Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer fun in the water: It can lead to injuries or death if not careful.

In the summer months many New Jersey residents flock to the water to enjoy the lakes, bays, oceans and pools across our aqua friendly state. I have been a water rat since I was a small child and myself have enjoyed the water immensely.  However my extensive contact with water activity has made me a witness to many injurious episodes.

The statistical data provides the proof that the water can be a dangerous element if not treated with great responsibility. Between 1990 and 2005, over 800 people died of water-related injuries in New Jersey in the months of May through September. The vast majority of water-related injury deaths are due to drowning, but 13 percent are injuries involving watercraft or diving or jumping into water.  Unlike deaths, most hospitalizations are for watercraft accidents (40%), followed by near-drowning (39%), diving or jumping accidents (18%), and being struck by an object in the water (3%). For more information on these statistics you can visit the New Jersey's Center for Health Statistics.

Water-related accidents strike quickly and therefore when dealing with children constant vigilance is the key to preventing them. No one is impervious to these catastrophes, many us probably remember when the actress Natalie Wood drowned off the coast of California. Most recently in the news, Randall Cunningham’s two-year-old son, Christian, died after he was found floating in the backyard hot tub at the Cunningham’s home.

Now that I have told you about the dangers involved with water-related activities, I think I should provide some tips on a safe approach to water-related activities. According to the New Jersey's Department of Health and Senior Services here are some safety tips:
  • The best prevention against drowning is to learn how to swim. All adults and children over age 3 should enroll in swimming classes.Never swim alone or in unsupervised areas. Teach children to always swim with a buddy.
  • If you own a pool, New Jersey regulations require that you completely enclose it with a fence with self closing and self-latching gates. Also, have a telephone nearby to call 911 if necessary and learn CPR. Store pool chemicals in a locked area out of reach of children.
  • Check water depth before entering. A minimum depth of 5 feet is recommended for diving.
  • Stop swimming if you are tired, cold, far from safety, have had too much sun, or have overexerted yourself.
  • Do not swim if you have consumed alcohol.
  • In open water, know the day’s weather forecast, swim only in designated areas, be cautious even when lifeguards are present, watch for dangerous waves and rip currents, and always use life jackets when boating.
Alcohol use exponentially increase the chance of an accident; alcohol use is involved in up to half of adolescent and adult deaths associated with water recreation and about one in five reported boating fatalities. Alcohol influences balance, coordination, and judgment, and its effects are heightened by sun exposure and heat.

Water-related accidents may raise complex premises liability, boating liability and negligent supervision issues just to name a few. These complex water-related deaths and injuries are best handled by a skilled attorney who has handled these types of cases and has personal injury and wrongful death litigation/trial experience. If you or someone you are close to has suffered a water-related accident, whether the incident took place at another person’s home, on the open water or at a public pool, a Personal Injury Lawyer can help protect and preserve your rights.

A water-related accident may be very confusing, emotional as well as physically devastating for the victim. With the experienced personal injury attorneys from Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC on your side, a victim and his/her family can seek compensation for medical expenses associated with your water-related injury as well as damages for pain and suffering. Call us Today (732) 6-4-NJLAW for a free case evaluation regarding your injury or accident.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Your cheating spouse’s “social networking” activities.

Catching your spouse on a social networking site with their proverbial “pants down” may have you thinking gotcha! It may leave you feeling that you will hold the upper hand in a divorce proceeding; however, in New Jersey your cheating spouse’s activities will not have an effect on your divorce proceedings. The New Jersey Supreme Court, in the Mani v. Mani case, held that marital fault is irrelevant to alimony except in two narrow instances: cases in which the fault negatively affects the economic status of the parties and cases in which the fault so violates societal norms that continuing the economic bonds between the parties would confound notions of simple justice. So although your spouse may have wronged you it will not give you a sympathetic advantage in the court. But we all are aware that judges are human and they may be sympathetic to your predicament.

Don’t miss the boat on your injury claim against a cruise ship.

