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AZRAK & ASSOCIATES A T T O R N E Y S A T L A L.L.C. W February, 2004 L E AG U E O F M U N I C I PA L I T I E S 627 Newark Pompton Tnpk. AT L A N T I C C I T Y N J Pompton Plains, NJ 07444 Azrak & Associates, L.L.C. was an Tel: (973) 839-9062 exhibitor at the League of Fax: (973) 839-2743 Municipalities held in November in E-mail: Atlantic City, New Jersey. Our email@example.com Website: Municipal Land Use Department www.azraklaw.com continues to grow. Our water golf ball was a big hit and the only question we will not answer is the trick on how to get the ball on the tee and to stay there - we may Contributors: use the game at the 2004 convention Fredric F. Azrak, Esq. and we do not want to make it too A NEW YEAR GREETING Peter V. McArthur, Esq. easy. Ira E. Weiner, Esq. FROM AZRAK & Charles E. Murray, III, Esq. Azrak & Associates is looking A S S O C I AT E S , L . L . C . Jane L. Caiazzo, Esq. forward to again being represented at the 2004 League of Municipalities. We are pleased to inform our clients who customarily receive a holiday card from THE ECONOMIC Azrak & Associates that we have again this GROWTH & TAX RELIEF year opted to make a donation in excess of In This Issue: that cost to worthwhile charities in yours RECONCILIATION ACT League of Municipalities: and our staffs name. Atlantic City, NJ . . . .1 Fredric F. Azrak, Esq. We at Azrak & Associates, L.L.C. wanted to The Economic Growth and The Economic Growth and Tax include all of our clients in a very special Tax Relief Reconciliation Relief Reconciliation Act passed by holiday greeting through donations to the Act . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Congress in 2001 phases out the children residing at the Wanaque Center, A New Year Greeting From federal estate tax credit for state Pediatric Department. They were in need Azrak & Associates, death taxes. The phase out period of a stereo and replacement toys for their LLC. . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 will be complete in 2010, therefore it children and we have donated these items as is essential to review your present Car Insurance - Protect well as presenting a check in the amount of Your Legal Rights . . . . . .2 estate planning documents now to $250.00. Additionally, we have donated avoid unfavorable tax consequences. Expanding and Improving $100.00 to the Pequannock Food Pantry and Your Life Style - Call now to make an appointment to to $100.00 St. Mary's Food Pantry. We Third in a Series . . . .2 have us review your estate plan. hope this holiday greeting will bring a sense Based upon your individual needs, of the spirit of the season. So You Want to Have a Party . . . . . . . . . . . .3 we can advise you which planning tools and strategies will work best to This newsletter hopefully provides you with Employee Arbitration minimize risk, avoid tax informative and interesting information Policy . . . . . . . . . . . .3 disadvantages and preserve about the law and our firm and serves as maximum estate benefits for your the messenger for a healthy New Year loved ones. greeting from all of us to all of you. CAR INSURANCE application. At the same time, the consequences disentitling you to insurance company did not get the vital insurance coverage, not to PROTECT YOUR LEGAL premiums it would have been mention the potential criminal RIGHTS entitled to, which would have implications of committing covered the risk of paying PIP insurance fraud. You and your Ira E. Weiner, Esq. benefits to Paule. spouse should carefully review Fredric F. Azrak, Esq. together all insurance related The Supreme Court ultimately matters to be sure that there are no We all know how expensive auto ruled in favor of the insurance inaccuracies. Your insurance insurance is in New Jersey. Paule carrier, holding that it did not have coverage is too important to take Bastien learned the hard way that to pay Paule. The Court held that a lightly. lying to the insurance company is spouse is in a unique position to be no way to lower premium costs. aware of the other spouse’s Paule’s husband, Leonel, decided to interactions with the insurance EXPANDING AND save some money by not telling the carrier, and that responsible adults IMPROVING YOUR insurance company that he was should inform themselves LIFESTYLE married when he applied for auto concerning household insurance- insurance. Since the company Third in a series related matters. The Court went on thought there was only one driver to say that the strong public policy in the household, the premiums against insurance fraud favored Peter V. McArthur were lower than they otherwise Fredric F. Azrak treating Paule in the same manner would have been. as her husband. The court felt that The next Board to discuss in our The chickens came home to roost a allowing Paule to recover in these series is the Zoning Board of year later when Paule was involved circumstances would result in a Adjustment. It consists of seven in an auto accident and filed for disincentive to a married insurance regular and two alternate members. