AGA Obtains Dismissal of Class Action Suit Relying on
U.S. Supreme Court’s Recent Spokeo Decision

Posted on August 2nd, 2016

ANSELL GRIMM & AARON, PC recently secured the dismissal, with prejudice, of a federal class action complaint alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, 47 U.S.C. § 227 et seq. (“TCPA”), in accord with recent United States Supreme Court precedent embodied in the seminal case of Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016). This marked a significant victory for our client in one of the first cases in the nation to apply Spokeo to dismiss a putative class action for lack of standing.

Specifically, Plaintiff in Susinno v. Work Out World, No. 3:15-civ-05881(PGS)(TJB), alleged that our client made a single, unanswered, auto-dialed call which went to voicemail. Plaintiff further alleged that the call violated the TCPA because it was made without her express, written consent. In granting our motion to dismiss, the Court primarily relied on the Supreme Court’s Spokeo decision.

In Spokeo, the plaintiff alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act whereby defendant Spokeo allegedly disseminated mistaken personal information about him. The Court found that while there may have been procedural violations of the statute, it was unclear whether the plaintiff suffered an “injury in fact” — requiring both “particularized” harm specific to him and a “concrete” injury that actually exists. Specifically, the Court found that while the lower court considered the particularized requirement, it failed to consider concreteness. At its core, the ruling considered whether bare, procedural violations of a statute alone “entail a degree of risk sufficient to meet the concreteness requirement” establishing an actual injury.

Applying the Spokeo Court’s reasoning, The Honorable Peter G. Sheridan held that the purpose of the TCPA was to prevent repeated, annoying, and harassing calls to consumers. The Court concluded that a single, unanswered voicemail did not satisfy this standard. The Court further held that in the absence of any annoyance or related harm to Plaintiff resulting from the single call, she did not suffer a “concrete” injury sufficient to satisfy the elements of an “injury in fact” foreclosing her standing to assert the claims. As a result, dismissal was warranted.

Plaintiffs class action attorneys file TCPA complaints because the statute provides for damages of $500 per call ($1,500 for willful violations) plus attorneys’ fees and costs. Since the TCPA was amended, effective October 16, 2013, making it more onerous for businesses, class action litigation based on the statute increased more than 1000% nationwide.

ANSELL GRIMM & AARON, PC is aware that many of our clients rely on various forms of communication to connect with consumers toward generating business. Services providing auto-dialed, “robo-calls” can contact thousands of consumers in a single day. However, the risks of dong so are manifold as it is critical that business carefully adhere to the provisions of the TCPA to avoid exposure to significant statutory liability. Oftentimes, this simply may be achieved by including particular contractual language.

If you have questions about the case, or the TCPA in general, please contact Joshua S. Bauchner, Esq. at (973) 247-9000 or jb@ansellgrimm.com.

Shapiro and Bauchner to lead AGA Litigation Department

Posted on July 27th, 2016

ANSELL GRIMM & AARON, PC is pleased to announce the appointment of Lawrence H. Shapiro and Joshua S. Bauchner as Co-Chairs of its Litigation Department, effective September 1, 2016.

For nearly 100 years, commercial enterprises and individuals throughout the northeast region and beyond have looked to Ansell Grimm & Aaron to obtain positive outcomes in matters of dispute resolution and complex litigation. The attorneys who comprise the firm’s litigation practice group offer extensive legal acumen as well as an in-depth understanding of commercial operations in banking, energy, apparel, media, health, and real estate. The firm’s litigation practice group engages at the trial and appellate levels in both State and Federal courts, as well as in arbitration and mediation proceedings, throughout New Jersey and New York.

Our litigators’ experience is marked by an in-depth understanding of commercial and industrial operations as well as an unwavering commitment to the individuals and businesses we serve. That commitment extends beyond the courtroom. When appropriate, the firm will always seek to leverage those windows of opportunity that allow for settlement or less costly — and often creative — legal solutions.

