Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A FREE RESEARCH TOOL FOR NEW YORK ATTORNEYS

Attorneys who are New York State residents and are admitted to practice in New York State are eligible to receive a NYS Library Attorney Borrower's Card. Free online research is available. For more information, go to:

http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/reference/borrowers/attorneys.htm

Monday, March 30, 2015

PROPOSALS BY CONGRESS RE: TAX DEDUCTIONS AND CREDITS

The Republican budget proposal in Congress would eliminate the tax deduction for spousal maintenance, among other deductions, credits, etc.

See http://waysandmeans.house.gov/uploadedfiles/ways_and_means_section_by_section_summary_final_022614.pdf

Friday, March 27, 2015

ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING

As Newsday's series on Zombie Homes turns to illegal housing, if one was "reading the signs", it would appear that the underlying problem is affordable housing.

In that respect, Long Island and New York City is in a similar situation. See: http://peoplesworld.org/new-york-city-facing-the-crisis-of-affordable-housing/

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

INTERESTING REFERENCES TO LANDLORD/TENANT PRACTICES IN FORECLOSURES

Today's Newsday series on Zombie Homes raises some interesting references to landlord/tenant practices in NY. According to Newsday:

1. The holdover procedure (squatters after 30 days are deemed tenants) can be time consuming - months for a judgment of eviction and then months for sheriff to execute warrant.

2. Some banks offer "cash for keys" - to pay tenant/squatter/former homeowner, as the case may be, a fee to vacate by certain date.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

ZOMBIE HOMES

Kudos to Newsday for their week long series on the "Zombie Homes" situation.

A Buffalo University Law School student wrote an interesting paper in 2013 on this issue:

Unfinished Foreclosures: When Banks Walk Away From Homes

Monday, March 23, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

OLD OFFERING PLANS

Here is the situation: client is selling/buying an "old" co-op and no one has a copy of the original offering plan. The attorney general's office has no record for the co-op in their electronic database or file.

This site may help: http://offeringplanet.com/

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

FREE SENIOR LEGAL CLINIC TODAY AT NASSAU COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION

The next Senior Clinic is scheduled for today Wednesday, March 18, 2015 9:30-11am in the Lecture Room. For more information, contact Demi Tsiopelas, Lawyer Services Coordinator, Nassau County Bar Association, 15th & West Streets, Mineola, NY 11501 - t. 516.747-4070 ext. 210

I will be a volunteer lawyer.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

ON DIVORCE AND BANKRUPTCY

From
 
Robert H. Solomon, P.C.
24 E. Park Avenue
Long Beach, New York 11561
 
 
"Dear Colleague:
            I hope this finds you well.  I recently came across this issue in my practice and thought it may interest you and your clients. Rob
            It is not uncommon to find that a person filing for divorce is also filing for protection under the Bankruptcy Code, or vice versa.  Usually financial distress leads to a divorce and/or divorce leads to financial stress on one or both spouses.  One should consider the consequences of choosing the order in which he/she files bankruptcy and divorce, as the order may change the outcome significantly.
            A married person may file bankruptcy individually or jointly with his/her spouse.  If a married person files individually, any joint debts the couple holds will be discharged as to the filing spouse only; meaning the non-filing spouse remains the only liable party on the debt.  Additionally, even if the couple is filing separately or only one spouse is filing, the income and expenses of the non-filing spouse are required so that the court, the trustee, and the creditors can evaluate the household's financial position and determine which chapter the filer(s) qualify for.[i]
            When determining whether to file bankruptcy or divorce first, a couple has to consider its goals.  If both parties anticipate financial difficulty and the need for bankruptcy and if both parties agree to cooperate with each other to provide all the required documentation, then they may consider filing bankruptcy jointly prior to filing divorce.  The benefits of filing jointly include sharing one legal fee and one filing fee and simplifying the divorce process by resolving most marital and individual debts prior to reaching a divorce settlement.
            However, where the parties are uncooperative with each other, where one party is opposed to the bankruptcy filing, where the combined income of both parties fails the Means Test, where there is a great deal of non-exempt marital assets, or where there are ancillary family court matters that would be delayed by the bankruptcy, then the couple should consider filing divorce prior to filing bankruptcy.
            If a party chooses to file bankruptcy after legal services are rendered, then any unpaid legal fees incurred prior to the filing may be dischargeable.  It would be prudent for any attorney to be prepared and prevent the discharge of their unpaid legal fees.  If the family law attorney suspects bankruptcy may be on the horizon for either married party, he/she may suggest filing bankruptcy prior to the divorce or may require a higher down payment of the retainer fee.  If neither are an option, then the attorney may consider an attorney’s lien.[ii]
___________________________________
[i] Chapter 7 is the chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing for "liquidation," (i.e., the sale of a debtor's nonexempt property and the distribution of the proceeds to creditors).  Chapter 13 is the chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing for adjustment of debts of an individual with regular income (Chapter 13 allows a debtor to keep property and pay debts over time, usually over three to five years).
[ii] See N.Y. Jud. Law § 475."

Monday, March 16, 2015

THE LYING CLIENT

Having just finished watching the documentary on HBO regarding the Durst case, I am also fascinated by the article which originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of the ABA Journal with this headline: “The Lying Client: Why you should do your own legwork before putting your trust in a client.”

