A recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reminds us that when we want an arbitration clause to apply in certain situations or to certain parties, we have to build that intention into the plain terms of the contract. In White v. Sunoco, Inc., — F.3d —, No. 16-2808, 2017 WL 3864616 (3d Cir. Dec. 5, 2017), Sunoco promoted the “Sunoco Awards Program,” under which customers who used a Citibank-issued “Sunoco Rewards Card” credit card were supposed to receive a 5-cent per gallon discount on gasoline purchased at Sunoco gas stations. The promotional materials included a document entitled “Terms and Conditions of Offer,” which indicated that Citibank issued the Sunoco Rewards Card and applicants had to meet Citibank’s creditworthiness criteria to obtain the credit card. Continue reading “A Lesson from the Third Circuit on Arbitration Clauses: Say What You Mean”
A New Jersey Appellate Division panel—in Blake v. Board of Review, Dep’t of Labor, No. A-2940-15T3—held that a 2015 amendment to New Jersey’s Unemployment Compensation Law (“UCL”) does not authorize unemployment benefits to an employee who accepts a job offer from another employer but has that offer rescinded prior to commencing the new employment. The opinion, which was approved for publication on September 28, 2017, conflicts with another Appellate Division panel that came to the opposite conclusion just one month prior in McClain v. Board of Review, Dep’t of Labor, No. A-4319-15 (approved for publication on August 29, 2017). Both panels believed that the amendment’s plain language supported their respective interpretations. Continue reading “Panel Creates Split in Appellate Division over 2015 Amendment to New Jersey’s Unemployment Compensation Law”
The New Jersey Appellate Division recently lessened the rigidity by which an innocent purchaser may be eligible for a so-called “Innocent Party Grant” to cover costs associated with the remediation of contaminated property. On September 20, 2017, the Court in Cedar Knolls 2006, LLC v. New Jersey Dep’t of Envtl. Prot. reversed the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (“NJDEP”) attempt to limit Innocent Party Grants to natural persons, and found that an LLC may qualify as a “person” under the Brownfield and Contaminated Site Remediation Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10B-1, et seq. (“Brownfield Act”). Continue reading “Appellate Division Clears Way for Business Entities to Receive Brownfield Innocent Party Grants When Property Is Transferred among Family Members”
Blank Rome Partner David C. Kistler will be a panelist at the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s “Successful Federal Court Practice” program on Wednesday, October 11, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EDT, at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick, NJ. Continue reading “Successful Federal Court Practice”
New Jersey’s senior senator, Bob Menendez, is facing a dozen counts of bribery, conspiracy, and fraud charges in a corruption probe involving one of his close friends. The Democrat’s trial begins Wednesday in federal court.
Prosecutors at the Justice Department accuse Menendez of accepting lavish gifts in exchange for using his political influence to help friend and Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen. Continue reading “Accused of Accepting Lavish Trips and Gifts, Sen. Menendez Goes on Trial”
On Sunday, August 20, Blank Rome Partner Judge Stephen Orlofsky provided the keynote address to Rutgers Law School first year law students at the Dean’s Reception and Welcome Ceremony in Camden. Judge Orlofsky’s speech expanded on the role of lawyers in our society and the Rule of Law, and that while those are unchanged since he attended the very same Dean’s orientation, one never knows where the law will take them. Continue reading “Blank Rome’s Judge Orlofsky Provides Keynote Address at the Rutgers Law Dean’s Reception and Welcome Ceremony”
In May 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum to U.S. attorneys, ordering all federal prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” as a “core principle” of charging and sentencing policy. The memorandum defines the most serious offenses as “those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences.”
This policy represents a significant reversal of the comparatively lenient stance established by Eric Holder, one of Sessions’ predecessors under President Barack Obama, who had ordered federal prosecutors in 2013 to refrain from charging defendants with certain offenses that could see long mandatory minimum sentences.
Prosecutors will now be expected to recommend a sentence within federal guidelines when before a federal judge, and must disclose to the sentencing court all of the facts that impact the sentencing guidelines or mandatory minimum sentences. Recommendations outside of the guidelines will require a documented explanation, as well as approval from a U.S. attorney, assistant attorney general, or a designated supervisor. Deviations from the “core principle” of pursing the most serious offenses will only be granted if “justified by unusual facts.”
Attorney General Sessions made it clear that he wants this shift in policy to be immediate, noting that “[a]ny inconsistent previous policy of the Department of Justice relating to these matters is rescinded, effective today.”
This article was originally published in the July 2017 edition of White Collar Watch. Click here to read the article online.