what is a restrictive covenant?

Your Right to Work

The United States is experiencing a work shortage with a record number of job openings in the market. However, despite the pandemic, most employees still prefer candidates with several years of experience and a willingness and availability to work in-person, during the evenings, and to work on the weekends.

In such a tight market, where qualified employees are in short supply, employers are relying more and more on restrictive covenants to prevent their employees from resigning their positions or from competing with their employer in the event they seek employment with a competitor.

What Is A Restrictive Covenant?

Restrictive covenants attempt to limit an employee’s ability to compete with his or her employer or to solicit business from their employer. Sometimes, restrictive covenants even limit an employee’s ability to work in the same field or in the same geographical region in the event they resign their position with their employer.

However, restrictive covenants are not absolute. In New Jersey, restrictive covenants are generally disfavored as restraints on trade and are narrowly construed by the Courts. While restrictive covenants are generally enforceable, your right to work and provide for yourself trumps an unreasonable restriction on your ability to work.   Thus, to be enforceable, a restrictive covenant must protect a legitimate business interest of the employer, cannot be unduly burdensome to the employee, and must be in the public interest. Solari Industries, Inc. v. Malady, 264 A.2d 53 (N.J. 1970).

When Are Restrictive Covenants Illegal?

For example, a restrictive covenant will likely be deemed unenforceable where it is too broad in geographical or durational scope. In circumstances where a restrictive covenant is too broad, New Jersey Courts have the ability to invalidate the restrictive covenant or to “blue pencil” the restrictive covenant. In other words, the Courts have the ability to tailor an unreasonable restriction so that it is reasonable and not unduly burdensome on the employee.

In today’s job market, employers are relying more on restrictive covenants and are more likely to enforce them through legal action than ever before. If you are being asked to sign a restrictive covenant as a condition of new employment or are already subject to a restrictive covenant and you are seeking employment with a competitor that would potentially violate those restrictions, you should proceed with caution. Daniel J. Carbone, Esq. has the knowledge and experience to advise you of your options so that you can successfully exercise your right to work without fear of legal consequence.

For guidance on your specific legal issue, contact Daniel J. Carbone at 732-363-0666 Ext. 211, or send him an email at dcarbone@bathweg.com.

NJ Commercial Debt Forgiveness

Mr. Malc represented a client who received two commercial loans totaling $930,000.00.  The loans were insured by the Small Business Administration (“SBA”).  When the client’s up-and-coming business fell victim to extraordinary challenges, the business shuttered, and the loans could not be repaid.  Mr. Malc’s client did all it could to mitigate damages to the Bank, including selling assets to repay a portion of the debt. Despite those efforts, the Bank filed a foreclosure complaint to foreclose the mortgages that secured the two loans, and also filed a separate complaint to collect the unpaid balance of the loans.

Mr. Malc challenged both lawsuits in court and was able to hold them in abeyance while settlement discussions ensued.  Mr. Malc spent approximately two years negotiating with the lending bank, the SBA, and the United States Treasury.  With accrued interest, the bank was seeking to collect nearly $1.2 million dollars from Mr. Malc’s client.

In the end, using multiple litigation and settlement strategies, Mr. Malc was able to get the bank and the SBA to forgive the debt, release the personal guarantors, and discharge the mortgages.  With the mortgages discharged, Mr. Malc’s client was able to sell his home for a sizable profit and get out from under crippling debt.

If you are facing foreclosure or a collection lawsuit, whether it is related to residential, commercial or SBA-backed debt, Ryan S. Malc, Esq. has the knowledge and experience to guide you through that process and to assist you in achieving the best possible results.

Contact Ryan Malc at 732-363-0666 Ext 254, or send him an email at rmalc@bathweg.com.

How Is COVID-19 Impacting The Legal System?

The effects of COVID-19 on our way of life are felt everywhere.  No matter what you do for a living, your work has undoubtedly been affected by Covid.  The legal field is no different.  If you are involved in a lawsuit, you know full well that Covid has made a slow process significantly slower—especially if your matter is bogged down in the court system, where access to the courtroom is extremely limited.