Larry and Josh will Co-Chair a robust and growing Litigation Department, including attorneys James G. Aaron, Michael H. Ansell, Barry M. Capp, Breanne M. DeRaps, Jay B. Feldman, Mark M. Wiechnik, and recent hire, Anthony J. D’Artiglio.

For additional information concerning the Litigation Department, please contact Larry or Josh at lhs@ansellgrimm.com or jb@ansellgrimm.com, or at (732) 922-1000.

AGA attorneys take the field to support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Posted on July 26th, 2016

Ansell Grimm & Aaron P.C. Community Association Practice Group attorneys Lysa Bergenfeld and Stacey Patterson teamed with Erika Berfumo from Certa Pro Painters, Valentine Valdman from Station Square, Ray Ambrosino and Brad Memoli from Garden State Securities, Caesar Mistretta from Hub International Insurance Brokers, and Bob Rogers and Dawn Ruggiero from First Service Residential at Community Association Institute’s 2nd Annual Olympics, at Thompson Park in Monroe. Proceeds from the July 20 event are donated to the Make-a-Wish Foundation which arranges experiences for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

For more information about AGA’s Community Association Practice Group, please contact Lysa Bergenfeld at 609-557-1034 or Stacey Patterson at 973-925-7343.

 

 

Siegel joins AGA Matrimonial & Family Law practice

Posted on July 7th, 2016

Robert H. Siegel, Esq., has joined Ansell, Grimm & Aaron, PC’s Matrimonial & Family Law Department as an Associate Attorney.

Mr. Siegel and the firm’s Matrimonial & Family Law attorneys handle an array of family law matters including divorce, custody, domestic violence, civil unions, domestic partnerships, the negotiation and drafting of prenuptial agreements, and marital torts. Mr. Siegel will be working out of the Ocean office.

Mr. Siegel has been a family law attorney at two other New Jersey firms prior to joining Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC and is admitted to the New Jersey and California Bars.  Mr. Siegel graduated from Brandeis University and from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

“Robert is a great addition to our already strong matrimonial and family law team,” said Allison Ansell Ryan, Esq., Chair of the Matrimonial & Family Law Department. “We look forward to utilizing Robert’s experience in working with our clients for years to come.”

In its more than 85 years AGA, has grown to represent clients throughout the tristate area via offices in Ocean, NJ, Woodland Park, NJ, White Plains, NY, Princeton, NJ and Newtown, Pa. AGA attorneys are dedicated to providing excellent legal representation by providing zealous advocacy and skilled legal advise to our diverse clientele. AGA attorneys all practice with a common philosophy, Commitment to Excellence and Commitment to People.

For more information on AGA’s Matrimonial & Family Law group, contact Allison Ansell Ryan, at 732-643-5217 or aar@ansellgrimm.com.  To contact Robert Siegel direct at 732-643-5291 or via email at rhs@ansellgrimm.com.

AG&A attorneys challenging opposition
to QuickChek and WaWa projects

Posted on July 5th, 2016

Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC attorneys have filed a federal antitrust complaint asserting claims arising from the attempted monopolization of the gas station convenience store market in the Borough of Eatontown, New Jersey.  The action was filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey captioned Fidelity Eatontown, LLC and QuickChek Corporation v. Excellency Enterprise, LLC, Kennedy Auto Service, Inc., and Gas Of Eatontown, Inc., Docket No. 3:16-cv-03899-FLW-LHG.

Specifically, the Complaint alleges that Defendants engaged in sham litigations and frivolous and pre-textual appeals of planning board, governing body, and State agency actions to prevent the development of competing gas station convenience stores thereby preserving their monopoly position.  The Complaint further alleges that as a result of the series of sham petitions and legal actions filed by Defendants, Plaintiffs have been forced to pay thousands of dollars toward application fees, expert fees, and attorney fees to pursue land use approvals and have suffered lost profits and other costs associated with the delay in construction resulting from the Defendants’ willful and abusive tactics.

