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Scura Wigfield Heyer & Stevens Blog

Improving children pedestrian safety in New Jersey

  • 04
  • September
    2015

This is the time of year when school-aged children in New Jersey and other states across the nation return to school. While some children might be dropped off in a vehicle via his or her parent or carpool, many students will ride the school bus, ride their bike or walk to school. Because of this, parents, children and school administrators should be aware of the dangers of pedestrian accidents with regard to students getting to and from school.

Children pedestrian safety is crucial and should be addressed and understood. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, has compiled information regarding this traffic issue. In addition to providing a fact sheet, safety information has been highlighted so both students and adults can take action to reduce these incidents as well as other incidents involving children and motor vehicles. For the purposes of this fact sheet, children are defined as those age 14 and younger.

Can filing for bankruptcy stop wage garnishment?

  • 02
  • September
    2015

As some New Jersey residents might have experienced, some financial issues can snowball into larger problems. For example, when a consumer fails to pay their bills on time repeatedly, creditors might take action to recover payment by initiating wage garnishment. This type of asset forfeiture could lead to even graver issues for the debtor, leading some to question whether there is a debt relief option that can stop this withholding of wages.

Can filing for bankruptcy stop wage garnishment? In simple terms, yes, filing for bankruptcy will stop wage garnishment; however, debtors taking this action should understand what it means to take this step. Additionally, filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy has different outcomes than a Chapter 13, therefore, debtors should be fully aware of all the potential outcomes of both types of filings. Moreover, bankruptcy should not just be considered to stop wage garnishment, but rather, it should be used to address severe financial problems.

Apparently there is NO Free House

  • 31
  • August
    2015

Following up on an earlier blog post entitled "Free House: is it now possible?" which spoke about Judge Kaplan's opinion in In Re Washington, the District Court has now overturned the decision. In what appears to be a "too good to be true" scenario, the District Court held that the Bankruptcy Court relied on the wrong subsection of N.J.S.A. §2A:50-56.1 in ruling that the bank was precluded from proceeding with foreclosure six years after the loan was accelerated.

In the Bankruptcy Court opinion, the Court held that N.J.S.A. §2A:50-56.1(a) precluded the bank from foreclosing where six years had elapsed since the debtor first defaulted and the bank simultaneously accelerated the loan. The Bankruptcy Court relied on the debtor's argument that the bank had accelerated the loan at some point (it was disputed by both parties involved) during the first few months of default.

Now, the District Court has held that N.J.S.A. §2A:50-56.1(c) is the controlling statute which provides for a twenty-year statute of limitations. The District Court held that N.J.S.A. §2A:50-56.1(a) (the six-year statute) only applies if there is no foreclosure commenced from "the date fixed for the making of the last payment or the maturity date set forth in the mortgage or the note." The District Court reasoned that the Bankruptcy Court relied on the wrong statute as the word "accelerated" never appeared in that statute and that a strict reading (coupled with legislative intent) made N.J.S.A. §2A:50-56.1(c) the controlling law. The District Court based their decision on a reading of the law as well as equitable determinations, including public policy.

Bankruptcy Pro Bono Project

  • 31
  • August
    2015

For the last three years Scura, Wigfield, Heyer & Stevens, LLP has participated in the Rutgers Law School's Bankruptcy Pro Bono Project. The Bankruptcy Pro Bono Project seeks to further two important goals: providing pro bono bankruptcy assistance to an under-served population, and mentoring second- and third- year law students in the actual practice of law.

Scura, Wigfield, Heyer & Stevens is privileged to be a part of the Honorable Morris Stern Bankruptcy Pro Bono Project at Rutgers-Newark. I look forward to being able to influence the future of new attorney and the client consultations which will take place on September 25, October 9 and October 16, 2015

Does premises liability extend to injured trespassers?

  • 28
  • August
    2015

Homeowners in New Jersey understand much responsibility comes with owning property. Besides the financial responsibilities, property owners face several reasons to keep their property safe. When visitors enter the personal property of another, there is a general expectation that the property is safe and free of any dangerous conditions. While it is obvious that this form of homeowner liability protects authorized visitors, does this also extend to those that do not have permissive entry on the property?

Does premises liability extend to injured trespassers? This is often dependent on who the trespasser is and the type of unsafe condition that caused the injury to the trespasser. Because a trespasser is an individual who is not authorized to be on the property, in many cases a homeowner is not obligated to protect a trespasser. However, at the same time, a homeowner cannot willfully injure a trespasser.