Since COVID reared its ugly head, I have been advising my clients to consider alternate methods of resolving their legal disputes.  Clients who have taken that advice are happy they did.  Those alternate methods include mediation and arbitration.  While courts are dealing with unprecedented backlogs of cases, lawsuits are lingering, legal fees are rising, and disputes that in normal times would have already been scheduled for trial, are left unresolved. For those reasons, litigants who are willing to explore mediation or arbitration are resolving their disputes much faster and more cost effectively than those who are less flexible.

What Is the Difference Between Mediation & Arbitration?

Mediation is a process where the mutual consent of the parties is necessary to resolve a dispute.  Essentially, mediation is similar to a settlement conference where a hired mediator acts as an intermediary to assist the parties in reaching a resolution.  While the process itself is voluntary, any agreement reached at a mediation will be binding on all parties.  It is the most cost-effective method of resolving a dispute.

Arbitration is much different than mediation.  Parties can voluntarily submit their matter to arbitration, or, depending on the nature of the parties’ relationship, they can be contractually obligated to resolve their dispute through arbitration.  Arbitration is similar to a trial but is held outside of the courthouse and is presided by an arbitrator, who is typically hired by the parties.  At the arbitration hearing, the parties present testimony and documentary evidence, just as they would in a trial.  At the conclusion of the hearing, the arbitrator issues a decision, which is binding on the parties and, except for very rare circumstances, is not subject to reversal by appeal.

Whichever alternative dispute resolution process works for you, our firm has been resolving disputes between parties outside of court for decades. Ocean and Monmouth County residents looking to expedite the legal process and have their issues resolved in a cost-efficient manner can contact Ryan S. Malc, Esq. of Bathgate Wegener & Wolf.

Firm Partner Brian W. McAlindin to Appear on Fox News Live

Brian W. McAlindin, Esq. is scheduled to appear on Fox News Channel’s “The Story with Martha MacCallum” where he joins a panel of “Dads” regarding Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s US Supreme Court nomination hearings. Mr. McAlindin will weigh in on how parents feel about possible sexual assault allegations against or by their children.

The show airs live on Fox News on Wednesday October 3rd at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Justice Prevails As Ryan S. Malc, Esq. Successfully Defends Marijuana And Paraphernalia Charges On Behalf Of His Client

Ryan S. Malc, Esq. recently defended a man who was charged in Neptune City, NJ with possession of under 50 grams of marijuana and possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia.  Mr. Malc’s client was stopped after allegedly making an illegal left turn.

During the stop, the police officer asked Mr. Malc’s client to exit his vehicle, whereupon a comprehensive search of the vehicle was conducted. During the search, the police officer allegedly found a zip locked bag of marijuana, a grinder, and a roach clip.  Mr. Malc’s client was placed under arrest and his request to see the evidence allegedly found during the search was denied by the police officer.

Based on the facts described above, Mr. Malc filed a motion with the Neptune City Municipal Judge to suppress the evidence allegedly found during the motor vehicle search.  Mr. Malc’s motion was granted.  Once the evidence was suppressed, Mr. Malc filed another motion to dismiss all charges against his client.  That motion was also granted.  On the day the charges were dismissed, Mr. Malc’s client welcomed his first child into the world.  Needless to say, it was a great day for this client—justice prevailed and a beautiful baby girl was born.

If you have been charged with possession of marijuana or any other drug, give Mr. Malc a call for a free consultation.

Carteret Ferry Moves Forward

The law firm of Bathgate Wegener & Wolf, P.C. (“BWW”) has represented the Borough of Carteret since 2013.  During that time senior partner William Wolf represented Carteret in relation to the development of its waterfront for various public purposes including a 190 boat marina and a ferry terminal for service from Carteret to New York City.  This ferry service will not just benefit the residents of Carteret but the ferry from Carteret to New York City will expand commuting options to New York City on a regional basis consisting of Middlesex County, Union County, Somerset County, Monmouth County and Ocean County. 

With the New Jersey Turnpike at or over-capacity, the overcrowded NJ Transit Bus Service struggling to accommodate commuters, and the absence of direct rail service to or from Carteret, the ferry will provide a convenient and reliable transportation alternative to New York City. The Carteret Ferry Terminal is likely to accelerate the transformation of an area of environmental degradation into a catalyst for economic development while reducing congestion on the New Jersey Turnpike and roads leading into the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels. The estimated travel time by ferry between Carteret and New York City is fifty (50) minutes.

