Bauchner Representing La Celia Owners in Construction Defect Suit

Posted on July 10th, 2017

ANSELL, GRIMM & AARON, PC commenced two actions in the Supreme Court of the State of New York against L&M Development Partners, and its affiliates, for design and construction defects in two of its projects in Harlem, on behalf of plaintiffs La Celia Owners Corporation, located at 64 East 111th Street, and PS90 Board of Managers, located at 220 West 148th Street.

The actions assert, among other things, that L&M breached its contractual obligations and made negligent misrepresentations by failing to construct the buildings in accord with the terms of each Offering Plan. Indeed, the buildings were forced to retain engineering and construction firms to identify and remediate design and construction defects endemic to each building.

By example, at La Celia, the engineer’s work revealed significant leaks and penetrations throughout the building, fire hazards, items not constructed to Code, and that at least 70% of residents have insufficient cooling, likely due to “marginally sized and under-sized” PTAC units. At PS90, the engineer’s work revealed that the parapets and significant portions of the façade were defective, widespread water intrusion, and that the roof disclosed in the Offering Plan was not actually installed and is now in need of repair and replacement. Indeed, at PS90, large chunks of the façade have fallen off the building creating a serious safety hazard and compelling the installation of shedding and the closure of the courtyard.

Both buildings undertook efforts to amicably resolve these issues with L&M, but were unfortunately without success, necessitating the lawsuits. Joshua S. Bauchner, a partner with the law firm of Ansell, Grimm & Aaron P.C., and counsel to both buildings commented that “L&M prides itself on promoting development in low income communities. However, when it cuts corners to save a dime, it saddles residents with the significant costs of repair which they simply cannot afford, as L&M well knows. We are simply asking that L&M correct defects of their own making in accord with their express obligations under the Offering Plans.”

Christopher Therkorn, the Board president of PS90, echoed this sentiment, stating “Our entire building is under scaffolding right now as we were forced to repair the parapets, roof, and façade. At this time, our residents are confronted with these unbearable costs as L&M has sought to wash its hands of the matter.” And, Jon Winstone, the Board president of La Celia, noted that “When you are finally able to buy into what is promoted as a beautiful, new building your hopes are high. Then, those hopes are dashed when the ugly underbelly reveals itself — water leaks everywhere, insufficient air conditioning, and rampant Building Code violations.”

The actions are captioned La Celia Owners Corp. v. East 111 Associates, LLC, East 111 Mezzanine, LLC, East 111 Managers, LLC, L&M Development Partners, Inc., and L&M Builders Group, Index No. 654485/2017, and PS90 Board of Managers v. L&M Development Partners, West 147th Associates, LLC, West 147th Managers, LLC, L&M Builders Group, LLC, L&M West 147th Developers, LLC, Index No. 654603/2017.

Ansell Grimm & Aaron attorneys regularly represent clients in construction litigation and litigation against sponsor developers. For additional information, please contact Joshua S. Bauchner, Esq. (jb@ansellgrimm.com) or Anthony J. D’Artiglio (ajd@ansellgrimm.com) at (973) 247-9000.

 

Robert H. Siegel Obtains Victory in Rare School Selection Trial

Posted on July 5th, 2017

Robert H. Siegel, Esq. recently won a trial victory in the Monmouth County Superior Court, Family Division, where the trial court ruled in favor of AGA clients seeking to enroll their minor child at a private high school in Monmouth County.

The case presented a rare factual scenario with two parents sharing joint legal and joint 50-50 residential custody of a high school-aged child, and contesting whether the child should attend the public high school in the town where the mother resides, or a private high school preferred by the father.

After a five-day trial that took place over five months, the trial court ruled in favor of AGA client father, citing pertinent school relocation factors set forth by the Appellate Division in Levine v. Levine, 322 N.J. Super. 558 (App. Div. 1999) and Asch v. Asch 164 N.J. Super. 499 (App. Div. 1978). The court also took into consideration an interview with the child that was conducted upon a pre-hearing motion by AGA counsel requesting same under the Rules of Court (R. 5:8-6), and the “best interests” standard set forth by the Appellate Division in D.A. v. R.C. 438 N.J. Super. 431 (App. Div. 2014).

