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The information contained on this blog is provided as a public service for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a comprehensive statement of the law. The reader is advised to check for changes to current law and to consult with a qualified attorney on any legal issue before taking action of any kind. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or to create or imply the formation of a lawyer-client relationship between the reader and this firm.

Monday, January 1, 2018

DISCOVERY IN BETH DIN AND OTHER ARBITRATION TRIBUNALS



Obtaining discovery in a Beth Din is quite a lot different than in court or in the more national, secular, arbitration tribunals. The Federal and State judiciary forums have developed extensive and comprehensive rules of exchanging documents in discovery and obtaining pretrial depositions in order to avoid trial by ambush before jury or the bench. This discovery process is subject to abuse and adds many months, if not years, onto a process before there can be a final resolution of the dispute.

Arbitration is often chosen to avoid the rigors of discovery in an effort to obtain some rough justice in a relatively short period of time. To that means, many arbitration tribunals like AAA, JAMS and FINRA discourage or outright prohibit pretrial depositions, yet at the same time they are open to a more broad scope exchange of documents. This is not to say that one cannot get pretrial depositions at the AAA, but it is more uncommon.

SEXUAL HARRASSMENT SETTLEMENTS NON-DEDUCTABLE IF THERE IS A NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT




This past year has shown that many famous men had covered up their predatory sexual abuse of women (and sometimes other men) by non-disclosure agreements. $45 million dollars were paid by or on behalf of Fox News host Bill O’Reilly to settle sexual harassment claims, almost none of which was publicly revealed due to confidentiality agreements.

Congress has sought to do something about this in the new tax law but, in most cases, it will have little or no effect on big businesses, religious organizations or Congressmen who abuse. It will harm little businessmen who care about their reputations and it will even harm victims of abuse. The Internal Revenue Code was amended to read that no tax deduction will be allowed for any settlement or payment made related to sexual harassment or abuse if such settlement is subject to a non-disclosure agreement. It also forbids anyone from deducting attorney’s fees arising from such a settlement. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Can an employer video record its employees in the workplace?



Oftentimes, businesses would like to monitor their employees (beyond standard security reasons) during work hours to keep on top of the situation. This is especially prevalent in construction sites, warehouses, and the like but are sometimes used within standard offices as well. The question is, can an employer legally do this, and if so does the company need to notify the employees about the surveillance.

The short answer is yes, but with a few caveats.

How to execute a will that will hold up legally and halachicly.


As it is well-known, that according to Jewish law there are many strict rules for wills and inheritance (Yerusha in Hebrew). The basic rules that people commonly wish to circumvent are the requirement that a man’s sons are his sole heirs, and the bechor (legal firstborn) would receive a double share. Wives and single daughters receive living expenses from the male heirs, although to fully comprehend these divisions requires much scholarly study and is beyond the scope of this article.

The issue with writing a simple will that allows the wife to inherit fully, or all children to receive equal portions, is that the contract does not take effect until after death, at which time a person has no authority to make monetary transfers according to Jewish law. The Rabbis therefore advise a method to enable a will that accords with halacha and will be upheld in Beth Din. There are three basic steps to the procedure:


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

NJSLAW CLE: Mortgage Contingency Clause and Ethical Issues in NJ Real Estate Contracts



The mortgage contingency clause is one of the most important clauses in real estate contracts. However, many attorneys don’t bother to read it. This is a mistake since the terms of the clause, which may differ from contract to contract, can have an immense impact on your client.  
In this program, Alexander Novak and Kim Juhase, will provide an overview of this clause and will discuss the problems that could arise if the wrong language is used. In the second half of the program, they will discuss possible ethical problems that might arise in real estate transactions. They will also provide a brief overview of NY law for those who are dually admitted.
By the program’s end, Juhase and Novak will aim to answer the following questions:
  • What are the best terms for the Buyer or the Seller?
  • To whom must the Buyer apply for a mortgage loan and in what time period?
  • Do conditional commitments satisfy the contract?
  • What happens when a mortgage commitment is revoked by the lender?
  • How can one avoid malpractice or a grievance complaint in real estate transactions?

Learning Objectives:
  1. Understand how different terms on a mortgage contingency clause affect your client
  2. Learn how to avoid ethical problems in real estate transactions


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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March Madness: Is NCAA Tournament Gambling Legal?

March Madness is here, and all over America people will be furiously filling out their brackets. Whether you join an office pool or a competition with friends, everyone usually throws a few bucks in the pot for the winner. According to the American Gaming Association, 40 million people fill out brackets each March and will wager an estimated $10.4 billion this year. Of that amount only $65 million is bet legally, with $2 billion being bet in the kind of pools in which you're probably partaking.

As a matter of state law, pay-to-enter NCAA Tournament pools are illegal if they constitute "games of chance." Courts apply various different tests to determine if a game constitutes as “chance”. Under all tests, the likelihood is that NCAA Tournament pools would involve a high level of chance. Remember a couple years ago, when Warren Buffet offered 1 billion dollars for anyone that could predict a perfect bracket? While that was a much longer shot (1 in 9.2 quintillion to be exact) than just coming in first place in your pool, it just goes to show how unpredictable the whole game is. This year Buffet is actually giving any Berkshire Hathaway employee, that can pick the Sweet 16 correctly, $1 million a year, for life. Only 14 out over 11 million brackets predicted that correctly in2015.