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Albert Buzzetti & Associates, L.L.C.

New Jersey Legal Issues Blog

Limits on downtown chain stores in Jersey City under attack

Most residents of New Jersey associate chain stores with large shopping centers or roadside strip malls. Four years ago, Jersey City passed an ordinance that is intended to prevent chain store outlets from locating in the downtown business area. Now the owner of a downtown building has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the Jersey City ordinance is unconstitutional and nothing more than a "publicity stunt" intended to help Jersey City's mayor Steve Fulop succeed in his run for governor.

The ordinance limits chain stores to 30% of ground floor commercial space in buildings located in the city's redevelopment zones. The restrictions apply only to portions of downtown Jersey City and do not affect large portions of the city's Hudson River waterfront. The business lawsuit alleges that the restrictions violate both the commerce and equal protection clauses of the United States Constitution and also violate the state's zoning laws.

Making a case for premises liability

If you are at someone’s home or business when you sustain an injury, you may be able to seek financial compensation if certain circumstances are present. Many people refer to these injuries as “slip-and-fall” cases, but you can hurt yourself many ways on both public and private property.

Recently, ABC reported that a man in Woodbridge was attempting litigation by faking a fall inside someone’s business. He mistakenly believed that all he had to do was fall down and he could hold the owner liable. What he failed to realize was that the process is quite a bit more complicated than that.

New Jersey enacts law that voids non-disclosure clauses

One of the greatest barriers to settling lawsuits by existing or former employees is the employer's fear that other employees will learn about the settlement and start their own lawsuits. For many years New Jersey lawyers have inserted non-disclosure clauses in employment contracts and business litigation settlement agreements that prevent both the employer and the employee from telling anyone about the terms of the settlement.

These clauses have proved effective in preventing wide-dissemination of the terms of the settlement agreement. In recent years, however, employee advocates have sought legislation that would permit employees to disclose the terms of any settlement agreement that involved discrimination or sexual harassment in order to pave the way for similar lawsuits by other victims of discrimination or harassment.

Three injured in Bobcat accident in New Jersey

Bobcats are small versions of larger front-end loaders, and they are familiar sights whenever heavy lifting is required in small spaces. The handy little vehicles generally do not travel on highways in New Jersey, and they are seldom involved in motor vehicle accidents. A tragic exception occurred on March 4, 2019, when a Bobcat was being used to remove snow from a footbridge on Route 208 in Passaic County.

A Hawthorne Borough public works employee was using a Bobcat to clear snow from a pedestrian overpass over Route 208. While the Bobcat was on the bridge, a portion of its floor underneath the Bobcat collapsed, causing the Bobcat to plunge onto the highway below. The Bobcat struck a van that was heading north on Route 208. The operator of the Bobcat was seriously injured in the fall. According to news photographs, the Bobcat struck the van on the passenger side and nearly crushed the vehicle. The front seat passenger in the van was badly injured. The driver of the van also suffered injuries, but he was treated and released from a local hospital.

Bus company to pay $7 million in motor vehicle accident case

Yellow school buses are generally regarded as a benign presence on New Jersey's roads and highways, but occasionally they become involved in serious motor vehicle accidents.

For example, a wrongful death case out of Monroe Township, Gloucester County, involving a school bus and its driver was recently settled for $7 million. The money is to be paid to the estate of a man killed when the bus ran a traffic light and hit his car. A look inside the case shows how lax performance standards and other factors turn these buses into serious traffic hazards.

Driver of box truck killed in collision with tractor-trailer

Trucks traveling on interstate highways often appear to be invulnerable to people who are driving sedans and SUVs. These trucks travel at high speeds, and their size makes them seem impervious to harm in a collision. Unfortunately, when trucks collide with other trucks, they yield to the same laws of physics that govern all traffic accidents. A recent accident on I-95 near Teaneck, New Jersey, shows how one large truck can seriously damage another large truck and cause fatal results.

According to police and news reports, a box truck owned by a firm based in New York slammed into the rear end of a tractor-trailer operated by ShopRite. When police arrived, the cab of the box truck was pinned under the rear end of the big rig. Firefighters from Hackensack and Teaneck were able to remove the driver from the box truck, but he had already died. Police said that the front of the box truck was crumpled and that the windshield was shattered.

You may not have to foot the bill for bedbug bites

Bedbugs are downright gross. Even though you may not be able to see these tiny critters, they can cause some painful sores. Even worse, you may carry insects home with you after staying at a hotel or private rental property. If you have suffered an injury or financial loss from bedbugs, you may be able to receive compensation

In New Jersey, landlords, hotel operators and store managers have a duty to provide safe conditions. When it comes to bedbugs, these individuals must work to prevent a bedbug infestation. If one occurs, they must act diligently to address the problem. If you have had a run-in with bedbugs at a rental property, store or hotel, you may not have to foot the bill for your damages. 

USPS settles with family for $4.9 million

Crosswalks can be dangerous hazards, both for pedestrians and drivers, especially in urban areas such as Elizabeth, New Jersey. In 2015, a grandmother was attempting to cross a street in Elizabeth while carrying her two-year-old granddaughter and four-year-old grandson. The three stepped in front of a United States Postal Service truck with tragic consequences.

The grandmother was attempting to cross Rahway Avenue, a major thoroughfare in Elizabeth. She was carrying her granddaughter and guiding her grandson by holding his hand. A mail truck turning into Rahway Avenue struck the three while they were in the crosswalk. The granddaughter was killed, and the grandmother and grandson suffered injuries.

Sale of Westminster Choir College triggers all-out opposition

Westminster Choir College in Princeton is one of the most famous musical schools in the world. Since its founding in 1920 and its move to Princeton in 1932, the college has trained thousands of musicians, conductors and scholars. In the 1990s, the college was facing financial problems, and it merged with nearby Rider University. Rider has now created a hornet's nest of a dispute by announcing the proposed sale of the choir college to a firm located in China and partially owned by the Chinese government.

Many people do not want the sale to close. Two business lawsuits are pending in state court that would have the effect of barring the sale. One lawsuit has been commenced by the Westminster Foundation, a group of alumni, donors and other stakeholders, and the other has been commenced by Princeton Theological Seminary. The Westminster Foundation is asserting that Rider has no power to sell the choir college to any business entity or government-controlled entity because the college is a private nonprofit entity.

Understanding motor vehicle accident reconstruction

Many newspaper reports on traffic accidents in New Jersey describe the chronology of the accident in great detail, but many such reports end with the words, "The cause of the accident is under investigation." What is being investigated? Who is doing the investigation? Why is the investigation still underway? The answers to these questions depend upon the number of vehicles involved, where the accident happened, how many people were injured or killed and which police department has jurisdiction.

Most police departments in New Jersey have departments that specialize in investigating accidents and determining their cause. A number of private engineering firms are also trained in accident investigation, and they provide services to police departments that do not have an independent accident investigation unit and to attorneys who may be representing parties seeking damages. All these entities refer to what they do as "accident reconstruction." Reconstructing a motor vehicle accident involves a careful study of the scene, preservation of evidence, evaluation of weather conditions and application of scientific principles.

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