The trial court placed its ruling on the record in court on June 26, 2017, and the legal basis for its holding could impact future cases where parents having shared residential custody cannot agree upon a child’s high school enrollment.

 

For questions concerning family law matters, including custody, support, and enforcement issues, please contact Robert H. Siegel, Esq. (rhs@ansellgrimm.com).

 

Developers Continuing to Pursue Antitrust Suits

Posted on June 26th, 2017

Fidelity Eatontown and QuickChek, represented by AGA attorneys Joshua Bauchner and Michael Ansell, will continue to pursue their claims against Excellency Enterprises, Kennedy Auto Service and others for attempting to eliminate competition in the local market for gas station convenience stores by preventing Plaintiffs’ developments from moving forward.

Fidelity Eatontown and QuickChek asserted violations of the Sherman Act and the New Jersey Antitrust Act, as well as claims for tortious interference and civil conspiracy, by Defendants after they filed allegedly frivolous litigations seeking to delay construction on Eatontown Planning Board approved developments by Fidelity and QuickChek.

According to a story published by www.law360.com by Joyce Hansen, U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti  “ruled that the developers had made claims that could show the gas station companies had tried to discourage competition by making baseless challenges to the developers’ planning applications.”

Bauchner told LAW360 “The court’s decision confirms that entities seeking to abuse the land use process by engaging in sham litigation to prevent lawful competition are properly subject to federal antitrust claims.”

For the full story on Judge Martinotti’s decision, visit www.law360.com.

ANSELL GRIMM & AARON, PC zoning and land use attorneys have successfully secured land use approvals for many notable projects throughout the State of New Jersey and our litigation practice group offers extensive legal acumen as well as an in-depth understanding of all commercial operations. Please contact Joshua S. Bauchner (jb@ansellgrimm.com) or Michael H. Ansell (mha@ansellgrimm.com) to discuss your case.

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For more than 85 years, ANSELL GRIMM & AARON, PC has been dedicated to providing excellent legal representation. In providing zealous advocacy and skilled legal advice to our diverse clientele, our attorneys all practice with a common philosophy… commitment to excellence and commitment to people. For more information, visit us at www.ansellgrimm.com.

 

 

Bauchner details quagmire awaiting any plans to restrict cannabis industry

Posted on June 19th, 2017

ANSELL GRIMM & AARON, PC partner Joshua S. Bauchner recently published an article with High Times Magazine on the legal, political, and economic reasons the Trump administration needs to step back from placing greater restrictions on the cannabis industry. The article, entitled “Trump and Sessions Need to Take a Deep Breath (And Perhaps Inhale) When It Comes to Pot Regulations” is available here.

AGA Hosts Cannabis Roundtable

Posted on May 15th, 2017

ANSELL GRIMM & AARON, PC hosted a Cannabis Roundtable on May 11, 2017, including representatives from various business sectors supporting the cannabis community. The goal of the Roundtable was to offer a suite of services to clients providing total support in each sector and easing an otherwise very challenging entry into the cannabis marketplace (particularly on the East Coast).

Participants included:

  • Ed Keating, a co-founder of Cannabiz, which is the most comprehensive source for U.S. marijuana licensing information acquiring and maintaining up-to-date data on over 16,000 marijuana licenses in the Cannabiz Media Database.
  • Frank Salluce and Dave Smokler, the co-founders of 420 IT Solutions, which is the leading provider of business advisory and IT advisory services for the cannabis related businesses.
  • Max Meade and Billy Roberts, with Brown & Brown Insurance, which provides total policy coverage for cannabis, hemp and CBD operations, including: general liability, product liability, excess liability, property, crop, equipment breakdown and workers comp.
  • Tom Corbo, of Shure Grow, which provides hydroponics, lighting and related equipment for personal and commercial cultivation.
  • Joshua S. Bauchner, Esq., Michael H. Ansell, Esq., and Anthony D’Artiglio, Esq. of the firm explained how members of AGA’s Cannabis Law Practice Group can assist with corporate formation and governance, licensing, leasing, financing, litigation, and regulatory compliance.
  • Greg S. Gargulinski, Esq., a criminal defense attorney also with the firm, explained the intersection between state and federal law, and advised applicants on how to protect against a background check revealing dated, unknown, or de minimus issues which may compromise licensure.
  • AGA clients intending to apply for licensure when the application process is reopened also attended, connecting with those who can support the establishment of a dispensary and grow house in accord with New Jersey’s tiered license structure.