The action is predicated on a recent decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Hanover 3201 Realty, LLC. v. Village Supermarkets, Inc., 806 F.3d 162 (3d Cir. 2015), which upheld a developer’s antitrust claims arising out of the sham litigations and other anticompetitive acts undertaken by an objector — akin to those actions allegedly taken by Defendants here — to unlawfully block development.

We know that many of our developer clients face similar, frivolous opposition when seeking land use approvals for their projects — compelling them to incur significant expense and suffer interminable delay.  While ANSELL GRIMM & AARON, PC attorneys strive to amicably resolve objector concerns, we also remain ready to challenge sham objectors in defense of our clients’ rights, as here.

 

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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 additional information concerning this release, please contact Joshua S. Bauchner, Esq. or Michael H. Ansell, Esq. at (973) 247-9000.

Jessica Zolotorofe explains why Mixed-use Developments are a Favorable Investment

Posted on June 8th, 2016

AGA Attorney Jessica Zolotorofe is a featured writer in the May 27 issue of the Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal. In her article “Mixed-use developments: Seemingly the perfect fit”, Ms. Zolotorofe discusses mixed-use projects, those having retail and residential components, and their growing popularity. The benefits and challenges are weighed by Ms. Zolotorofe, as well as items to think about prior to investment in this type of real estate development. The full article can be found here: Mixed Use Developments.

Ms. Zolotorofe is based in AGA’s Woodland Park office. Her practice is devoted to the areas of real estate transactions, including buying, selling, leasing, and financing commercial properties, as well as civil litigation matters. Ms. Zolotorofe can be reached at 732-643-5256 or at jtz@ansellgrimm.com

Majority Rules or Rule by Super Majority? It Depends…

Posted on June 7th, 2016

In the latest issue of Association Help Now, David Bryne, managing partner of Ansell Grimm & Aaron’s Community Association Practice Group addresses the tricky question of vote counting when it comes to issues affecting the declarations and bylaws of homeowner’s associations.

“In New Jersey, the general rule is the amendment percentage is set by the document that is sought to be amended, except in certain situations” Byrne explains in the article, “A condominium can be terminated if 80% of everyone votes to terminate. That’s a provision set by statue.”

For the full story, visit AHN’s website.

Richard B. Linderman and Mark M. Wiechnik to discuss
bankruptcy and foreclosure strategies at Symposium

Posted on May 20th, 2016

AGA’s Community Association Practice Group lawyers Richard B. Linderman and Mark M. Wiechnik will be providing a roundtable education session at the Select Property & Association Management Annual Symposium on Wednesday, May 25. Mr. Linderman and Mr. Wiechnik will discuss the topic of successful legal strategies for dealing with bankruptcy filings and foreclosures within condominiums and homeowners associations. The Symposium will take place at Eden Resorts and Suites in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and will run from 5 pm-9 pm. At the Symposium, Mr. Linderman and Mr. Wiechnik also will be available to discuss all of the Communication Association Practice group’s services.

If you are planning on attending, please visit AGA’s display or contact Mr. Linderman or Mr. Wiechnik to set up a meeting while you are at the Symposium. Mr. Linderman can be reached at rbl@ansellgrimm.com or by calling 609-557-1032. Mr. Wiechnik can be reached at mmw@ansellgrimm.com or by calling 609-557-1033.

Posted in News

AGA Attorney Lawrence Shapiro’s Successful Argument
Before Supreme Court Redefined Just Compensation

Posted on May 20th, 2016

The long running litigation between the Borough of Harvey Cedars and some of its oceanfront residents has finally come to an end. The borough’s counsel for these matters, Lawrence Shapiro, Esq. of Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC successfully petitioned the New Jersey Supreme Court on appeal from a jury verdict of $375,000 in favor of the Harvey and Phyllis Karan. The July 2013 decision was a departure from legal precedent that had stood for more than a century and paved the way for the state to move forward with its shore protection project.

