Although some states have begun legalizing marijuana for both medical (such as New Jersey) and recreational use (such as Colorado), much research has not yet been conducted on the effects of driving while under the influence of marijuana. Answers to important questions such as how dangerous it is, how to test for impairment due to marijuana, and how the risks compare to driving while intoxicated, have been slow to reach the general public. Read more
Charging Rent in Excess of a Rental Control Ordinance: Violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act
Randolph H. Wolf recently represented a client who lived in a rent-controlled building in New Jersey. The client entered into a lease with his landlord in 1996. The initial monthly rent was $765.00. Each year thereafter, the client renewed his lease with the landlord and, with each renewal, the landlord increased the monthly rent. The client recently discovered that these increases in rent violated the Red Bank Rent Control Ordinance and retained Randolph H. Wolf to recover the excess rent payments. Based upon the legal rent calculation provided under the ordinance, the client had overpaid rent in the amount of approximately $50,000.00.
Randolph H. Wolf brought suit against the landlord not only for the excess rent payments, but also for violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq. This is because if a landlord increases a tenant’s rent in violation of the local rent control ordinance, the landlord can be found to have violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. This can have very costly consequences, including the awarding of treble (or triple) damages to the tenant along with attorney’s fees and costs. Thus, Randolph Wolf brought suit for treble damages in excess of $150,000.00 as well as attorney’s fees and costs. Read more
It is frequently stated that the millstones of justice turn exceedingly slow. Moreover, in New Jersey, unlike most other jurisdictions (including the federal government), there is no fixed time limit on when criminal cases must be brought to trial. Recently, however, New Jersey legal groups have begun pushing for such time limits. The New Jersey Office of the Public Defender, through a committee headed by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, have proposed setting time limits. Read more
…Not Just Your Windshield
Many people are unaware of this, but the law in New Jersey requires you to remove the snow and ice from your entire car – not just the windshield – before operating a motor vehicle. N.J.S.A. 39:4-77.1 requires motorists to remove snow and ice from the entire vehicle before traveling. Since this law took effect in October of 2010, over 3,000 tickets have been issued for this violation.
Most drivers assume that as long as their windows are clear, they are safe. As snow or ice dislodges from a vehicle, however, it has the potential to strike another vehicle or a pedestrian and can cause significant injury and/or property damage. Indeed, snow and ice accumulations create dangerous conditions for those who are struck by ice or snow or for those who try to divert these dangers. Read more
Indemnification clauses are common in many types of contracts. They shift, or allocate, risk or loss from one party to another. Construction contracts often involve various contracts and agreements that are entered into between the owner, architect/engineer, contractor, and the subcontractor. These agreements usually contain indemnification clauses. When a loss or injury takes place, an analysis of the various indemnifications provisions will determine which party was contractually bound to bear the risk of loss.
It is important to understand that not all indemnification provisions will be upheld by a court. Historically, indemnification provisions are not favored by courts. If a court finds that the language in an indemnification provision is unclear and capable of two meanings, it will often construe the provision in the manner that is less favorable to the party seeking indemnification. Additionally, if a court finds that the terms of the indemnification provision are unfair, it will label the clause null and void as against public policy. Thus, if you are a design professional, an owner, or a contractor/subcontractor – and you wish to shift the risk of loss to another party – it is vital that you have an attorney review the contract to ensure that: (1) its language is clear and unequivocal; and (2) the clause does not violate public policy. Moreover, if you are the party agreeing to indemnify another party, it is vital to have an attorney review the contract to ensure that the agreement says what want it to say and is not over-broad. Read more
Premises liability law can often be complex, especially when there are several parties involved. The Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf represents a client that was injured when he sustained serious injuries after he fell into a sinkhole located in the parking lot of a multi-tenant commercial business center. The sinkhole was located in the loading dock area directly behind one business, let’s call them “Business A” Another business, “Business B,” however, had frequently utilized the area in question as well. Business B., in fact, had directed our client, a crane mechanic, to go this specific area on the day of the accident in order repair a crane that was located there. Both Business A and Business B were leasing the premises.
Randolph H. Wolf filed suit against Business A, Business B, and the owner of the parking lot. Soon thereafter, Business B moved to dismiss the claims against it on the grounds that it was not responsible for maintaining the area in which the client’s injury occurred. Business B argued that they could not be liable because they did not own or have responsibility to repair or maintain the property in question and the accident occurred in an area outside its unit. Neither ownership nor control is the sole consideration, however. Read more
Randolph H. Wolf was recently retained to represent a client who had been involved in motor vehicle accident and was subsequently charged with DWI. The police escorted the injured client to the hospital where a blood test was taken which indicated that the client was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Randolph H. Wolf recently filed a motion in the municipal court, seeking to suppress the blood test results on the basis that they were improperly obtained without a valid warrant and without the consent of the defendant.
The United States Supreme Court first considered the Fourth Amendment restrictions on blood tests in Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757, 86 S.Ct. 1826, 16 L.Ed.2d 908 (1966), where a blood sample was drawn from a defendant suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol. Noting that search warrants are ordinarily required for searches of homes, the Court reasoned that absent an emergency, no less should be required where intrusions into the human body are concerned, even when the search was conducted following a lawful arrest. Thus, absent emergency circumstances (or “exigent circumstances”), a warrant will typically be required for blood tests. Read more
Previously, we wrote about our expungement case, In the Matter of Expungement Application of D.J.B., which was being heard by the New Jersey Supreme Court. The Court was considering whether an individual who has been adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile is eligible to have an adult felony conviction expunged. As previously discussed, expungement applications were often complicated by juvenile offenses, with most prosecutors offices in the state arguing that juvenile adjudications bar the expungement of an adult criminal conviction.
To recap, as a teen, the client was adjudged delinquent on several occasions. Those adjudications were for offenses that, if an adult had committed them, would have constituted indictable convictions (or felonies) for burglary, theft, and various CDS offenses. The client also had an adult record. At the age of 18, he pled guilty to fourth-degree receiving stolen property. At the age of 22, he pled guilty to two counts of contempt, a misdemeanor (or disorderly persons) offense. Read more
Drivers that cause automobile accidents are legally required to stop and identify themselves after the accident, regardless of the severity of damage. Unfortunately, hit and run accidents, in which the driver at fault leaves the scene without identifying themselves, happen frequently. According to the Department of Transportation, one in five pedestrians killed in a motor vehicle accident was hit by a hit and run driver.
If you received a ticket for improper use of a cell phone while driving in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.3, you should know that there are several defenses available to that charge. Pursuant to the cell phone statute, the use of a cell phone by an operator of a motor vehicle shall be unlawful “except where the telephone is a hands-free wireless telephone or the electronic communication device is used hands-free.” The statute defines “use” to “include, but not be limited to, talking or listening to another person, text messaging, or sending an electronic message . . .” Perhaps most importantly, the statute expressly permits “the use of either hand to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of the telephone.”