Student Alleges Discrimination Against Princeton University

By J.P. McCormick, Summer Associate

A sophomore student at Princeton University has filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination and emotional distress against the school and several administrators. The student, known in court papers as “W.P.,” claims that the University caused him significant harm after he was evicted from his freshman dorm, asked to withdraw from classes, and banned from campus following an attempted suicide attempt on school grounds.

In the lawsuit, “W.P.” asserts that the school “knew, or should have known, that this was against W.P.’s best interests and was likely to exacerbate his condition and cause him great emotional distress.” The complaint further alleges that “As the direct results of the defendants’ actions, he has experienced extreme embarrassment, stress, emotional pain and mental anguish, as well as out-of-pocket expenses and reputational injury … He will always be afraid that seeking the help of mental health professionals in a time of distress may lead to disaster.”

“W.P.” previously filed a July 2012 discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. The Office of Civil Rights initially dismissed the complaint in 2013, but “W.P.” has since refiled and the matter is still pending.

As this is being written, “W.P.” is remains enrolled at the University. For further information on this story, click here.

Bracing for Elder Care

By Annemarie Schreiber, Esq.

When a woman finds out that she is pregnant, in that moment her life changes dramatically. Similarly, employees who are faced with caring for elderly relatives can have their lives change just as quickly. The key difference is that with the addition to the family, a couple has several months to prepare, but when there is a need to take care of an elder relative, it requires immediate action with little to no time to plan.

The National Alliance of Caregivers has done extensive research on the impact of emergency elder care on work place productivity. For instance, a survey conducted by this group found that workers who care for elderly relatives accounted for roughly $34 billion annually between absenteeism, replacement costs and less productivity. More specifically:

81% of employee-caregivers routinely took time during the workday to make arrangements for their relative(s).

70% took days off to care for their relative(s).

64% left early or arrived late.

41% discussed their issues with their co-workers.

Companies are starting to realize the importance of having a system in place for helping employees cope with elder care. And although this number is increasing, it is still about one in four companies offering such a benefit, including such notable companies as Prudential Financial Inc., McGraw-Hill, Freddie Mac, Verizon Wireless, and IBM.

If your company does not offer any elder care benefits, you should consider either approaching them about instituting such a program, or taking the initiative and saving up paid time off. You should also be familiar with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave. While many believe the FMLA only works for maternity and paternity leave, under certain circumstances, it also applies for the care of an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition.

If you are a business owner or an employee looking for guidance on preparing for elder care, please contact Certified Elder Law Attorney Annemarie Schreiber at 732-797-1600 or by emailing her at ASchreiber@cldds.com.

Are the NY Giants Distributing Fraudulent Memorabilia? Eric Inselberg Thinks So.

By J.P. McCormick, Summer Associate

For those of you that are like me, you going through Sunday football withdrawal, and are counting down the days until Opening Day for baseball (sorry NBA and NHL).A sports memorabilia dealer, however, is trying to keep things interesting for us, and has sued the New York Giants. Eric Inselberg, a former Giants business associate, is suing the organization, not for breaking my heart this past season, but for allegedly selling doctored jerseys and helmets to make them appear used.

super-bowl-counterfeit-press-conferenceInselberg had a long standing relationship with the Giants, and for years bought legitimate jerseys and other items directly from the team, some of which wwere worn in games and some new. In a recently filed civil lawsuit, he alleges that quarterback Eli Manning, and other players and executives, directed various staff members to make the jerseys and helmets appear as if they had been used in games, and sell them according.

Inselberg’s attorneys insist that he is merely trying to recoup losses suffered by a 2011 indictment for two counts of mail fraud. He was being investigated pursuant to a joint task force between the Chicago U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI, addressing allegations of sports memorabilia fraud, particularly where dealers were falsely claiming that NFL gear was worn in-game. The lawsuit claims that in 2010 and 2011, members of the New York Giants were questioned regarding how much used apparel they sold to Inselberg, and lied to the investigators to protect themselves from the investigation. And then, based on the discrepancy of what the Giants told investigators, and what Inselberg claimed to have purchased from them as game-worn, he was investigated and charges were brought against him.

