Sitting in the “hot seat” for the first time can be a stressful and intimidating experience and especially so if there is significant money on the line. As a seasoned litigator, I have deposed more witnesses than I’d like to admit and have seen many witnesses struggle under the pressure (good for my client, bad for the other side). However, with the right preparation and mindset, you can make the process go more smoothly and avoid making costly mistakes. So, if you are a property manager or community association Board member who is going to be deposed as a witness for your community association’s transition or other pending litigation, check out the below tips on how to be the best witness you can be. And remember…breath.Continue Reading So You’re Going to Get Deposed? Essential Tips for the New Deponent
Pre COVID-19 Construction Cost Estimates Are Likely Outdated
In New Jersey (and virtually all other states), construction defect cases for common interest community associations are heavily reliant on expert witnesses. Even if a building system is obviously defective — in that windows leak every time it rains, cracks have developed in walls, and sidewalks have sunken from improper soil compaction — the association must still present expert reports and testimony to prove its case at trial. Litigation expert reports in construction defect cases must generally address the following five issues:Continue Reading Pre COVID-19 Construction Cost Estimates Are Likely Outdated
Proposed Bill Would Require All Commercial Liability Insurance Policies Issued In New Jersey to Specify Coverage For “Faulty Workmanship”
Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer of New Jersey’s 36th District introduced a proposed bill, A.B. 1075, that would require all commercial liability insurance policies issued in New Jersey to include “faulty workmanship” within the definition of “occurrence.”
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In The Wake Of The Surfside Tragedy Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Issue “Temporary” Requirements For Condominiums And Cooperatives
The collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, in June 2021, sent shockwaves throughout the United States and was a wake-up call to condominiums to the dangers of aging infrastructures. In light of this tragic event, secondary mortgage market giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have issued bulletins advising of new “temporary” requirements for mortgages issued in connection with condominiums and cooperatives.
Continue Reading In The Wake Of The Surfside Tragedy Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Issue “Temporary” Requirements For Condominiums And Cooperatives
New Bill Clarifies Statute of Limitations For Community Association Transition Litigation Matters
On Tuesday, January 18, 2022, Governor Murphy signed into law Senate Bill 396, which automatically tolls (i.e. pauses) the 6-year Statute of Limitations for construction defect claims by condominium and/or homeowner associations and cooperative corporations until the first election when unit owners take majority control of the association board (“Transition”). Although not black letter law, Transition had historically been recognized as the milestone when the Statute of Limitations began to run for construction defect claims.
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New Legislation Permanently Allows Community Association Members to Participate in Member Meetings Via Remote Communication
The New Jersey Nonprofit Corporation Act (N.J.S.A. 15A:5-1, et seq.) (the “Act”) was amended on Monday, January 22, 2022, to permanently allow remote community association member meetings (using Zoom, Teams, or other remote communication technologies). Previously, the Act permitted remote meetings of members-only when New Jersey was in a declared state of emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. This new legislation (A5549/S4112) gives communities more flexibility in conducting association member meetings and will hopefully result in increased member attendance for quorum and voting purposes. Continue Reading New Legislation Permanently Allows Community Association Members to Participate in Member Meetings Via Remote Communication
Is a New Statute of Limitations on the Horizon for Community Association Construction Defect Claims?
Under New Jersey’s current statute of limitations, N.J.S.A. §2A:14-1, all construction defect claims, i.e. property damage claims, must be filed within six years from when the potential claimant knew or should have known he or she had a claim. Tempered only by the equitable doctrine referred to as the “discovery rule,” which stops the limitations clock from running under certain circumstances, New Jersey’s six-year statute applies equally to all property damage claimants. However, a bill working its way through the legislative process in New Jersey may change the game for common interest properties, including co-ops, community associations, and condominiums.
Continue Reading Is a New Statute of Limitations on the Horizon for Community Association Construction Defect Claims?
Construction Defects and New Jersey’s Statute of Limitations – When to File Suit
This week the New Jersey Appellate Division issued its Order and Opinion in the case of Collins v. PJW Servs., 2021 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1556. Plaintiffs owned a home in Haddonfield, New Jersey, and wanted to add an extension, including a second story. Plaintiffs retained the services of an architect to design the architectural plans, bid the project, and to oversee construction. To perform the actual work, Plaintiffs hired PJW Services (PJW).
Shortly after construction commenced, Plaintiffs noticed water leaks in their garage and brought this issue to the attention of their builder on December 12, 2010. As most contractors do, PJW assured Plaintiffs the leak was insignificant since the roof work was still ongoing. PJW further advised that once the roof was sealed, the leak would no longer be a problem. Unfortunately for Plaintiffs, that was not the case.
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Read Before You Proceed – A Cautionary Tale at the Crossroads of Technology and Construction
COVID-19 unquestionably changed the world in countless ways. One of the most significant is that it forced everyone online, from our youngest to our most elder. Those who resisted the lure of online shopping or social interactions pre-COVID were thrust into the jungle of the internet, likely forever captured by its convenience. However, modern-day conveniences are not without traps and pitfalls – enter the case of Wollen v. Gulf Stream Restoration & Cleaning, LLC, issued by the New Jersey Appellate Division on July 9, 2021.
Continue Reading Read Before You Proceed – A Cautionary Tale at the Crossroads of Technology and Construction
The Dollars and Sense of Transition Litigation – Retaining the Right Counsel
It may come as no surprise that litigation can be costly. Many times, potential claimants seeking to temper their litigation costs look for the least expensive counsel they can find. But in the end, are litigants truly saving money by focusing on the lowest hourly rate?
Retaining the wrong attorney simply because that attorney or firm offers the lowest rates can have devastating consequences for any litigant. When your community association is seeking transition counsel, it’s critical to consider a number of factors to ensure your resources are well placed and well spent.
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