Helping New Jersey residents deal with credit card debt

  • 26
  • August
    2015

Understanding and employing proper and healthy spending habits is not always easy. Even when consumers in New Jersey and elsewhere are aware of the dangers of accumulating credit card debt, this does not always help prevent credit card debt from plaguing him or her. Various life events such as unemployment or medical problems could lead an individual to max out credit cards. Additionally, these unfortunate events could also make it difficult to make payments on time or even at all.

Dealing with credit card debt is not easy, and our law firm understands that many people seek to get out of consumer debt. For some, gaining more information about debt relief options and healthy budgeting could be the answer. However, this does not always resolve the debt issues.

Facing Foreclosure? The Sale of your Property Through the Bankruptcy Process could be the Best Solution for You

  • 21
  • August
    2015

If you are facing foreclosure and have equity in your property, then either a chapter 11 or chapter 13 bankruptcy can provide an orderly avenue for you to sell your property. The automatic stay, which goes into effect upon filing for bankruptcy, will prevent the foreclosing party from taking any further action against your property. This breathing period can provide the time you need to preserve the value of your asset by allowing you to properly market the property in order for the sale to generate the greatest possible return.

Contact a Lawyer

If you are considering bankruptcy, contact a lawyer so you can be guided accordingly as to what your options are and what option is best for you. The bankruptcy process can be difficult to navigate, so it is important that you have someone representing you who is familiar with the process to make sure everything goes smoothly. My name is David Sklar. Please feel free to contact me at any time regarding your situation.

Inherited IRAs and Property of the Bankruptcy Estate

  • 21
  • August
    2015

A New Jersey Bankruptcy Court Judge has narrowed the United States Supreme Court ruling in Clark v. Rameker, 134 S.Ct. 2242 (2014) regarding inherited IRAs. In Clark, the Supreme Court ruled that inherited IRAs were property of the bankruptcy estate, because the inheritance no longer protected the IRA as it would have been for the person who started the IRA, as per non-bankruptcy state law. Essentially, an inherited IRA is different than a traditional IRA within the meaning of 11 U.S.C. §522(b)(3)(c).

Judge Kaplan in In re Andolino (13-17238-RG) recognized that Clark considered the inherited IRA as an asset of the bankruptcy estate pursuant to non-bankruptcy state law. Following the Court's reasoning in Clark, New Jersey non-bankruptcy state law (N.J.S.A. §25:2-1(b)) determines that debtor's inherited IRA retains its designation as a "qualified trust" and therefore cannot be included as property of the bankruptcy estate.

Protecting your rights after a New Jersey slip and fall

  • 21
  • August
    2015

Whether you realize it or not, most days residents of New Jersey and elsewhere enter the property of others. This could occur when an individual is shopping, dropping of mail, going to a meeting at an office building or even stopping by at a neighbor's house. While the act of entering another's property seems rather routine and relatively safe, this action could cause an individual to encounter serious dangers that could lead to property accidents.

Our law firm understands that individuals expect a certain level of care by property owners when he or she enters the owner's home or place of business. Failure to meet this duty of care could come in various forms, such as failing to address a slippery floor, fixing a broken step, providing enough light in a parking lot or failing to address other similar dangerous situations.

Best credit cards for college students

  • 19
  • August
    2015

The first year of college is often the most difficult year for parents in New Jersey and elsewhere to deal with their child leaving home and beginning his or her educational journey. While it is difficult to see a grown child leave the home for the first time, it is also difficult to help pay the bills of an adult child in college. Because of this, it is important to instill some financial advice in college-aged children, so they do not begin his or her adulthood with serious financial issues.

While it is good to avoid credit card debt, it is crucial that credit cards are understood, especially for essential college student spending. Since the passing of the CARD act of 2009, the potential trouble students could get themselves into because of credit card debt has lessened. It is now required that a credit card applicant be 21-years-old or older, have an adult co-singer, if they are not old enough, or prove that they are earning enough money to make payments.

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Scura, Mealey, Wigfield & Heyer, L.L.P. Attorneys at Law

John Scura of Scura, Wigfield, Heyer & Stevens, LLP, serves clients in New Jersey communities including Wayne, Hoboken, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, Edison, Camden, Clifton, Passaic, East Orange, Newark, Union City, Bayonne, Irvington, North Bergen, West New York, Bloomfield, Paramus, Fair Lawn, Ridgewood, Saddle Brook, River Edge, Emerson, Englewood, Ramsey, Tenafly, Glen Rock, Teaneck, and Hackensack, and in counties including Bergen County, Essex County, Middlesex County, Hudson County, Union County, Passaic County, and Morris County.

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