ANSELL GRIMM & AARON, PC’s dedicated Cannabis Law group has an in-depth understanding of the laws both specifically and generally related to cannabis production, sale, use, regulation and legalization and our attorneys are here to help individuals and businesses of all sizes and any stage of development plan for a successful future.

For additional information, please visit our Website and follow us on Twitter @THCCounselors where we provide frequent updates on legal and business developments in the cannabis space.

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For more than 85 years, ANSELL GRIMM & AARON, PC has been dedicated to providing excellent legal representation. In providing zealous advocacy and skilled legal advice to our diverse clientele, our attorneys all practice with a common philosophy… commitment to excellence and commitment to people. For more information, visit us at http://www.ansellgrimm.com.

 

Byrne shares knowledge of HOA lien foreclosure process

Posted on May 5th, 2017

The foreclosure of a condominium and/or homeowners’ association lien is unique and multi-faceted process. While there are some similarities, there are many, many differences between a lien foreclosure and a residential mortgage foreclosure. Attorneys unfamiliar with those differences, and with the overall lien foreclosure process, can do a great disservice to their condominium and association clients. In the April issue of , Ansell Grimm & Aaron Partner, and Chair of the firm’s Community Association Law practice area, David J. Byrne, Esq., called on his more than two decades of experience in the field to detail some of the unique aspects of the lien foreclosure process, as well compare that process with that of a residential mortgage foreclosure process.

Patterson joins HV-CAI Executive Board

Posted on April 13th, 2017

Stacey R. Patterson, Esq. has been appointed to the Executive Board of Community Association Institute’s Hudson Valley Chapter. The CAI Hudson Valley Chapter serves the educational, business, and networking needs of community associations in the Hudson Valley New York area. Members include condominium, cooperative, and homeowner associations as well as those who provide services and products to associations.

Class Action Suit filed against Welch Foods, Inc. & The Promotion in Motion Companies, Inc.

Posted on April 11th, 2017

ANSELL GRIMM & AARON, PC recently commenced a class action against Welch Foods, Inc. and The Promotion in Motion Companies, Inc. seeking redress for Defendants’ unconscionable and deceptive consumer practices in misrepresenting the fruit content and the nutritional and health qualities of Welch’s fruit snacks (the “Fruit Snacks” or “Products”), in the Superior Court of the State of New Jersey, Monmouth County.

The Complaint alleges that Defendants engaged in a deceptive marketing campaign to convince consumers that the Fruit Snacks contain significant amounts of the actual fruits shown in the marketing and on the labeling of the Products, are nutritious and healthful to consume, and are more healthful than similar products. In fact, these representations are not accurate.

For example, in a May 19, 2009 press release announcing the launch of the Island Fruits variety of the Fruit Snacks, Michael Rosenberg, President and CEO of Promotion in Motion, claimed, “Like all Welch’s® Fruit Snacks, new Island Fruits is made with Real Fruit and Fruit Juices . . . It’s a better alternative to lots of other snacks as it also contains 100% of the daily value of Vitamin C, 25% of the daily value of Vitamins A and E and is fat free. We find that Mom is putting one pack of Welch’s® Fruit Snacks Island Fruits in her kid’s lunchbox—and keeping one pack for herself.” Indeed, Defendants label and market the Fruit Snacks as “Made With REAL Fruit,” prominently depict a cornucopia of characterizing fruits on the front of each package, and prominently claim that “Fruit is our 1st Ingredient!”

