Contract Law - Procedure
In Walis v.Garrone, Plaintiff appealed after her complaint was dismissed with prejudice. She sued defendant for breach of contract to repair her house alleging shoddy workmanship, a failure to replace gutters and damage to the roof. She offered her son to testify as to damages at trial and judge adjourned the trial and told her to advise the court and defense counsel of her proposed expert by a certain date. Defendant eventually asked that the matter be dismissed because plaintiff had not named her expert. Plaintiff appeared for trial with an expert, defendant failed to appear and the trial court entered default. Defendant protested that the court’s computerized records showed that the case had been dismissed and moved to vacate. Trial court then dismissed the complaint with prejudice. Plaintiff argued that trial court erred by failing to permit her son to testify as an expert, in vacating the default and in dismissing with prejudice. The court found that plaintiff never offered her son as an expert witness and defendant clearly showed good cause for not appearing for trial but the trial judge erred in dismissing the complaint with prejudice because defendant acknowledged speaking to plaintiff’s expert and plaintiff was blameless for defendant’s need to vacate.
Contract Law - Commercial
In Blue Sky 1, LLC v. Jaguar Land Rover N. Am., LLC, Thomas Maoli sought to purchase Madison Jaguar’s Jaguar dealership franchise, and retained plaintiff via a consultant agreement to help effect the purchase and sale. The consultant agreement provided for a success fee in the event Maoli purchased Madison Jaguar. However, Madison Jaguar’s dealership agreement with defendant included a right of first refusal in favor of defendant in the event Madison Jaguar sought to sell its dealership.
Defendant did in fact exercise its right of first refusal, and purchased Madison Jaguar along the same terms as the proposed asset purchase agreement between Maoli and Madison Jaguar. Subsequently, plaintiff demanded that defendant pay the success fee in the consultant agreement, which defendant refused to pay. In its complaint, plaintiff argued that it was a third-party beneficiary of the APA, and that defendant stepped into the shoes of the buyer when it exercised its right of first refusal, and further alleged that defendant tortuously interfered with the benefits plaintiff would have been due under the consultant agreement. In support of its motion to dismiss plaintiff’s complaint, defendant argued that it was not a party to the success fee, that its contractual obligations were defined by the dealer agreement, and thus even if plaintiff were entitled to the success fee, defendant had no contractual obligation to pay it. Defendant further argued that its exercise of its contractual rights did not amount to tortious interference.
The court agreed and granted the motion to dismiss, ruling that no provision of the contracts between defendant and Madison Jaguar created plaintiff’s right to a success fee, and that the event that would have triggered plaintiff’s right to the fee under the consultant agreement did not occur. Furthermore, because plaintiff was not entitled to the success fee under any of the contracts in this case, the court ruled that defendant could not have tortuously interfered with plaintiff’s right to a success fee.
As a solo attorney - that is, an attorney without a large staff of associates and paralegals - I wear many different hats. A "normal" day for me might include an early-morning networking event, followed by a court appearance followed by a meeting with a client followed by drafting a motion, preparing for a closing, reviewing a contract, or negotiating a deal with opposing counsel. In between all that, I have to manage my trust and operating accounts, reply to emails, answer the phones, update this blog, and handle whatever unplanned tasks pop up throughout the day. I'm lucky most days when I have a chance to eat lunch (usually consisting of a quick protein bar or shake) and spend time with my wife and dog.
So, why do it? Why put myself through all this stress trying to bring in work, manage the work I have, and simply trying to be a good lawyer? One word: Freedom.
As a solo, I get to choose the cases I work on. I get to focus on helping my clients in a way that many big-law practices can't. I can provide personalized attention - add that "personal touch" - to the work I do for my clients. I also get to take interesting meetings with interesting people. And, importantly, I get to spend my time as I wish. Sure, in many respects my work never stops and all the responsibilities of running a business fall on me. But I can also work whenever I want, wherever I want. To me, having the freedom of flexibility; the ability to take a break when I need one without having to check in with a boss, means that my clients are always getting the high quality work they deserve.
In Galloway Township v. Duncan, the N.J. Tax Court decided a case where the Defendant, a veteran who suffered from a service-connected 100% permanent disability, sought personal residence tax exemption as a result of the disability.
According to the Court, the NJ State legislature “provided by law” that a veteran suffering a disability declared by the United States Veterans Administration as a total or 100% permanent disability sustained through military service was exempt from taxation on his or her residence. N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.30(a). For defendant to establish eligibility for exemption, she must meet the requirements of: (1) a citizen and resident of the state; (2) now or hereafter honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances; (3) service in an “other emergency”, in this case Operation Enduring Freedom; (4) such service in any branch of the United States military; and (5) declared by the United States Veteran’s Administration to suffer a total or 100% permanent disability which was service connected.
The court held defendant was a citizen and resident of the state at all relevant times, she served in the military and was honorably discharged from service. The heart of the dispute was whether defendant’s service constituted an “other emergency” as defined. The court found that Operation Enduring Freedom was an added conflict protected by the Act and that defendant’s service as a neurologist was considered “direct support” entitling her to tax exempt status. (Approved for Publication) [Filed Nov. 14, 2016]