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US Supreme Court Alert – PennEast Pipeline Cert Petition Granted !

by: Joseph Grather
4 Feb 2021
All you SCOTUS watchers already know the news, but yesterday the United States Supreme Court granted PennEast Pipeline Company’s petition for certiorari.   Petition GRANTED. In addition to the question presented by the petition, the parties are directed to brief and argue the following question: Did the Court of Appeals properly exercise jurisdiction over this case?... Read More

Trials in the Age of COVID/SARS-2

by: Joseph Grather
18 Jan 2021
As most New Jersey trial lawyers would know, ^ is a picture of the Hudson County Courthouse, which was built over a century ago. (click here for a detailed history of the building by jerseydigs).  It is one of the most impressive and beautiful courthouses in the entire State.  It was renamed the William J.... Read More

Functional Units and A New Year

by: Joseph Grather
7 Jan 2021
Rolling into a New Year here in Morristown after enduring a 14 day SARS-2/COVID-19 quarantine isolation. Sound familiar? I bet. So, what do condemnation lawyers think of while sitting in isolation? Real estate valuation and property rights issues, of course!  With that in mind, here’s a good one: what happens when your client’s private property... Read More

Is COVID-19 “Shutdown” Compensation Due Under Disaster Control Act? And Who Gets To Decide?

by: Joseph Grather
5 Nov 2020
An interesting case arose in our home vicinage – Morris & Sussex – involving a small business owner’s challenge to Governor Murphy’s COVID-19 “shutdown” orders. JWC Fitness v. Governor Murphy:  The complaint was filed about a month ago and was subsequently dismissed by Assignment Judge Stuart Minkowitz on jurisdictional grounds.  Judge Minkowtiz held that jurisdiction... Read More

Taxpayer Appeal Upsets Redevelopment Designation in West Orange

by: Joseph Grather
1 Oct 2020
The Appellate Division issued an unpublished opinion on September 11, 2020, in the case of Kevin Malanga v. West Orange. Mr. Malanga is a “resident taxpayer” within the Township of West Orange who appealed the designation of the Essex Green Shopping Center and the Executive Drive Office Park as a non-condemnation “area in need of... Read More

Church Loses Interest Awarded on Condemnation Judgment

by: Joseph Grather
24 Aug 2020
I remember long ago, my first case against NJDOT where a judgment awarding constitutional just compensation triggered a duty to pay interest on the award.  I also remember reading “Title 27” (NJDOT statute) and finding the 6% “solution” to my interest problem.  I mentioned the great news to one of the founders of my firm... Read More

Property Owners Standing Strong Against Pipeline Companies

by: Joseph Grather
29 Jul 2020
Just as President Trump moves to block Russia’s expansion of its natural gas pipeline infrastructure, local property owners continue to stand their ground against pipeline companies. PennEast Pipeline & the Supreme Court  Several owners in Mercery County opposed the PennEast Pipeline project.  NextCity just published an article detailing an owner’s years-long battle against PennEast. Back... Read More

Suit Alleges Los Angeles’ Anti-Eviction and Rent Freeze Laws a Taking

by: Joseph Grather
16 Jun 2020
The “Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles” has sued the City of Los Angeles in United States District Court for the Central District of California.  A copy of the filed complaint is available here.  According to the Complaint, in the wake of the “Wuhan Coronavirus”, the City “hastily” adopted a series of measures that prevent... Read More

NJ Supremes’ Reversal of Jury Verdict Reminds Trial Courts of Gatekeeping Function

by: Joseph Grather
5 Jun 2020
Not surprised.  As a follow-up report on our blog here, which recounted an Appellate Division opinion affirming a jury verdict of $4.2 million in favor of property owner Anthony Gentile where he did not present appraisal/valuation testimony at trial after his property in central New Jersey was taken by Manalapan Township.  Guess the verdict was... Read More

New Supreme Court Ruling on COVID-19 Case – Police Power Trumps Freedom of Religion

by: Joseph Grather
1 Jun 2020
On Friday the U.S. Supreme Court issued a terse Order and decision denying a California church’s request for relief from the Governor’s 25% occupancy restriction on church attendance. The Court split 5-4.  The Chief Justice issued the majority opinion and Justice Kavanaugh issued the dissenting opinion. The majority’s rationale – federal courts should defer to... Read More