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Senate Passes Bankruptcy Bill by 70-28, White House May Veto

The American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) reported that on December 7, 2000, the Senate passed H.R. 2415, the bankruptcy bill conference report, sending the bill to President Clinton for what will likely be the final step in the process during this Congress. This bill – the most significant change to the Bankruptcy Code in the last 20 years – is now closer to enactment than at any time during the last four years. This bill faces a threatened White House veto.

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Capehart Named A “Go To Law Firm” By Fortune 500 General Counsel

Mt. Laurel, NJ – – Norfolk Southern has selected Capehart Scatchard as a “Go To Law Firm®” in a recent survey of the Top 500 U.S. Companies by Corporate Counsel® magazine. Norfolk Southern named Capehart Scatchard as an outside law firm to which they turn to for assistance in the area of Litigation.

The survey, administered by American Lawyer Media, allowed Fortune 500 General Counsel to identify Go To Law Firms in seven different practice areas that include Litigation, Corporate Transactions/Mergers & Acquisitions, Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment, Canada, International and Securities.

Capehart Scatchard’s Transportation Group has been providing comprehensive legal services to management at all levels of Class I, Class II and Short Line railroads across the United States and in Canada. The Group represents railroads in the areas of real estate, environmental and commercial issues, railroad safety regulations, safety performance standards, prosecution of loss and damage claims and highway-rail grade crossing safety issues.

The Transportation Group is headed by veteran railroad counsel, John K. Fiorilla, and includes attorneys Peter Bejsiuk, Betsy Ramos, Mary Ellen Schetter, Robert Muccilli, Alan Fox, Michelle Corea and the recent addition of Christopher Hoare, with paralegals Patricia Beringer and Beverly Bogdan.

Mr. Fiorilla, a Cinnaminson resident, focuses his practice in the railroad industry. For more than twenty five years he has been helping to create and present railroad management policy and positions with diversified management and litigation experience as both in-house counsel and local counsel for Class I, Class II, and Short Line Railroads. He has specific experience in presenting finance, real estate, operations, engineering, government affairs, and customer service positions.

Among his professional activities, Mr. Fiorilla is a member of the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel; the American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association; the Association of Transportation Professionals; the Conference of Freight Counsel and the New Jersey State ( Federal Practice and Procedure Section) Bar Association.

A resident of Robbinsville, Mr. Hoare recently joined Capehart Scatchard as a Shareholder. He focuses his practice in railroad litigation. For over 16 years, he has represented Class I and short line railroads in cases involving FELA, grade crossing collisions, trespasser fatalities, construction accidents, passenger injuries, collections, property damage, and other matters. Prior to his admission to the bars of Pennsylvania and New Jersey in 1992, Mr. Hoare was employed as an Amtrak senior claims agent for six years. He is also admitted to the bar in the state of New York (2007).

Mr. Hoare received his law degree from Seton Hall University and his B.A. degree from Rutgers University. After college, he worked for the engineering departments of Conrail and Amtrak for five years before becoming a claims agent in Amtrak’s Law Department for six years. He is a member of the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel (NARTC).

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Capehart Scatchard Attorney Addresses Business Symposium

Mt. Laurel, NJ – – Capehart Scatchard Executive Committee Member, Betsy G. Ramos, Esq. recently spoke at the Business Law Symposium sponsored by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (NJICLE). Ms. Ramos was a co-presenter on the topic of “Avoiding the Waiver of Attorney Client Privilege in Business Litigation.” Her presentation focused on the federal and state courts rules, rules of evidence and ethics rules pertinent to the attorney client privilege, how to avoid waiving this privilege, and an attorney’s responsibility in the event of an inadvertent waiver.

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Domestic Violence

A victim of domestic violence is anyone over the age of 18 (or an emancipated minor under the age of 18) and who has been subjected to domestic violence by: a spouse, a former spouse, any other person who is at present or was previously a household member, a person of any age subjected to domestic violence by someone with whom the victim has a child in common or will be having a child in common or a person subjected to domestic violence by someone with whom the victim has had a dating relationship.

An act of domestic violence includes among other acts: assault, terroristic threats, kidnapping, criminal restraint, sexual assault, criminal trespass, harassment and stalking. “Harassment” is probably the most commonly cited act of domestic violence and is the subject of many published cases with subtle variables dictating different outcomes. If you are either the victim of harassment or the person alleged to be harassing another, and a domestic violence complaint is filed by or against you, you should consult with an attorney as to how Judges differentiate between acts of “harassment” and domestic arguments as it is an area of the law fraught with complications and permutations.