In May of 2013, an Illinois federal judge dismissed the criminal lawsuit against Inselberg. He claims that as a result of the lawsuit he lost millions of dollars in lost business, owes $700,000 in legal fees, and suffered emotional harm. The Giants have not remained silent about the lawsuit, and a spokesperson has said that Inselberg’s lawsuit is “completely without any merit whatsoever and we will defend it vigorously.”

We will continue to monitor this situation, and keep everyone updated as it evolves. In the meantime, let us know what you think about this on Facebook or on Twitter, @CLDDS.

JP2J.P. McCormick is in his third year at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, where he is an Executive Editor for the University of New Hampshire Law Review. Upon finishing his third year of law school, J.P. intends to practice in New Jersey, and is interested in all aspects of civil law. You can follow him on Twitter @JP_McCormick.

U.S. Supreme Court: Cases to Watch in 2014

By J.P. McCormick, Summer Associate

Turning the page at the end of the year carries with it much reflection on the prior year and much speculation about the new one. This is no different in Washington as the United States Supreme Court looks at its pending docket.  In October and November of 2013, the Court heard several cases in which it has not yet ruled, though the resolutions of which are expected in the first half of 2014. On October 8th, the Court heard McCutcheon v. Federal Election Committee, which deals with federal limits as to how much a person can contribute to campaigns, and whether such limitations violate the First Amendment. McCutcheon is a significant follow-up to the Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee (2010), in which the Court ruled that it was a violation of the First Amendment to limit corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections. On October 15th, the Court heard scotusoral arguments for Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, in which the Court must decide if Michigan violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment when it amended its state constitution to preclude racial preferences in programs such as college admissions. Schuette will revisit its decision from Fisher v. University of Texas (2013), where a Caucasian student who had been rejected by the University of Texas challenged the school’s policy of considering race when deciding upon which students to grant admission. In Fisher, the Court ruled that the school’s admission policy was appropriate under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The U.S. Supreme Court has also already scheduled oral arguments for several significant cases at the beginning of 2014. On January 13th, 2014, the Court will hear arguments in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, in which the Court will decide whether President Obama exceeded his recess-appointment power when he appointed three members to the NLRB when the Senate was not in session. The NLRB protects employees’ right to organize, and prevents and punishes unfair labor practices committed by private sector employers and unions. If the Court finds that the appointments were not valid, then all of the NLRB’s decisions from the last two years may not be valid and enforceable. On January 15th, the Court will hear arguments in McCullen v. Coakley, where the Court will decide whether Massachusetts’ law that created a zone around abortion clinics in which no one can approach pregnant women to discourage them with proceeding violates the First Amendment.

Although not scheduled yet, the Supreme Court has also agreed to review at least two Obamacare cases in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby  and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius. In these cases, the Court will decide whether the HHS Mandate requiring employers to provide contraception products and services violates the First Amendment or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act when applied to Christian business owners who morally object to abortion.

These are only a few of the cases the Supreme Court is set to decide upon, and if you have an opinion on which way you feel the cases will come out, please let us know @CLDDS on Twitter. We will also update developments on our blog.

JP2J.P. McCormick is in his third year at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, where he is an Executive Editor for the University of New Hampshire Law Review. Upon finishing his third year of law school, J.P. intends to practice in New Jersey, and is interested in all aspects of civil law. You can follow him on Twitter @JP_McCormick.