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) applicant to tell the truth. Their terms are for four years and benefits under the policy. Those two years respectively and they Any attempt to try and circumvent benefits normally cover medical must be residents of the the Court ruling by submitting the expenses of family members community. bills to any health insurance the residing in the policyholder’s Bastien’s may have had would also The jurisdiction of the Zoning household. When the insurance fail. The law provides that when Board is as follows. They can hear company realized that the the PIP carrier is selected as the appeals from a decision from the application submitted by Leonel primary carrier (all insureds have a town zoning code official. They had not been truthful, it started suit right to designate either their PIP or can also hear requests for an to declare the policy void. The case their health carrier as the primary interpretation of the zone map or went all the way up to The insurer for accident related medical zoning ordinance. Examples can Supreme Court of New Jersey. expenses), the health carrier as a be as follows: If Leonel had been injured, it secondary insurer is only would have been an easy case - responsible for certain defined • There may be a question of after all, he was the one who lied uncovered “allowable” expenses. whether some use is permitted in and the Court would have had no Under the circumstances, these the town; trouble ruling in the company’s expenses would not be considered allowable. Moreover, the Court • That a commercial use (i.e. an favor. But the Court assumed that would be unlikely to put the burden automobile repair business) is now Paule did not know of her of the insured’s fraud on the back not permitted in a certain husband’s misrepresentation, and of the health insurance company. neighborhood presently, but the that she was an innocent spouse. owner wants to expand his The Court had to decide whether The moral of the story is that business; she should suffer, even though she misrepresentations on an insurance had no knowledge of the false application may result in severe February, 2004 Azrak & Associates Page 2 PRESS RELEASE TO: ALL CLIENTS OF AZRAK & ASSOCIATES, L.L.C. FROM: FREDRIC F. AZRAK, ESQ. The Municipal Land Use section of our firm (zoning and variances) has won a groundbreaking decision in the Superior Court. Representing a client opposing the development of one of the largest gas station / convenience stores in New Jersey, the New Jersey Superior Court has dismissed the oil companies application for development. Azrak & Associates argued successfully that despite nearly three years of hearings at the Board of Adjustment the oil companies application should be thrown out due to a conflict of interest when an expert for the oil company, negotiated and became employed by the township during the pendency of the application. The Court agreed with Mr. Azrak’s position and, thereafter, noted the proceedings were so infected with “the appearance of impropriety” that it could not be salvaged - “the egg could not be unscrambled”. This case is a first of its kind in New Jersey and provides the results of the service we have written in our article series entitled “Expanding and Improving Your Lifestyle”. February, 2004 Azrak & Associates Page 2 • A developer may wish to put someone who is intoxicated and intoxicated adults. Figuly v. Knoll, more condominiums on a particular injures someone in an automobile 185 N.J. Super. 477 (Law Div. property then what is presently accident. That is both regulated by 1982). allowed; the Drunken Driving Statutes in the State of New Jersey, as well as, the In this way, social host liability • Someone wants to build a case law for negligence. The issue became firmly established by the home larger than what is permitted; that has developed in the last New Jersey laws by 1984. Kelly v. fifteen to twenty years extends that Gwinnell, 96 N.J. 538, 548 (1984). The examples are numerous. However, back in 1984, a host was liability when someone is served A Zoning Board can have duel alcohol and then injures someone. only liable if he directly provided functions whereas a Planning The issue is: Can the injured person liquor to a social guest and Board’s powers are different. sue the party who served the continues to do so even beyond the alcohol, as well as the person who point at which he knows the guest Most of the time either a Planning is intoxicated and does so knowing created the injury, i.e. the other Board or a Zoning Board of that the guest will, shortly driver? Adjustment can conduct business thereafter, operate a motor vehicle. when a majority of the authorized As recently as 1959, the common Under these circumstances, the host membership is present. This is law in