A domestic violence case unfolds in three ways: first, a person who believes themselves to be a victim of an act of domestic violence testifies (either telephonically or in person) as to the act or acts and may receive a Temporary Restraining Order. This is initiated by the victim calling the police, going to the police station or going to the Courthouse during regular business hours. A Temporary Restraining Order is unilateral; the alleged perpetrator is not present at the hearing. If the TRO is granted, the police will escort the perpetrator from the scene of the act and instruct them not to communicate with the victim. They are generally barred from returning to the scene or communicating with the victim (and sometimes with their children and/or third parties) until the final hearing. In some cases, temporary support orders are entered and/or parenting time is suspended until the final hearing. The second step is the hearing for the Final Restraining Order which now includes the perpetrator and usually his or her attorney. At this hearing, either the case is tried to a conclusion or, often, the restraints are converted to civil restraints which basically keep the parties apart in separate residences but avoid the consequences of a finding of an act of domestic violence. The third step is at the township municipal court which is more of an adjunct proceeding than an actual third step. In municipal court, the victim is a witness for the prosecution while the alleged perpetrator is represented by private counsel.

It is important to note that if an alleged perpetrator of an act of domestic violence is found guilty of an act of domestic violence at the final hearing and the parties have a child or children together, then the victim will be presumed to be the custodial parent in any future proceedings. It is also important to note that violations of Orders under the Domestic Violence Act may, in certain circumstances, result in mandatory incarceration. For all of these reasons, domestic violence matters are not matters which should be taken lightly nor should they be attempted without an attorney.

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Cohabitation

Couples have lived together as a precursor to marriage for many years. However, increasingly, couples are electing to live together without ever intending to get married or enter into a civil union. In the event that a couple decides to end their cohabitation relationship, one might think that living together without getting married would make the ending of the relationship simpler. To the contrary, the fact is that (unless the period of cohabitation was short, no children are involved and/or no assets or liabilities were acquired), cohabitation without the benefit of marriage or a civil union makes the break-up more complicated.

If a couple was married or entered into a civil union, there are legal statutes and cases which govern the break up of the relationship. If a couple never got married or entered into a civil union, however, there are no such laws to govern the break-up. Instead, the laws of “equity” govern the break-up. For example, if the cohabiting couple bought a house together, they would have to file an equity action known as a “partition” action. Other examples of equitable remedies include unjust enrichment, quasi-contract, equitable estoppel, the doctrine of quantum meruit, constructive trust and equitable interest. These actions are not exclusive to cohabitants dissolving their relationship; instead, they are equitable grounds which are available to Courts of Equity in any case in which legal doctrines are not available. Basically, they allow Courts of Equity to do what they deem to be “fair.”

Thus, the cohabiting couple is left with two choices: either reach an agreement between themselves as to how they want to divide their property and whether or not there is any support to be paid between the two of them, or apply to a Court of Equity to decide what is “fair.”

Couples are more frequently entering into Cohabitation Agreements which are the same thing as Prenuptial Agreements and Pre Civil Union Agreements but precede cohabitation rather than marriage or a civil union. All three types of agreements accomplish the same thing: in the event that the relationship ends somewhere down the road, they allow the couple to “pre-determine” how their break-up will be governed. This is always preferable to allowing a Court to decide how the break-up will be governed, whether the Court is making that decision according to the law (marriages and civil unions) or according to principles of equity (cohabitation).

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Capehart Scatchard Attorneys Recognized as 2013 Super Lawyers

Mt. Laurel, NJ – – Capehart Scatchard is pleased to announce that the following shareholders have recently been named “Super Lawyers” as voted by their peers and facilitated by Law & Politics and New Jersey Monthly:

Thomas D. Begley, III (Estate & Trust Litigation), John Geaney (Workers’ Compensation), Amy Goldstein (Family Law), Nikitas Moustakas (Business/Corporate), Lora Northen (Workers’ Compensation), and Betsy Ramos (Business Litigation).

Fewer than 5% of lawyers are named as Super Lawyers.

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Employee With Work Injury Who Was Fired For Excessive Absenteeism Was Not Prejudiced By Employer’s Failure To Designate Absence Under FMLA

The court reviewed the amended FMLA regulations dealing with prejudice for failing to designate FMLA time promptly.

Deborah Myers worked as a dialysis nurse at Kettering Medical Center in Ohio (KMC). She was injured during the course of her employment on August 15, 2009. She received temporary total disability benefits under Ohio’s workers’ compensation system. Her injury qualified as a serious health condition under the FMLA but her employer failed to promptly notify her that her absence was designated as FMLA leave.

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