’s Wage and Hour Law (the “NJW&H Law”) protects the rights of most hourly employees. If you are an employee being paid on hourly basis, whether minimum wage or not, it is important to understand the rights afforded to you by the State of New Jersey. After reading this information, if you believe your employer is violating the NJW&H Law, contact our offices and request a consultation to evaluate your claims.

Defending Against a Construction Lien Claim

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If you are a property owner who has had a construction lien filed against your property, you may have defenses allowing you to discharge the lien at the lien claimant’s expense. Liens against property are problematic because they can prevent transfers of the property or impede your ability to obtain a mortgage. This article will explore some of the defenses available in the event a construction lien has been claimed against your property.

The Added Requirements of Residential Construction Liens

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For most residential construction contractors, the risk of non-payment is a threat that, if realized, can cease the day-to-day operations of the business. Non-payment usually stems from a dispute between the owner and general contractor (“GC”) regarding the quality of the work. Regardless of whether you are a GC or subcontractor, the filing of a construction lien is a powerful weapon against non-payment. In the residential construction context, the filing of a construction lien has additional requirements above and beyond that of commercial construction. This article will discuss the added requirements necessary to validly record a residential construction lien claim.

Plaintiff Seeking: Immediate Relief

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The primary relief sought by plaintiffs in civil actions is money damages. Over the life of the lawsuit, the typical plaintiff fears a defendant will take actions which increase those damages, negatively impact plaintiff’s good will, or make it impossible for plaintiff to collect on any resulting award. In such situations, a plaintiff may apply for temporary restraints or a preliminary injunction to “stop the bleeding” and maintain the status quo while the lawsuit is pending.    

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