Tips for How to Handle Holiday Stress

By J.P. McCormick, Summer Associate

Everyone loves the holidays. There is snow on the ground, and all the kids are home from school. The food is delicious, and the drinks are flowing. The decorations are up, and lights are shining on trees and in the windows of homes warmed by fires. Often times, this is what we recall when we think of holidays in the past. Preparing for the holidays, and dealing with this very hectic time of year is often different from what our memories would have us believe. Everyone at CLDDS can relate to dealing with the holiday chaos, so here are some helpful tips to help with the seasonal stress.holiday-stress

  1. Don’t isolate yourself. If you feel left out, then take the initiative and get out of your house. Reach out to friends or social groups. Find ways to get involved in the community and help those less fortunate. Drive around and check out the great decorations around you, or go somewhere to hear live holiday music. Personally, I love going to coffee shops and just people-watch the last minute holiday shoppers.
  2. Be realistic with your expectations. The holidays are rarely ever perfect, even if we do look back and think that they were. Traditions are likely to change as people change, so if something happens differently than the way it used to, try to be open to it; hold on to the ones that mean the most, but be open to starting new traditions. Everything does not have to be perfect, and you cannot control everything.  Aren’t a few of your favorite memories about when things went wrong, like burning the ham, the squirrel in the fresh cut tree, or buying someone the same gift two years in a row?
  3. Create and stick to a reasonable budget. Before going to the grocery store and buying presents, know what you can reasonably afford to spend, and stick to it. While it may sound cliché, money can’t buy happiness, so focus on spending time with family and friends instead of worrying if you bought enough gifts. If you think you are overextended, then suggest family gift exchanges, that way you only have to buy one person one gift.
  4. Everything in moderation, including moderation itself. During the holidays we tend to overindulge, but consuming so many sweets and fatty foods can negatively affect moods. Try to remain physically active, stay well-rested, and temper how often you are eating sweets.
  5. Take a break and play a game. I know that you always have to make just one more dish, or wrap one present, but when surrounded by family or friends, take a break and play a game. It doesn’t matter if it is sledding, or a board game, or a Wii game that everyone can play, take a break and make some fun memories with the people around you.
  6. And always remember, friends don’t let friends drink eggnog alone (seasoned to taste with brandy, bourbon, or rum, as you see fit, and if you are over the age of 21).

These are just a few tips for how to deal with the holiday stress. If you have a helpful tip that works well for you, we would love for you to share it with us on Twitter @CLDDS, or on our Facebook page.

From all of us here at CLDDS, we hope you have a safe and happy holiday season.

JP2J.P. McCormick is in his third year at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, where he is an Executive Editor for the University of New Hampshire Law Review. Upon finishing his third year of law school, J.P. intends to practice in New Jersey, and is interested in all aspects of civil law. You can follow him on Twitter @JP_McCormick.

Former Toms River Regional Superintendent Stripped of Pension

Photo source: www.app.com.

Photo source: http://www.app.com.

Last Thursday, the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund unanimously voted to strip former Superintendent of the Toms River Regional Schools System, Michael J. Ritacco, of his annual pension, which was to be $155,040 per year.

Although stripped of his pension, the Teacher’s Pension and Annuity Fund did agree to return the $185,619 that Ritacco had contributed to the pension during his tenure in the school system; Assistant U.S. Attorney Bynon plans to pursue the $185,619 that Ritacco was refunded by the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund. Ritacco is currently serving an 11-year federal sentence, and he is not projected to be released until 2022.

When asked about the decision, Stephan R. Leone, Esq., partner of the firm Carluccio, Leone, Dimon, Doyle & Sacks, LLC, and attorney for the Toms River School Board, stated that “the Pension Fund made the appropriate decision, even though funds may have been available for restitution. The U.S. Attorney and the District are confident other assets are available to satisfy restitution order.”

Following the Ritacco scandal, the Toms River Regional Schools Board was determined to eliminate any trace of disparagement and corruption.  Beginning in 2011, voters in the district elected three new board members running together as the Clean Slate Team, followed by three more Clean Slate candidates in 2012. In January of 2013, the majority new board members began the process of appointing new professionals after a Fair and Open process. In recognition of the firm’s reputation for excellence and integrity, the Board retained Carluccio, Leone, Dimon, Doyle & Sacks as its attorney – Stephan R. Leone, Esq., joined by Annemarie Schreiber and Valter Must head up the team.