The ferry service from Carteret to New York City will be a component of a truly intermodal transportation hub.  Carteret will provide municipal jitney service to the ferry terminal.  It is anticipated that the Carteret ferry terminal will become one of the stops on a bus route currently operated by New Jersey Transit.  The Carteret ferry terminal is only several minutes away from Exit 12 on the New Jersey Turnpike; thus, making the ferry a cost-effective final leg for motorists connecting to New York City from locations in Middlesex County, Union County, Somerset County, Monmouth County and Ocean County.

Recently, Carteret announced two major milestones in the plan to provide ferry service between Carteret and New York City. First, Carteret passed a major hurdle in the construction of the Carteret Ferry Terminal. The New Jersey Department of Transportation notified the Borough that the Interagency Review Committee (IRC) including the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recommended approval for the Borough to proceed to the Preliminary Engineering phase of the Carteret Ferry Terminal project. This determination brings the Borough one step closer to receiving $2,213,833 in federal construction funds. Second, The Federal Transit Administration awarded $6 million to New Jersey Transit to purchase a 299-seat passenger ferry that it, in turn, will lease to Carteret for $1 per year, bringing the total federal funding for the project to over $10 million.  The ferry boat will be built to Carteret’s specifications. Additional boats will be provided by the operator who will be selected through public bidding.  

If you have any questions regarding the development of the Carteret waterfronts or ferry service between Carteret and New York City, please contact William J. Wolf, Esq. at 732-363-0666 or send an email to wwolf@bathweg.com

Mr. Wolf is a Senior Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, he has been designated as a Super Lawyer and AV Preeminent® for many years.  Mr. Wolf has been certified by the American Institute of Appellate Practice as an appellate specialist.

RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA HAS A BRIGHT FUTURE IN NEW JERSEY

With Governor-elect Phil Murphy poised to take the helm as New Jersey’s next Governor, recreational marijuana supporters are beginning to feel giddy.  A major platform of Mr. Murphy’s campaign for Governor was to put an end to the prohibition against recreational marijuana in the State of New Jersey.  Some say the rationale for doing so is motivated by the estimated $300 million in tax revenue from marijuana sales.  While recognizing the benefit of a new revenue stream from recreational marijuana sales, which may fund education programs and public workers’ pension, Mr. Murphy points to criminal justice reform as his primary reason for legalization.  For supporters, legalizing marijuana is a win-win no matter the primary reason.

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, controls which bills the Senate will debate and vote on.  He has stated that his goal is to pass recreational marijuana legislation within the first 100 days of the Murphy administration.   State Senator Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, the sponsor of the Recreational Marijuana Bill (S3195), which has been undergoing revisions since he introduced it on May 18, 2017, has pronounced it is full steam ahead for the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Now that Governor Christie is on his way out of Trenton and will no longer pose as an impassable obstacle to recreational marijuana legislation, it is expected that hearings on the pending bill will be scheduled in short order.  Mr. Scutari has stated that he would like to try to develop language that would promote marijuana entrepreneurship among minority communities, who Mr. Murphy aptly recognized have been disproportionately affected by marijuana-related arrests and convictions.  As initially introduced, (S3195) will do the following:

  • Legalize individual possession for those over the age of 21 of up to one ounce of marijuana; 16 ounces of products infused with the drug in solid form; 72 ounces in liquid form and seven grams of marijuana concentrate.
  • Create a Division of Marijuana Enforcement within the state Department of Law and Public Safety and direct that agency to set up regulations and licensure programs for growers and distributors within a year of the bill’s passage.
  • Decriminalize possession of up to 50 grams immediately, limiting fines to $100 until the regulated industry gets up and running and creates a system for marijuana offenders to expunge their criminal records.
  • Set up an escalating sales tax on marijuana starting at seven percent in the first year, 10 percent in the second and jumping five percent each year thereafter to a final tax rate of 25 percent.
  • Prohibit growing marijuana at home and ban its use in public.
Mr. Murphy will assume the Governorship on January 16, 2018.  According to Senator Sweeney, the goal is to legalize recreational marijuana within the first 100 days, which would be by April 26, 2018.  We don’t know whether that goal will be accomplished, but what we do know is that we now have a Governor who will be ready, willing and eager to sign the bill into law when it arrives at his desk.

