The Summer/Fall 2017 NPD Newsletter is Here!

Beware of Unreasonable Engineering Inspection Fees for New Development

Under the New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law, the municipal engineer’s inspection fees are, except in extraordinary circumstances, set at a maximum of 5% of the cost of the new improvement for which a performance guarantee is posted.  See N.J.S.A. 40:55D-53(h). This 5% figure, however, does not differentiate between large residential projects where on site improvements are ultimately dedicated to the municipality, and private commercial developments where the obligation to build and maintain all on site improvements is the exclusive obligation of the developer.

Notably, under N.J.S.A. 40:55D-53.2(e) (and notwithstanding the 5% maximum), all professional charges or inspection of improvements shall be “reasonable and necessary, given the status and progress of the application or construction” (emphasis added).  That same statute goes on to state that professionals shall not review items which are subject to approval by any state governmental agency and/or not under municipal jurisdiction (i.e., the New Jersey Department of Transportation or a County Planning Department).  Furthermore, under that same section inspection fees must be charged only for actual work shown on the site plan or required by an approving resolution.  The statute also provides that all professional charges for inspection of improvements shall be reasonable and necessary, given the status and progress of the construction. 

If you are a commercial developer and believe you are being over-charged by a municipal engineer for their inspection of your development, please contact Steve Nehmad, Esquire at (609) 927-1177.

 

Employers Cannot Restrict Employees’ Rights Under the NJ Law Against Discrimination

The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that the 2-year statute of limitations under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”), N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 et seq., cannot be shortened by an employment agreement or contract.  In Rodriguez v. Raymours Furniture, 225 N.J. 343 (2016), Raymours had employees sign an agreement requiring employees to file any workplace discrimination complaint within six (6) months of the incident.  In a unanimous ruling, the Court held that provision to be invalid and unenforceable.  Specifically, the Court ruled that “the contractual shortening of the LAD’s two-year limitations period for a private action is contrary to the public policy expressed in the LAD.” 

Know your rights as an employee and obligations as an employer under the LAD and other employee protection laws.  Contact our litigation attorney Ray Went Esq. at (609) 927-1177.

 

If A Lawsuit Or Other Claim Has Been Raised Against You, Find Out Whether You Are Covered By Your Insurance Policy “As Soon As Practical.”

Our state Supreme Court has re-stated an old maxim…if you are notified of an insurable claim against you or your company (i.e., you have been sued and served with court papers), you must notify your insurance carrier “as soon as practical” to preserve any coverage you may have. Templo Fuent De Vida Corp. v. National Union Fire Insurance Coverage,  224 N.J. 189 (2016).  When you have a “claims made” policy (a policy that requires you report a loss before the policy term expires), it is imperative to notify your insurance carrier as soon as practical if you want to pursue coverage for a claim.  As the Supreme Court Stated in Templo: “The Prompt notice requirement and the requirement that the claim be made within the policy period in ‘claims made’ policies maximize the insurer’s opportunity to investigate, set reserves and control or participate in negotiations with the third party asserting the claim against the insured.” The Court held further that failure to timely notify your insurance company of a claim may negate coverage, even if the insurance company is not prejudiced by the delay.

Of course, some of the most common worries are (1) will my premium go up and, if so, (2) is it really worth it to notify my insurance company of a claim? These questions often require the help of qualified legal counsel and your broker. At the very least, you should promptly find out whether you have possible coverage for a claim against you. If you have any questions about your insurance coverage and whether you should file a claim under your policy, call our insurance litigation attorney Ray Went at (609) 927-1177.

 

Residency Requirements Strictly Apply to Children Attending School Within A Particular District

Under New Jersey law, a free public education is required for children who are domiciled in the district, i.e., the child of a parent or guardian, or an adult student, whose permanent home is located within the district. A home is permanent when the parent, guardian or adult student intends to return to it when absent and has no present intent of moving from it, notwithstanding the existence of homes or residences elsewhere.  Additionally, a child may attend school in a district if that child is living with a person, other than the parent or guardian, who is domiciled in the district and is supporting the student without compensation, as if the student were his or her own child, because the parent cannot support the child due to family or economic hardship. If a school district believes a child is not living in the district, the school district may investigate a student’s residency status and ask for current proof of eligibility. If a school thinks an enrolled student is no longer eligible to attend the school, it must ask the board of education to remove the child from the school. The child’s parent, guardian, or caregiver has a right to have a hearing before the board of education, but if the district proves the child is not permitted to attend school in the district, the parent or guardian may be required to pay the school district tuition for the time the student attended public school there. For example, if the case is lost and the school district spends $10,000 per student each school year (10 months) and the student attended the school for three months while the case was pending, then the parent, guardian, or caregiver could be required to pay $3,000 to the district. A school district can collect tuition from a parent, guardian, or from a caregiver who resides in the district, for any period of ineligible attendance, even if an appeal is not filed.  For more information about school district residency requirements, please contact Eric Goldstein, Esquire at (609) 927-1177.