Should a Lawsuit Say Exactly What You Are Asking For?

HNW Additional Practice Areas, Personal Injury and Negligence Cases

In the state of West Virginia, legislation which would prohibit specific financial demands for damages in personal injury and wrongful death cases from being included by attorneys has drawn support from both trial attorneys and defense counsel. Earlier in March, the state’s Legislature passed House Bill 4120, which would prohibit such demands. Exceptions are provided by the bill for cases when a specific amount is necessary for obtaining or preserving jurisdiction or otherwise required by an existing statute or rule. A similar law for medical malpractice cases is already in place. West Virginia Governor received the bill after it was unanimously passed by both the House and Senate. The president of the West Virginia Association for Justice, mentioned two lawsuits …

Bicycles and Head Phones Don’t Mix

HNW Additional Practice Areas, Personal Injury and Negligence Cases

There is a tragic story last week out of Virginia.  Apparently a 15 year old was riding his bicycle when a car approached him from the rear. According to published reports, the car mosed into the oncoming lane to pass the cyclist. The young boy, however, then turned left in front of the car. According to accounts, the young cyclist was wearing headphones as the time of the accident. Unfortunately, he died from injuries sustained in the accident. The obvious but sad lesson is that wearing headphones while bicycling (and, for that matter, while running near traffic) is a recipe for disaster.

Tortious Interference

HNW Business and Corporate Legal Services, Business Law

New Jersey courts have long sought to protect the right and ability of a person “to pursue one’s own business, calling or occupation free from undue influence or molestation.”  In the latter part of the 19th century, the courts recognized that a “wrongful and malicious combination to ruin a man in his trade may be ground for [legal action].”  Similarly, in a line of cases spanning the middle of the 20th century, New Jersey courts protected the rights of real estate brokers whose clients surreptitiously cut them out of a transaction to avoid paying a brokerage commission.  The courts have continued their oversight of business dealings through the present, and now call this an action for tortuous interference. Tortious Interference …

Gross Valuation Misstatement Penalties Can Apply to Estate and Gift Appraisals

HNW Elder Law, Estate Administration and Probate

In a recent legal memorandum, the IRS stated that it can assess, under IRC Sec. 6695A, a gross valuation misstatement penalty against an appraiser for preparing erroneous estate- and gift-tax appraisals after May 25, 2007.  The Pension Protection Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-280) added IRC Sec. 6695A to the tax law.  Generally, it states that if (1) a person prepares an appraisal and knows, or reasonably should have known, that it will be used in connection with a return or a claim for a refund, and (2) the claimed value of the property based on the appraisal results in a substantial or gross valuation misstatement within the meaning of IRC Sec. 6662(h), then a penalty should be assessed against the …

Special Needs Trusts to Protect Personal Injury Settlements

HNW Elder Law, Special Needs Trusts for Minor Children and Adults

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq., NJ Special Needs Trust Attorney Personal injury attorneys should avoid receiving payment from the defendant or the defendant’s insurer into the attorney’s trust account for any funds that are intended to be placed into a special needs trust for the benefit of the plaintiff.  Payment of funds by the defendant to the plaintiff’s personal injury attorney constitutes constructive receipt by the person with a disability.  Therefore, checks from the defendant should be made payable directly to the trustee of the special needs trust.  Payments from the structure should also be made payable directly to the trustee of the special needs trust.  Constructive receipt by the beneficiary will cause a loss of public benefits because the …

10 Million Boomers Will Develop Alzheimer’s, Report Predicts

HNW Elder Law

Alzheimer’s disease will strike one in eight U.S. baby boomers, meaning that 10 million boomers will develop the mind-wasting disease, according to a new report by the Alzheimer’s Association, the 2008 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. The report predicts by 2010, there will be almost a half million new cases of Alzheimer’s disease each year, and that by 2050, almost a million new cases will surface each year. Whereas today someone in America develops Alzheimer’s disease every 71 seconds, by mid-century someone will develop Alzheimer’s every 33 seconds. Women are nearly twice as likely as men to develop Alzheimer’s disease (17 percent vs. 9 percent). The likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s doubles every five years after age 65. “Unchecked, this disease …

Use of Nursing Home Restraints Has Declined

HNW Elder Law

A report by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows that the use of restraints in nursing homes has declined 40 percent in recent years. Use of restraints was common in many nursing homes until a 1987 federal law made it illegal to use restraints to discipline or as a matter of convenience. In 2006, 5.9 percent of patients were repeatedly physically restrained compared to 9.7 in 2002. The findings are part of a report comparing states on health issues. The states with the highest percentage of restraint use were California, Arkansas, and Oklahoma while Nebraska, and Iowa, Kansas, and Maine had the lowest. Under the law, restraints can be used for a medical reason, such as preventing …

New Tax Break Helps Surviving Spouses

HNW Elder Law, Estate Administration and Probate

Widows and widowers who don’t want to sell their house right away will get a tax break under a new law. The law gives surviving spouses two years to sell their house and receive the full $500,000 capital gains exclusion that married couples are entitled to. Couples who are married and file taxes jointly can sell their main residence and exclude up to $500,000 of the gain from the sale from their gross income. Single individuals can exclude only $250,000. Under the previous law, if a spouse died, the surviving spouse could file jointly — and therefore get the full $500,000 exclusion — only for the year in which the spouse died. The new law allows surviving spouses to get …

Keeping Track of Your Will

HNW Elder Law, Estate Administration and Probate

Once you’ve taken the step to create a will and get your estate plan in order, you need to figure out what to do with the will itself. It is important to keep track of the location of your current will as well as any old wills. Where to keep a will The safest place to keep the original copy of your will is in a bank safe deposit box. If you keep the will at home, even if it is in a safe–you run the risk of it being stolen or being destroyed in a fire. Some attorneys may keep the original copy of the will. But if you leave the will with your attorney, make sure the attorney …

Hanlon Niemann Attorney Named to 2008 NJ Super Lawyers List

HNW Firm News

On November 6, 2007, Christopher J. Hanlon, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann was named to the 2008 New Jersey Super Lawyers List.  Only five percent of New Jersey attorneys are chosen each year based on the multiphase selection process. For more information, contact Christopher J. Hanlon, Esq. at