If you have a question about your rights as a medical marijuana user or questions about legal issues that may arise if recreational marijuana is legalized in New Jersey, please feel free to contact Ryan S. Malc, Esq. at 732-363-0666 or at rmalc@bathweg.com.

Inverse Condemnation Claim Lost by Lot Merger

​On June 23, 2017, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of Murr v. State of Wisconsin. This lawsuit involved a claim for inverse condemnation. The plaintiffs contended that certain land use regulations had reduced the value of their property.

Plaintiffs are the owners of two contiguous lots. The regulations prohibited owners of adjacent lots from selling their lots as separate building sites unless each lot contained at least one acre of developable land. Because the plaintiffs’ two lots did not each contain one acre of developable land, the plaintiffs effectively had to merge their two lots into a single lot in order to build a house. Plaintiffs, therefore, claimed the land use regulations caused them to incur an economic injury by reducing their land holdings to a single buildable lot.

For an inverse condemnation claim based on the application of a land use regulation to be viable a land owner must prove they have been deprived of all economically beneficial or productive use of their land. Alternatively, a property owner must prove the regulation interfered with their investment-backed expectations for their property. It is difficult to prove either one of those elements of adverse economic impact.

In Murr, the Supreme Court concluded that the plaintiffs had not proved their case. The basis of that decision was the Court’s conclusion that the plaintiffs’ two contiguous lots should be evaluated as a single parcel of property. Once those lots were merged, it was impossible for the property owners to establish they lost all economically beneficial or productive use of their land because they still owned a buildable and valuable lot. Plaintiffs were incapable of proving their reasonable economic expectations had been thwarted because, despite the land use regulation, they could develop their property as a home site.

Murr is likely to have an impact on regulatory based inverse condemnation claims in New Jersey. It is not uncommon for property owners to hold contiguous lots in a single name. Issues arise when government approvals are sought for one or more of those lots. This situation frequently occurs when adjacent lots are sold to a purchaser who wants to develop and resell the lots for more than one house.

If you have any questions regarding the impact of Murr v. State of Wisconsin on eminent domain, condemnation, inverse condemnation or land use and zoning regulations, please call William J. Wolf, Esq. at 732-363-0666 or send an email to wwolf@bathweg.com

Mr. Wolf has represented clients in condemnation and inverse condemnation cases.
Mr. Wolf is a Senior Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, he has been designated as a Super Lawyer and AV Preeminent® for many years.  Mr. Wolf has been certified by the American Institute of Appellate Practice as an appellate specialist.

Photo by Abdul Zreika on Unsplash

Beware Of The Other Current That Causes Drowning

As was tragically evident from the recent death of a young girl in a lagoon in Toms River, New Jersey, water and electricity make a deadly combination. That child died when she was electrocuted while swimming in a lagoon.

According to published reports, that swimmer came in contact with a portion of a metal boat lift. It is believed that electric current used that metal object as a pathway into the water.

According to the Electric Drowning Prevention Association, contact with an electric current on a metal object that protrudes into water can cause muscle paralysis that can lead to death by drowning. The presence of electricity in the water can also lead to the injury or death of people who attempt to rescue the drowning swimmer.

Frequently, the source of the electricity is related to a power source on a dock or a boat moored in a marina. There is, however, an alternative source that can be easily overlooked. That potential source is known as stray current.

Stray current refers to the flow of electrical current into the water, ground or metal objects. That flow of current can be caused by an imbalance in an electrical system or flaws in wiring or electrical components.

The source of stray current can be located far from an object, a swimming pool, or a body of water that appears to be the site at which a person experienced a shock. As a result, stray current as the potential source of an accident or a fatality can be easily overlooked. Thus, when an injury is caused by electrical shock, it is sometimes necessary to expand the scope of the investigation to other areas on or off the location at which the accident occurred.

William J. Wolf, Esq. has represented clients in cases involving stray current and electromagnetic fields. In each instance, Mr. Wolf was able to obtain favorable jury verdicts for his clients.

If you have any questions regarding the impact of stray current, electromagnetic fields, electrocution or other personal injuries, please call William J. Wolf, Esq. at 732-363-0666 or send an email to wwolf@bathweg.com.

Mr. Wolf is a Senior Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, he has been designated as a Super Lawyer and AV Preeminent® for many years.  Mr. Wolf has been certified by the American Institute of Appellate Practice as an appellate specialist.