In November 2013, the remaining three former board members were replaced by three more Clean Slate candidates, completing the process that started three years before.  CLDDS continues to serve as Board Attorney zealously and with integrity.

Split Pea Soup Thursdays

By J.P. McCormick, Summer Associate

Split_Pea_Soup_with_Ham-muffins-580Normally, I write a blog about an interesting legal development or an important New Jersey happening. Now, I have been tasked with writing about why diners in New Jersey serve Split Pea Soup every Thursday. As a matter of full disclosure, I should let it be known that I have spent most of my life in Vermont and that I am new to New Jersey (and its diner traditions). I have tried to determine why New Jersey diners tend to serve Split Pea Soup on Thursdays through online research, but if you have a different reason or perspective on this matter, we would love to hear what you have to say on Twitter at @CLDDS and/or on our Facebook page.

It seems that Split Pea Soup has a long history in many different cultures and locations. On Thursdays in particular, though, it seems that the tradition finds it roots in medieval Scandinavia (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland). During the Middle Ages, many Scandinavian people recognized the Roman Catholic requirement of fasting on Fridays. To help fight off their hunger on Fridays, the Scandinavian people began to eat Split Pea Soup every Thursday because it is such a hearty food. Although fasting on Fridays did not remain a requirement throughout history, the tradition of eating Split Pea Soup on Thursdays survived, and is still prevalent throughout the Scandinavian countries.

So why do diners in New Jersey serve Split Pea Soup every Thursday? My best guess is that it is because most diners try to accommodate as many cultures as possible. I would argue that they serve Split Pea Soup on Thursday, for the same reason that many of them also have fish specials on Fridays. Diners want to serve comfort food, and even though it might not seem like it to some people, most people of Scandinavian descent certainly recognize it as just that.

Let us know why you think New Jersey diners serve Split Pea Soup on Thursdays on Twitter or on our Facebook page.

JP2J.P. McCormick is in his third year at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, where he is an Executive Editor for the University of New Hampshire Law Review. Upon finishing his third year of law school, J.P. intends to practice in New Jersey, and is interested in all aspects of civil law. You can follow him on Twitter @JP_McCormick.

Dimon Wins DUI Dismissal With Holup Motion

By J.P. McCormick, Summer Associate

EDIMONEdward J. Dimon, Managing Partner of Carluccio, Leone, Dimon, Doyle & Sacks, L.L.C., recently accomplished a very rare legal feat when he defended a client against unfounded allegations originating from a client’s refusal to take a Breathalyzer test and instead demanding that his blood be drawn because he was so certain of his innocence. In New Jersey, however, if you refuse a Breathalyzer test, you are in violation of the “implied consent” you gave when receiving your license to such a test. Due to the automatic “implied consent,” if you refuse a Breathalyzer, you will face the same loss of driving privileges as a DUI offense, including loss of your license, a fee, and 12 hours minimum participation at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center. The police officer ignored the defendant’s request for a blood test, and instead he was charged for refusing a Breathalyzer test, as well as other driving violations.

The additional alleged violations were careless driving and failure to maintain lanes, both of which are tied to drunk driving. In fact, the police officer indicated that he pulled the defendant over because his lights were not on, even though the defendant’s car automatically always had its lights on.

Normally, it is very difficult for defendants to challenge these allegations. However, the police officer had videotaped the encounter. Based on his clients adamant insistence on his innocence, as well as the oddity of the police officer refusing to allow a blood test and that the client’s car lights are always on, it was of central importance to get a copy of the recorded event. For months Dimon requested the video tape, and for months his demand was ignored. Clearly being unfairly treated, Dimon made a Holup Motion to have the charges dropped.