New Jersey, and generally was liable for any foreseeable called a quorum. There are throughout the country, was that a consequences to third parties that different voting criteria for each cause of action for negligence result from the guest’s drunken Board and, if the need arises, Azrak could not lie against a social host driving. & Associates will guide you who served alcohol to an through that process as well. intoxicated individual. In the next series of this article, you will see how the State of New In 1959, however, the New Jersey Jersey and its legislators dealt with SO, YOU WANT TO HAVE Supreme Court made a watermark this issue and we will follow the A PARTY? decision finding tavern keepers history and development of this who serve a minor or obviously most interesting area of the law Part 1 of a 2 Part Series intoxicated person, can be liable for from 1984 through 2003. Naturally, negligence for an injury that an until you have read the entire series Charles E. Murray, III intoxicated individual causes to a of this area of the law, be careful in Fredric F. Azrak third-party. This line of cases having parties! You have a party. Someone is imposing liability on a tavern keeper, gave rise to legislation The solution: If something happens, intoxicated or drinks too much and known as the “Dram Shop Act.” contact Azrak & Associates. We injures someone on the way home can negotiate with your insurance in their car. You went away. Your In 1976, the law began changing company. son or daughter had a party. from just making commercial Someone got drunk and injured a tavern owners responsible and third-party on the way home. The stretching the liability to someone EMPLOYEE injured party is now suing you. who is a social host and serves ARBITRATION POLICY The good news: Your insurance alcohol at their home. In 1976, the Jane L. Caiazzo, Esq. may cover the damage. Appellate Division ruled that social Fredric F. Azrak, Esq. hosts would also be held liable for In this two-part series, you will be the results of their serving alcohol, In a small victory for employees, given the history of the but only if a minor was served. the New Jersey Supreme Court, has development of liability for serving unanimously ruled that employees alcohol in the State of New Jersey. Six years later, the Court decided who do not sign a form which that the adult/minor distinction did specifically requires them to You will find that New Jersey not hold water and extended arbitrate job related claims, may always imposed liability on liability for serving alcohol to not be forced to arbitrate. February, 2004 Azrak & Associates Page 3 A T T O R N E Y S A T L A W 627 Newark Pompton Turnpike Pompton Plains, NJ 07444 Tel: (973) 839-9062 Fax: (973) 839-2743 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.azraklaw.com Azrak & Associates, l.l.c. We’re On the Web! AZRAKLAW.COM Continued from page 3 The case decided by the Court, Leodori v. CIGNA reflecting the employee’s consent. Justice Verniero Corp, held that the inclusion of an arbitration policy in found that a company could not require a signature and a company handbook is not sufficient to bind the then assert that its omission is irrelevant to the employee. Generally, employers prefer arbitration to agreement’s validity. juries, which are thought to be more sympathetic to employee claims. The Court’s decision represents the third major ruling on employment arbitration clauses in recent years. In Paul Leodori, an attorney at CIGNA Insurance 2002, the Court in Martindale v. Sandvik, Inc., held that Company, alleged that he was fired after he filed a an arbitration clause contained in an employment CEPA complaint which was dismissed. CIGNA had an application was enforceable. Along these same lines, in arbitration policy and employee handbooks which 2001, the Court in Garfinkel v. Morristown Obstetrics provided for binding arbitration as the final resolution & Gynecology Associates, held that a policy waiving an process for employment related disputes. Mr. Leodori employee’s right to sue must be clear as to which signed an acknowledgement indicating that he had statutory causes of action apply. received the handbook, however, he failed to sign an acknowledgement on a form entitled “Employee It is clear from these decisions that arbitration Handbook Receipt and Agreement.” agreements in employment contracts are enforceable, however, they must be clear, specific and duly signed The Court held that a waiver of rights could only result by an employee before a court will find them binding. where there is an explicit, affirmative agreement If you would like to receive newsletter issues, informative flyers, and other data prepared by Azrak & Associates, L.L.C., please call us at 973-839-9062 or e-mail us at email@example.com with your business or personal e-mail address. Feel free to include areas or particular interest to you.
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