LEGALIZATION OF RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA IN NEW JERSEY

The statewide debate over the legalization or decriminalization of recreational marijuana continues to advance at a rapid pace.  According to recent polls conducted by New Jersey Advanced Media, upwards of 90% of its readers believe marijuana should be legalized.  Despite an overwhelming majority of people in New Jersey who support the legalization of marijuana, and the recent proposal of a bill by State Senator Nicholas Scutari that would do just that, Governor Christie continues to rebuke the idea as “beyond stupidity.”

As Governor Christie’s final term in office draws to an unpopular end, his opinion and disparaging comments directed at marijuana supporters have become less and less meaningful. Time will soon tell how the next administration deals with this pressing issue, but it appears that change is imminent.  Democratic candidates Ambassador Phillip Murphy, Assemblyman John Wisniewski and Jim Johnson support legalization of marijuana while Senator Ray Lesniak supports decriminalization.  Republican candidates Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli support decriminalization.

In the meantime, however, on May 15, 2017, Senator Scutari introduced a bill that would make recreational marijuana legal in New Jersey.  Senator Scutari’s proposed measure would do the following:

  • Legalize individual possession for those over the age of 21 of up to one ounce of marijuana; 16 ounces of products infused with the drug in solid form; 72 ounces in liquid form and seven grams of marijuana concentrate.​
  •  Create a Division of Marijuana Enforcement within the state Department of Law and Public Safety and direct that agency to set up regulations and licensure programs for growers and distributors within a year of the bill’s passage.
  •  Decriminalize possession of up to 50 grams immediately, limiting fines to $100 until the regulated industry gets up and running and creates a system for marijuana offenders to expunge their criminal records.
  • Set up an escalating sales tax on marijuana starting at seven percent in the first year, 10 percent in the second and jumping five percent each year thereafter to a final tax rate of 25 percent.
  • ​Prohibit growing marijuana at home and ban its use in public.
The process of passing a bill is time consuming and includes legislative hearings and votes in the Senate and Assembly.  If a bill legalizing marijuana is passed, Governor Christie has vowed to veto it. Nevertheless, by the time our next governor is sworn in, Senator Scutari’s bill may be waiting for his or her signature.  Until then, we can all expect that the debate over the legalization of recreational marijuana will continue, energizing supporters and objectors alike.

​If you have a question about your rights as a medical marijuana user or questions about legal issues that may arise if recreational marijuana is legalized or decriminalized in New Jersey, please feel free to contact Ryan S. Malc, Esq. at 732-363-0666 or at Rmalc@bathweg.com.

Medical Marijuana: Smoke At Your Own Risk

The use of marijuana, whether for medicinal or recreational purposes, is a hotly debated issue in our country.  Like many divisive issues, strong opinions exist on both sides of the debate.  There are currently twenty-eight (28) states, plus the District of Columbia, that have passed laws permitting the use of medical marijuana, subject to various limitations.  Eight states, plus the District of Columbia, have passed laws legalizing the use of recreational marijuana. 

In 2010, New Jersey passed into law the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.  There are over 11,000 New Jersey residents who have been issued ID cards permitting them to purchase medical marijuana at one of the State’s five (5) dispensaries.  New Jersey’s medical marijuana law, like all other similar laws around the country that legalize the use of medical or recreational marijuana, is at odds with Federal Law that prohibits the use of marijuana.  Recently, the conflicts between State and Federal Laws relating to the use of marijuana have met head-on in New Jersey Federal Courts, mainly in the context of employment law.

For example, on February 22, 2017, the United States District Court in New Jersey granted a motion to dismiss by the defendant employer, Robert Half Corporation.  The plaintiff, Thomas Barrett, was a New Jersey medical marijuana ID holder and an employee of Robert Half Corporation.  He was terminated from his employment after testing positive for marijuana. Although Mr. Barrett gave notice to his employer that he was a participant in the medical marijuana program due to severe back pain from an auto accident, the Federal District Court judge ruled that the notice did not constitute a request for accommodation of a disability.  For that reason, Mr. Barrett’s case was dismissed.