As per, Federal maritime law, an owner of a sea-going vessel can establish a one-year statute of limitation in its passenger contract. "Generally, contract provisions limiting the time parties may bring suit have been held to be enforceable, if reasonable. Such provisions are accepted by the courts as long as they do not violate public policy." (citation omitted). In a recent New Jersey case, WINOGRAD v. CARNIVAL CORPORATION, this law was upheld. In Winograd, a friend of the plaintiff, who accompanied her on the cruise, purchased the cruise tickets from a travel agent, for a cruise on Costa Cruise Lines N.V. The plaintiff and her friend disembarked from the ship when it arrived at La Romana a port city in the Dominican Republic, and went by shuttle bus to the port from the cruise ship. While walking in the shopping district, the plaintiff and her friend were robbed by men with knives, who stole their passports, drivers licenses, credit cards, and other personal effects. In her lawsuit the plaintiff alleged that she suffered physical and emotional injury as a result of the robbery. Nearly two years later, plaintiff filed suit in the Law Division. The appellate panel affirmed the trial court's dismissal of Plaintiff's complaint based on the one-year limitation set forth in the ticket contract. This is another example why it is important to talk to an attorney ASAP when you have suffered an injury on a cruise ship or any where for that matter. Lawsuits are time sensitive and without proper counsel your could miss the boat on your legal claim.

DUI and the new Interlock Device laws: How will it affect me?

In New Jersey if you are convicted of a DUI/DWI; you now face having to install an Interlock device on your vehicle. The Interlock device is required for those drivers that are convicted of multiple DUI/DWI offenses, for refusal (to take breathalyzer) and for first time DUI/DWI convictions where the offender blows a .15 or higher.

What is an interlock device? - The interlock is a computer-type device that is installed on the vehicle by a licensed N.J. technician. A person who wishes to start a vehicle equipped with the device must blow a breath sample into it. If the device detects a BAC level of .05% or greater, it will not permit the vehicle to start for 1 hour. The device also requires periodic samples while the vehicle is being driven. If the device detects a BAC of .05% or greater, it will emit a loud noise and sound the vehicle's horn non-stop in an effort to persuade the driver to pull over. Once the vehicle is turned off, it will not restart for an hour. The data on the device must be downloaded every 60-days by the technician for filing with the MVC. At that time, the driver can normally pay the maintenance fee. Special discounts are required for poor people. How Much Does An Ignition Interlock Cost? Ignition interlocks are sold or rented by private companies authorized or licensed by the state. Renting an ignition interlock device generally costs between $70 and $100 per month, plus tax, and installing one can cost as much as $100 to $200. You are expected to pay these costs, along with any maintenance expenses, and fees for downloading the records the device stores. You might also be required to return occasionally to the location where you rented the equipment to have these stored records downloaded and the device reset, in order to continue driving.

If you are facing a DWI/DUI charge and face the Interlock device call Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC; speak to an attorney about your situation.

Have you recently joined a Health Club or Gym and are stuck in a contract? Possible ways to escape.

New Jersey is a state that is home to many fitness gurus and at some point you may find yourself joining a health club a/k/a gym. One of the hang-ups of joining a gym is the contract that many of health clubs require the health conscious consumer to sign. Many times people are very excited to join but then just days after signing the contract find that they will not utilize health club as much as they first thought they would, need to relocate or find that the health club isn’t all that it was promised be by the membership sales representative. If you fall under one of these situations you will be happy to hear to you may have a way out of your contract. First, a contract for new or increased health club services may be cancelled by the buyer for any reason at any time before midnight of the third operating day after the buyer receives a copy of the contract. In order to cancel, you must follow the following procedure to make the cancellation binding: you must notify the health club of cancellation in writing, by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, or personal delivery, to the address specified in the contract (If no address is specified the contract is void). After cancellation all moneys paid pursuant to the cancelled contract shall be fully refunded within 30 days of receipt of the notice of cancellation. If you have executed any credit or loan agreement through the health club to pay all or part of health club services, the negotiable instrument executed must be returned to you within 30 days.

Another one of the previously mentioned reasons consumers need to cancel their contract is relocation. A health club services contract must provide that it is subject to cancellation by the consumer, by notice, sent by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, or personally delivered, to the address of the health club specified in the contract upon the buyer's change of permanent residence to a location more than 25 miles from the health club or an affiliated health club offering the same or similar services and facilities at no additional expense to the buyer.

Finally you may find yourself in a situation whereby the membership sales representative misrepresented the health club. Any health club services contract entered into in reliance upon any fraudulent or substantially and willfully false or misleading information, representation, notice or advertisement of the health club is voidable at the option of the buyer of the contract. So if you were told one thing then came to find out another you probably have a way out of that contract that you signed. If you find yourself in questionable health club contract, feel free to contact Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC for a free consultation.