However, Defendants’ Fruit Snacks contain only minimal amounts of the vibrantly depicted fruits, and are no more healthful than candy. In fact, two of the first three ingredients in the Fruits Snacks are added sweeteners. On average, sugar makes up 40% of each serving of the regular Fruit Snacks, 60% of each serving of the Fruit ’n Yogurt Snacks, more than half of each serving of the PB & J Snacks, and about 40% of the Fruit Rolls Snacks. The Products are mostly a combination of corn syrup, sugar, modified corn starch, juice from concentrate, and artificial flavors and dyes. The fruits that Defendants depict in the marketing and labeling of the Fruit Snacks are not the most predominant fruit in the Product and Defendants are only able to claim that “Fruit is our 1st Ingredient!” by violating federal labeling law.

Thus, although Defendants market their Fruit Snacks as healthful and nutritious, these Products are devoid of the health benefits Plaintiff and other reasonable consumers associate with consuming real fruit.

The Complaint alleges that Defendants’ deceptions played a substantial part in influencing Plaintiff’s, and other consumers’, decisions to purchase the Fruit Snacks. Plaintiff relied on Defendants’ “Made With REAL Fruit” claims prominently displayed on the front of the Products’ packages. If Plaintiff had known the true fruit content, as well as the true nutritional and health qualities of the Fruit Snacks she purchased, she would not have purchased the Fruit Snacks.

As a result, the Complaint alleges that Defendants’ deceptive statements regarding the Fruit Snacks violate state and federal law. Plaintiff asserts claims on behalf of herself and on behalf of all purchasers of the Fruit Snacks for Defendants’ violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq. (“CFA”), the New Jersey Truth in Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act, N.J.S.A. 56:12-14 through 18 (“TCCWNA”), and for fraud, breach of express and implied warranties, and unjust enrichment.

Plaintiff is jointly represented by ANSELL GRIMM & AARON, PC and the RICHMAN LAW GROUP.

ANSELL GRIMM & AARON, PC regularly pursues claims on behalf of consumers deceived by marketing, labeling, or other misinformation concerning food and other products in the marketplace. If you, or someone you know, has purchased a product relying on deceptive information please contact Joshua S. Bauchner (jb@ansellgrimm.com) or Michael H. Ansell (mha@ansellgrimm.com) to discuss your case.

 

 

For more than 85 years, ANSELL GRIMM & AARON, PC has been dedicated to providing excellent legal representation. In providing zealous advocacy and skilled legal advice to our diverse clientele, our attorneys all practice with a common philosophy… commitment to excellence and commitment to people. For more information, visit us at www.ansellgrimm.com.

 

Wiechnik wins $2M verdict for Falcon Ridge

Posted on March 31st, 2017

The Superior Court of New Jersey recently entered a $2M, verdict against Silver Fox, LLC, and in favor of Falcon Ridge Condominium Association, Inc. Falcon Ridge is a 27 building condominium situated in Hamburg New Jersey. Silver Fox, LLC, is the successor sponsor and developer of Falcon Ridge.

Falcon Ridge originally filed suit in December 2011, asserting a variety of claims, including negligence, breach of warranty and breach of implied warranty. Falcon Ridge’s expert, Mitchell Frumkin of KIPCON, Inc., estimated that Silver Fox’s negligence and breach of warranty caused $1,782,000.00, worth of damage to Falcon Ridge’s owners and residents. The parties attempted mediation, but the matter was not able to be settled amicably.

After a two-week, non-jury, trial, the Honorable Frank J. Deangelis ruled that Silver Fox had negligently constructed common elements. He ruled further that Silver Fox breached both implied and express warranties, in regards to Falcon Ridge’s buildings.

Mark Wiechnik, Chair of Ansell Grimm & Aaron’s Community Association Law Group’s Construction Defect Practice, oversaw the litigation since its onset, and personally represented Falcon Ridge at trial.

For questions concerning construction defects or any other litigation matters, please contact Mark Wiechnik, Esq. by email at mmw@ansellgrimm.com.

Patterson on panel for CAI roundtable

Posted on March 2nd, 2017

Stacey Patterson, Esq. will serve as a panel member in a roundtable luncheon discussion with property managers and homeowners, answering legal questions affecting New York community associations, as presented by the attendees. This event is hosted by the Community Associations Institute Hudson Valley. The luncheon will talk place at the Hyatt House in White Plains, New York on March 22 from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. Attendance is free for property managers and homeowners. Please visit the CAI website for more details and to find out how you can register.