By way of further example, Jason Wild was diagnosed with cancer.  To help deal with the effects of cancer, his doctors prescribed him medical marijuana.  He worked during the day at a funeral home, and smoked medical marijuana at night to help ease his pain.  His employer, Carriage Services, learned about Mr. Wild’s medical marijuana use when he disclosed it to hospital personnel after he was involved in a car accident.  Upon receiving this information, the employer fired Mr. Wild.

Mr. Wild filed a lawsuit against Carriage Services alleging violations of New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination.  He also asserted a claim for Defamation arising out of his bosses’ alleged statements to other funeral directors warning them that Mr. Wild is a drug addict.  On February 28, 2017, Carriage Services filed a motion to dismiss Mr. Wild’s complaint.  In support of its motion, Carriage Services advanced the following arguments: (1) because Mr. Wild never requested an accommodation related to his medical marijuana use, he does not have a valid claim pursuant to New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination, and (2) the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act is pre-empted by Federal Law.

As of the date of this article, the Federal Court has not yet ruled on Carriage Service’s motion to dismiss. Undoubtedly, both objectors and advocates of medical marijuana will be keeping a close eye on the outcome of Mr. Wild’s case.  Interestingly, there is legislation pending in the New Jersey State Senate and Assembly that would essentially make it illegal for an employer to take adverse employment action against an employee who is a registered medical marijuana ID holder and tests positive for marijuana use.  The bill, S-2161, has not yet received an up or down vote.   Unless and until this legislation is passed or there is a change in Federal Law, New Jersey medical marijuana users will have to smoke at their own risk.​

To discuss the interplay between State and Federal Laws relating to the use of marijuana, or any other legal issues, feel free to contact Ryan S. Malc, Esq. at 732-363-0666 or at Rmalc@bathweg.com.

Jointly Owned Property and Inverse Condemnation

There are two (2) ways that property can be taken by the government.  The most common way is through the invocation of the government’s power of eminent domain also known as condemnation. The other way property can be taken by the government is through inverse condemnation. This indirect way of taking property occurs in two (2) ways.  One way is very obvious because it consists of the government physically occupying property without permission from the property owner.  The other less obvious way is through the regulation of property which adversely effects the use or value of a parcel of property.  In order for the regulation of property to result in a constitutionally forbidden taking of property, it must deprive the property owner of substantially all of the beneficial use of the land.

In the case of Murr v. State of Wisconsin, the United States Supreme Court is being asked to consider an inverse condemnation claim involving two (2) adjacent lots that are jointly owned.  After those lots were purchased, a land use or zoning regulation was adopted that changed the amount of developable land that was required in order to build a house.  A house, therefore, could not be built on either lot.  But if the two (2) lots were combined into a single lot then one house could be built.In Murr, the landowners contend the land use or zoning regulation made each of their lots unbuildable because neither one had the minimum developable area required by that regulation.  They, thus, argue they had a claim for inverse condemnation.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court disagreed.  The state court concluded that because the lots were in joint ownership they merged into a single lot which met the minimum developable area for a house.  As a result, the inverse condemnation claim was dismissed because the property owners had not been deprived of substantially all of the beneficial use of their property.

If the United States Supreme Court agrees with the ruling of the Wisconsin court regarding lot merger, the property owners will not be successful with their inverse condemnation claim.  That result will occur because they will not have lost substantially all of the beneficial use of their land because a house could be constructed on the single larger lot created by the merger of the two (2) adjacent parcels.

Claims for inverse condemnation based on land use regulations have been the subject of many court decisions in New Jersey.  Such claims are still being litigated.  For instance, there is currently a dispute between property owners and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) over development permits for two (2) adjacent oceanfront lots.  NJDEP has taken the position that the common owners are not entitled to permits to build two houses even though the property owners have separately paid the real estate taxes for those adjacent jointly-owned lots.

The lesson to be learned from Murr is to avoid taking title to adjacent property in the name of the same owner.  The better practice is to keep title to the lots in different names so the government cannot claim that adjacent parcels of property merged into a single lot.

If you have any questions regarding the impact of Murr v. State of Wisconsin on eminent domain, condemnation, inverse condemnation or land use and zoning regulations, please call William J. Wolf, Esq. at 732-363-0666 or send an email to wwolf@bathweg.com.  Mr. Wolf is a Senior Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, he has been designated as a Super Lawyer and AV Preeminent® for many years. Mr. Wolf has been certified by the American Institute of Appellate Practice as an appellate specialist.