The state Senate Monday voted 27 to 5 in favor of legislation that gives the Christie administration an additional 90 days — until Oct. 1 — to implement New Jersey medical marijuana bill, or as it is officially known, the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. This pushes back the implementation of the rules and regulations by the DHSS (Department of Health and Senior Services) until October 1.


New Jersey’s medical marijuana law allows for just 6 non-profit Alternative Treatment Centers to start the program. Registered patients are limited to 2 ounces or less of cannabis per month, the smallest amount in the nation. Patients may not grow at home. Residents are not afforded medical necessity defense unless they are carrying a DHSS medical marijuana registry card. Legal protections are not offered to patients unless the marijuana they possess comes directly from a state authorized ATC. This means that if you are in possession without a card, you still face state prosecution.

DHSS has not reported anything on their website but calls to the NJ DHSS reveal that anyone wanting information should get in touch with the director of the Department that will oversee the ATC’s which is Joseph Eldridge.


Quotes from Trenton:

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora has said he favored recent proposals that would make Rutgers University the hub of the state's medical marijuana growth and allow hospitals to operate as dispensaries of the drug, saying the move could bring Rutgers to the forefront of medical marijuana research and cultivation.

Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said any proposals including Rutgers and hospitals "are just among the options that are out there." "There's reasonable debate going on about what is the best approach" when it comes to implementing the state's medical marijuana law, he said.

Health Department spokeswoman Donna Leusner said officials haven’t settled on a plan for how the marijuana will be grown, as “the department is continuing to look at all of our options. ”Leusner said that Mingleridge (a premature applicant) isn’t alone in his interest: “There’s been a lot of interest in the program, both on the part of prospective patients and certainly potential vendors,” she said, adding that the department is focused on the “safest and most effective” approach.

The Most Restrictive: Whats NJ’s affinity with New Mexico?

New Mexico does allow dispensaries, but only nonprofit ones. And to date, only five have been approved. One of them, NewMexiCann Natural Medicine, is based in an office behind a restaurant in Santa Fe, N.M. Getting a license to grow and distribute marijuana was a seven-month process, according to Executive Director Len Goodman.

With New Mexico’s tight regulation of the state's medical marijuana program, it took Len Goodman of NewMexiCann Natural Medicine seven months (The DHSS must approve or deny an application within 60 days of its receipt accordingly to the NJ law) and a 100-plus page application to get approval to grow and distribute pot.

"What there is is a long checklist: a two-page, single-spaced checklist," he says.

The state wants to know things like: Who will grow the plants? What is their experience? What will the distribution model look like? And then there are more mundane matters, like what the labeling and invoices will look like, Goodman says.

New Mexico limits Goodman to 95 plants. That means demand is always outpacing supply — and that's just how the state wants it. If supply increases too much, there's a risk legal medical marijuana could be diverted to the illegal recreational market.

NJ DHSS Commissioner Dr. Poonam Alaigh appeared on NJN’s public affairs program On The Record this week. As a medical professional, she fully endorsed the overall scientific and therapeutic value of marijuana. She also said the DHSS staff was spending a significant amount of time on the cannabis program, even reaching out to other states. A reporter has stated the a phone call to New Mexico’s Department of Health’s spokesperson Deborah Busmeyer confirmed that NJ DHSS staffers had made contact about the program.


New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, Section 7:

"[A]llow both for-profit and nonprofit ATCs, but require that the first two ATCs in each of the three regions of the State be nonprofit, and direct DHSS to seek to ensure 'a sufficient number' of ATCs throughout the State 'pursuant to need'..."

The bill does include language to allow “for-profit” dispensaries. The ‘pursuant to need’ language opens the door for future “for-profit” ATCs.

So if you are a company for-profit or nonprofit the best advice is to start getting all of your ducks in a row now. Perhaps a good bet would be to make a call to the New Mexico Health Department and acquire one of its applications and supplemental paperwork. It seems that New Mexico’s Medical Marijuana Law is most parallel to New Jersey’s and might be administered similarly. Having all of this information in line will have your company ready to submit, aside from a few additional things that New Jersey may require, as soon as the DHSS starts taking applications.