Fall 1998

Vol.3 – No.2

What’s New in Consumer Law?

State can tax all of non-domiciliary resident’s income. New York’s tax on the investments of a New Jersey man, an investment banker who commuted daily to New York City, has been sustained by the New York Court of Appeals. He and his wife had permanent abodes in several states, including New York. He failed to show that he spent fewer than 184 days a year in New York. If a person is a New York resident, the state can use residency as a basis of taxing all of his income, including income from intangible investments such as interest and dividends which may lack a fixed geographical situs. The definition of “resident” states that if the individual has a permanent “abode” in New York (even if he has others elsewhere) and is in New York more than 183 days each year, he is a New York resident for income tax purposes.

What’s New in Debtor/Creditor Law?

In-house collection agency violates FDCPA. A creditor’s in-house collection agency, which sent a collection letter without explicitly mentioning the creditor’s name, can be sued under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). A bank tried to collect a credit card debt by sending a letter from its in-house collection agency which is part of its retail services division. The letter, without giving the name of the bank, said it was from a unit of “CRS”. The bank argued that it was exempt because the letter had been sent by the in-house division. The FDCPA exempts creditors and their in-house agencies as long as the creditors “true business name” is used. However, the court said that “an unsophisticated debtor might be unaware that the collection letter was from the bank and not from an outside collection agency, because the cryptic reference to ‘CRS’ was buried in the body of the letter’s text”. The triggering of the FDCPA does not depend on whether third parties-in-fact are involved in the collection of a debt, but rather “whether a least sophisticated consumer would have the false impression that a third party was collecting the debt,” ruled the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

What’s New in Divorce/Family Law?

Harsher penalties for “deadbeat” parents. A parent who fails to pay child support for longer than two years or in an amount greater than $10,000 for a child who lives in another state can be fined and imprisoned for up to two years under the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act of 1998, effective June 24, 1998.

What’s New in Estate Planning Law?

Demographics. The two major demographic factors affecting estate planning in the 21st Century will be increased life expectancy and maturing of the baby boomers. It is becoming more and more common for four or five generations to be living at the same time. A child born in 1996 could expect to live 70.6 years, about 29 years longer than a child born in 1900. This is due largely to reduced death rates for children and young adults. The most rapid increase in persons 65 or older is expected between the years 2010 and 2030, when the “baby boom” generation reaches the age of 65. By 2030, there will be about 70 million seniors, more than twice the number in 1996. People 65+ are projected to represent 13 percent of the population in the year 2000 and 20 percent of the population in the year 2030.

What’s New in Health Law?

Medical decision making. The advances in medical technology have allowed many people to live longer, healthier lives on their own. But these advances also raise ethical issues as to when does life actually end. Medical technology over the next decades will facilitate treatment for diseases before they occur and sophisticated drug delivery systems which target specific parts of the body. Health care proxies, do-not-resuscitate orders and living wills are important medical decision-making tools.

What’s New in Landlord/Tenant Law?

Judge can’t set his own policy on issuance of eviction warrants. A judge, as a matter of his own policy, imposed additional procedural requirements before issuing eviction warrants for the non-payment of rent. The New York Court of Appeals held that it was not permissible for the judge to delay the issuance of a warrant until five days after a copy of the judgment is mailed to the tenant. This requirement was not imposed or authorized by state statute, but rather by the judge as a matter of personal preference. Discretionary variation of the applicable procedural instructions would be permissible in particular circumstances upon the showing of good cause. However, a judge can’t vary the statute “as a matter of personal policy preference” for no particular reason.

What’s New in Personal Injury Law?

Manufacturers are liable for lack of air bags and seat belts. A car manufacturer can be sued in strict products liability for not including an air bag, according to the New York Court of Appeals. A manufacturer can also be sued for not installing a lap seat belt, according to the Texas Supreme Court. These claims are not preempted by the U.S. Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which gives all manufacturers the option of installing either an air bag or automatic seat belt. Car manufacturers would be liable under the following circumstances for lack of air bags: the collision was head-on or at no more than a 45-degree angle; the injured party was sitting in the front seat and suffered head, neck or chest injuries; and the car was going fast enough that an air bag would have deployed, but slow enough that it would have made a difference.

What’s New in Real Estate Law?

Condo associations settle two discrimination suits. A condominium association that failed to stop one of its members from harassing another member agreed to pay more than $600,000 to settle a Fair Housing Act suit. The plaintiff claimed that after she co-signed a letter warning one of the other residents about abusing pool privileges, he initiated a campaign of racially and sexually offensive remarks. He left a note on her door that read, “See you in the back yard–hanging from a tree”. The condo bylaws authorized the association to take action against the resident for creating a nuisance or committing an illegal act. The plaintiff repeatedly asked the association to stop the harassment. However, they did nothing more than send a few letters, even after the harasser pled guilty to criminal charges. The association declined the harasser’s offer to sell his unit to them (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia).

What’s New in Small Business Law?

Supreme Court broadens employer liability for sexual harassment. The U.S. Supreme Court has significantly broadened employers’ liability for sexual harassment. Employers can be held liable for sexual harassment, even when its done by low level supervisors, without the employer’s knowledge. Where an employee is sexually harassed by a supervisor and suffers a tangible job loss, such as a demotion, discharge or undesirable reassignment, the employer will be liable for damages. The employer is liable regardless of whether he knew or should have known of the supervisor’s harassment, or that the supervisor was acting outside the scope of his/her authority. Once it is established that a supervisor sexually harassed an employee and that the employee suffered a tangible job loss, the employer is liable to that employee for the acts of the supervisor.

Injured Victims’ Rights

The Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C. Ten Point Pledge to Accident/Injury Clients is:

  • To communicate with you in plain language that is easy to understand.
  • To promptly return your telephone calls.
  • To quickly and thoroughly investigate and analyze your case. Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C. does not accept every accident case.
  • To have your case personally handled by an attorney.
  • To keep you informed of the progress of your case at all times.
  • To show you the personal care, concern and att���������h��������pXC,!”(BcfN. # )S����������cQUVSPNPOMUXVP^n�������������������������������������������ʾ�������6�����������>

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Post comment