See http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/why_you_should_do_your_own_legwork_before_putting_your_trust_in_a_client

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

STUDENT MENTORING - NASSAU COUNTY

Today is another day of volunteering as a student mentor. This program is offered through the Nassau County Bar Association:

"Student Mentors
Provide valuable adult guidance and serve as a role model for at-risk middle school students in one-on-one sessions at a local middle school. The commitment is twice a month for less than an hour, but the rewards you receive are immeasurable. Mentors are always in demand.
→Contact Demi Tsiopelas at NCBA 516-747-4070 or dtsiopelas@nassaubar.org"

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

HANDLING NEGATIVE ONLINE COMMENTS

Avvo has a webinar on March 12: Someone Online Hates You: Ethical Responses to Negative Online Feedback.

I recall seeing this earlier and I do recommend it as it is also helpful to advise business clients, etc. who seek counsel on similar issues. With the rise of sites like Yelp, etc., online negative feedback can affect anyone.

The link to register here - CLE is not available for NY but again, I find the webinar helpful:

http://ignite.avvo.com/webinar-schedule.html?utm_source=conferences&utm_medium=email&utm_content=schedule&utm_campaign=webinar_pro

Monday, March 9, 2015

Friday, March 6, 2015

SUCCESSION RIGHTS IN RENT CONTROL/STABILIZATION

In general, it is possible for a person who is an occupant in an apartment leased to a family member to become a tenant (succeed) after the primary tenant leaves.

See http://www.nycrgb.org/html/resources/faq/succession.html

Thursday, March 5, 2015

CHANGES AT LAW SCHOOL

Just as a follow up from yesterday's post - wonderful to see one of my classmates and what a change at my alma mater St. John's Law School. Just incredible.

Same with me - Class of 1976 - this is what I looked like:

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

SPEAKING TODAY AT MY LAW SCHOOL ALMA MATER

I am a graduate of St. John's Law School in Queens, NY.

The Nassau County Bar Association Lawyer Assistance Program is sponsoring Wellness Seminars at the law school today, Wednesday, March 4, 2015. I will be one of the speakers. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

VOLUNTEER LAWYERS PROJECT

Today I will be a volunteer lawyer with Nassau Suffolk Law Services at Landlord/Tenant court in Hempstead:
 
"Volunteer Lawyers Project
What is the Volunteer Lawyers
Project?
Attorneys are encouraged to volunteer to provide free legal assistance to the poor in Nassau County through the Volunteer Lawyers Project. NCBA partners with the Nassau/Suffolk Law Services Committee to support VLP, which helps maximize the quantity and quality of pro bono assistance provided for the county's low-income community.
 
What programs are part of the VLP?
Volunteer attorneys handle a wide array of cases including matrimonial matters, individual bankruptcy, personal injury and negligence defense, estate matters, release of accounts blocked by judgment creditors, and various other civil matters.
 
     • The Landlord/Tenant Project's Attorney of the Day Program assists thousands of men, women and children in court to prevent homelessness.
 
     • The Bankruptcy Clinics assist families either with advice or the filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, when appropriate.
 
     • The Matrimonial Project assists hundreds of individuals in obtaining divorces, child support and custody.
 
How does it work?
An attorney based at VLP’s offices in Hempstead conducts client intake interviews and refers clients to appropriate volunteer attorneys. The VLP attorney also recruits and trains volunteer attorneys to handle cases."

Monday, March 2, 2015

DETERMINING THE EQUITABLE INTEREST IN SPOUSE'S BUSINESS

Sutaria v. Sutaria, 123 A.D.3d 909, --- N.Y.S.2d --- (Second Dept. 2014)(2014 WL 7180918)(2014 N.Y. Slip Op. 08829)(Dec. 17, 2014):

"Contrary to the defendant's contention, the Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in precluding his expert from testifying at trial. The defendant's expert was not disclosed to the plaintiff until the morning of the first day of trial, in violation of the court's directive as to disclosure of expert witnesses (see Lucian v. Schwartz, 55 AD3d 687, 688; Schwartzberg v. Kingsbridge Hgts. Care Ctr., 25 AD3d 463, 464).

The defendant's contention that the Supreme Court erred in its calculation of the value of his two pharmacy businesses is without merit. The determination of the value of a business is a function properly within the fact-finding power of the court (see Peritore v. Peritore, 66 AD3d 750; Sieger v. Sieger, 51 AD3d 1004; Daddino v. Daddino, 37 AD3d 518, 519). Where the determination is within the range of the testimony presented, it will be accorded deference on appeal if it rests primarily on the credibility of expert witnesses and their valuation techniques (see Peritore v. Peritore, 66 AD3d 750; Sieger v. Sieger, 51 AD3d 1004; Levine v. Levine, 37 AD3d 550, 552). Contrary to the defendant's contention, no basis exists to disturb the court's determination that the court-appointed business evaluator was credible (see Peritore v. Peritore, 66 AD3d at 752; Levine v. Levine, 37 AD3d at 552).

The Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in awarding the plaintiff 25% of the value of each of the defendant's businesses, Ayush, LLC, and Dulari Corporation. The award of 25% of the value of the businesses properly accounts for the plaintiff's direct and indirect contributions to the businesses, including her contributions as the primary caretaker for the parties' children, which allowed the defendant to focus on the businesses (see Baron v. Baron, 71 AD3d 807, 809; Ventimiglia v. Ventimiglia, 307 A.D.2d 993, 994).

..................."