In his opinion, writing for a unanimous court, Supreme Court Justice Barry T. Albin wrote, “When a public project requires the partial taking of property, ‘just compensation’ to the owner must be based on a consideration of all relevant, reasonably calculable, and non-conjectural factors that either decrease or increase the value of the remaining property. In a partial-takings case, homeowners are entitled to the fair market value of their loss, not to a windfall.”

In the aftermath of the Karan decision, another case where the jury had awarded $265,000 was retried under the legal standard. The result was a jury verdict of only $300.

In the final remaining case, the appeal of which was decided May 5, Shapiro was successful in having the property owner’s expert reports barred from presentation to a jury for using improper valuation methods. The Appellate Court recently affirmed that decision and, as a result, an agreed upon verdict of $7,500 was entered bringing the Harvey Cedars litigation to an end.

The Harvey Cedars cases were at the forefront of the State of New Jersey’s efforts to construct shore protection measures. The Karan case, which the Supreme Court agreed to hear before Superstorm Sandy struck and in which the State only intervened for argument before that Court, has resulted in a tectonic shift in how partial takings condemnation cases are valued and tried. Shapiro’s successful prosecution of that matter on behalf of the Borough means that other municipalities, the State, and Federal Government will save millions of dollars in easement acquisition and litigation costs as the shore protection project moves forward.

The Karan decision also will potentially save the state and tax payers millions of dollars in road improvement and other projects where a partial taking of property occurs and the positive benefit of the project can be quantified.

For additional information, please contact Lawrence Shapiro at (732) 922-1000 or lhs@ansellgrimm.com.

 

Posted in News

Brian Ansell, Pam Mulligan expand roles with County Bar Associations

Posted on May 19th, 2016

On May 26th AGA Partner Brian E. Ansell will be installed as First Vice President of the Monmouth County Bar Association. AGA Counsel Pamela A. Mulligan will be installed as President of the Burlington County Bar Foundation and as Treasurer of the Burlington County Bar Association on June 3rd.

Mr. Ansell, based in the firm’s Ocean Township office, has been very active with the Monmouth County Bar Association and has been a trustee since 2008 and officer of the Monmouth County Bar Association since 2012. Mr. Ansell focuses his practice in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, criminal defense, municipal court, DWI defense, as well as general civil, criminal and chancery litigation including litigation related to wills and estates. Mr. Ansell is Chair of the Civil Practice, Judicial Appointments and Municipal Court Committees and has served on multiple other committees throughout his tenure with the Monmouth County Bar Association. Mr. Ansell’s installation will take place at the Oyster Point Hotel in Red Bank, New Jersey.

Ms. Mulligan currently serves as Secretary for the Burlington County Bar Association and Treasurer of the Burlington County Bar Foundation and has been active with the Burlington County Bar Association and Foundation since 2007. In 2011 Ms. Mulligan was awarded the Robert W. Criscuolo Award from the Burlington County Bar Association for her contributions to the Association and to the Community. Ms. Mulligan is currently the Chair of the Corporate Networking Committee and a member of the Due Diligence, Debtor/Creditor/Bankruptcy, Budget & Finance, CLE, and Women in the Profession Committees. Ms. Mulligan was previously co-chair of the Debtor/Creditor/Bankruptcy and Young Lawyers Committees. She has presented CLEs for the Bar Association on the topics of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure and has moderated other seminars for the Bar Association. Ms. Mulligan focuses her practice in the areas of real estate, creditors’ rights, bankruptcy and intellectual property limited to copyright and trademark. Ms. Mulligan’s installation will take place at Kings Grant Community Center in Marlton, New Jersey.

Mr. Ansell may be reached via email at bea@ansellgrimm.com or via his direct line at 732-643-5230.

Ms. Mulligan may be reached via email at pam@ansellgrimm.com or via her direct line at 609-557-1045