A Holup motion is very rarely successful. It is a motion based on the 1992 case New Jersey v. Holup, in which the court allowed the defendant to move to dismiss all claims based on failure by the prosecutor to provide appropriately requested evidence. Normally, a court simply rejects a Holup Motion and gives the prosecutor more time.

However, in a rare application of the rule, the court granted Dimon’s motion and dismissed the charges. This is so rare, that since 1992 when the case was decided, only seven cases in New Jersey have even discussed the Holup case, let alone applied it. It is a testament to Dimon’s skills as an advocate, and the dedication of the defendant to fight for his innocence, even in the face of excessive delay and adversity.

JP2J.P. McCormick is in his third year at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, where he is an Executive Editor for the University of New Hampshire Law Review. Upon finishing his third year of law school, J.P. intends to practice in New Jersey, and is interested in all aspects of civil law. You can follow him on Twitter @JP_McCormick.

A New Bill Could Make Texting at a Red Light Illegal…

By J.P. McCormick, Summer Associate

LR-Texting-While-Driving-PSANew Jersey Senator Richard Codey has proposed a new bill that would expand the state’s laws against texting while driving. Current drivers are allowed to text message while temporarily stopped in traffic jams, at red lights, and stop signs. Codey hopes to make these options illegal, and in doing so make the state eligible for Distracted Driving Grant Program, which is a federal grant to be used by states to help deter distracted drivers. Under the current state of the law, New Jersey is not eligible for this funding. Codey is running out of time to get this bill passed, because if it is not passed by both houses by January when the current term ends, he will have to reintroduce it during the next term.

To read the actual text of the bill, click here.

Codey believes that texting at a red light should be illegal just as if you are at a red light while intoxicated is considered a DUI. Do you think that texting while at a red light, at a stop sign, or while stopped in traffic should be illegal? Let us know what you think on Twitter @CLDDS or on Facebook.

JP2J.P. McCormick is in his third year at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, where he is an Executive Editor for the University of New Hampshire Law Review. Upon finishing his third year of law school, J.P. intends to practice in New Jersey, and is interested in all aspects of civil law. You can follow him on Twitter @JP_McCormick.

 

Missed Opportunities: Veterans Benefits Unclaimed

By J.P. McCormick, Summer Associate

veteranMany veterans are unaware of a significant benefit to which they are entitled through the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Called the Aid and Attendance and Housebound Improved Pension Benefit (“A&A”), this benefit helps to cover the cost of caregivers in the home or for assisted-living facilities or a nursing home.  The benefit would even cover children who are paid to be caregivers, although does not cover spouses who act in this capacity. Covering up to $2,019 per month for a veteran and spouse, and up to $1,094 for the widow of a veteran, this little known benefit is not insignificant, and needs to get more attention.

To be eligible for A&A, a veteran must have logged at least one day of their 90-day minimum military service during a time of war, and need caregiving for daily activities. It is important to note that the veteran need not have been injured. And while they must be “totally disabled,” this is a misleading term because when a war time veteran turns 65 years-of-age they are automatically deemed “totally disabled.”

Just how well kept is this secret? The New Old Age reports that in 2011, only 38,076 veterans and 38,685 spouses received the A&A benefit, of the 1.7 million World War II veterans alive at that time. This benefit is being underused and could help many struggling veterans.

The forms can be complicated to fill out, but resources such as VeteranAid.org (http://www.veteranaid.org/) exist which helps provide the proper forms and advice for filling them out.  Lastly, it is important to be mindful of scams: the Department of Veterans Affairs forbids anyone from charging a veteran to help fill out this form, and some “companies” promise to fill out the forms for free and then charge massive financial consultation fees.

If you believe you may have been a victim of such a scam, you can contact CLDDS at 772-797-1600, or email us at carlelaw@cldds.com to speak to one of our Certified Elder Law Attorneys (CELA), Annemarie Schreiber or Diana Anderson, who would be happy to assist you.

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