Hill Wallack LLP Firm News/Blogs Feedhttps://www.hillwallack.com/?t=39&format=xml&directive=0&stylesheet=rss&records=10en-us26 Jul 2021firmwisehttp://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rssCaroline Record to Speak at 2021 CAI Annual Conferencehttps://www.hillwallack.com/?t=40&an=116390&format=xml&p=555518 Aug 2021Event<div>Community Associations partner <a href="https://www.hillwallack.com/caroline-record">Caroline Record</a> will be a featured speaker at the <a href="https://www.caionline.org/Events/2021Conference/Pages/default.aspx">2021 CAI National Conference</a>, which will be held in Las Vegas on August 18-21. Caroline will speak on a panel titled, &ldquo;Industry Data &amp; Statistics and Research Findings on Contemporary Issues,&rdquo; which will explore key industry data and statistics from the Foundation for Community Association Research such as the number of people living in community associations, growth of the housing model and the financial impact of housing on the economy. <br /> <br /> Attendees will also hear highlights from the 2020 Homeowner Satisfaction Survey, which detailed homeowners' experiences with their community, manager, board and neighbors. Caroline will be joined on the panel by Peter Santangelo of Wintrust Community Advantage.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="https://www.caionline.org/Events/2021Conference/Pages/default.aspx">Learn more and register</a>.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>https://www.hillwallack.com?t=39&format=xml&directive=0&stylesheet=rss&records=10Hill Wallack Named Law Firm of the Year by the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jerseyhttps://www.hillwallack.com/?t=40&an=118218&format=xml&p=531022 Jul 2021News ReleaseWe are honored to be named Law Firm of the Year by the <a href="https://www.njhba.org/">Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (HBA-NJ</a>). The firm will receive the award tonight at the HBA-NJ&rsquo;s 40th Annual Scholarship Gala &amp; Awards Dinner. The firm has been a supporter of the HBA-NJ for many years.<br /> <br /> Partner <a href="https://www.hillwallack.com/albertina-webb">Abby Webb</a> has been a longtime leader and volunteer of the HBA-NJ and is currently Vice President of the Southern Region. We are proud of all she does to support the organization&rsquo;s initiatives.<br /> <br /> Learn more about <a href="https://bit.ly/2V2l9Qj">Abby&rsquo;s work with the HBA-NJ</a>.<br />https://www.hillwallack.com?t=39&format=xml&directive=0&stylesheet=rss&records=10Amani Abdellah Named One to Watch by Best Lawyers in Americahttps://www.hillwallack.com/?t=40&an=118170&format=xml&p=531019 Jul 2021News ReleaseCongratulations to counsel <a href="https://www.hillwallack.com/amani-s-abdellah">Amani Abdellah</a> on being named &ldquo;One to Watch&rdquo; by Best Lawyers in America in the Commercial Litigation category<br /> <br /> Prior to joining Hill Wallack, Amani was a lawyer in private handling consumer finance and commercial litigation matters.<br /> <br /> Earlier in her career she was an assistant prosecutor with the Essex County Prosecutor&rsquo;s Office, where she handled matters from investigation through disposition in the Special Victim&rsquo;s Unit and the Adult Trial Section.<br /> <br /> <a href="https://www.bestlawyers.com/ones-to-watch">Best Lawyers Ones to Watch</a> uses a peer review methodology to recognize lawyers who are earlier in their careers for their outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States.<br /> <br /> <a href="https://www.hillwallack.com/amani-s-abdellah">Learn more about Amani</a>.https://www.hillwallack.com?t=39&format=xml&directive=0&stylesheet=rss&records=10Suzanne Marasco Elected to Hill Wallack's Management Committeehttps://www.hillwallack.com/?t=40&an=118138&format=xml&p=531015 Jul 2021News ReleaseHill Wallack is pleased to announce that <a href="https://www.hillwallack.com/suzanne-m-marasco">Suzanne Marasco</a> has been elected to Hill Wallack&rsquo;s Management Committee. <br /> <br /> Hill Wallack&rsquo;s Management Committee oversees the firm&rsquo;s strategic vision and works with the firm&rsquo;s numerous committees to manage day-to-day operations for the six office, full-service firm. <br /> <br /> Suzanne, who joined Hill Wallack in 1994 as an associate attorney, is a partner and works out of the firm&rsquo;s Princeton and Red Bank, N.J. offices. Suzanne is Chair of the Employment &amp; Labor Law practice group and Hill Wallack&rsquo;s Women&rsquo;s Forum. She is a member of the Litigation Division, Trial &amp; Insurance Defense, Insurance Coverage and Community Associations practice groups and serves on many of the firm&rsquo;s committees which promote the professional development of its attorneys.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am honored to join the firm&rsquo;s Management Committee. I look forward to the opportunity to innovate with my partners and colleagues in fostering the continued growth of the firm and the provision of exceptional legal services to our clients.<br /> <br /> <a href="https://www.hillwallack.com/suzanne-m-marasco">Learn more about Suzanne</a>.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> <a href="https://www.hillwallack.com/">Learn more about Hill Wallack</a>.<br />https://www.hillwallack.com?t=39&format=xml&directive=0&stylesheet=rss&records=10Jerry Hanson to Speak on New Jersey State Bar Association Webcast CLE Program on the Recent New Jersey Supreme Court Decision in Huggins v. Aquilarhttps://www.hillwallack.com/?t=40&an=118087&format=xml&p=555513 Jul 2021Event<p>On July 13 at 3pm to 4:40pm, Jerry Hanson will be a featured speaker at the New Jersey State Bar Association CLE webcast program, &ldquo;<a href="https://bit.ly/2TTGk6Y">Escape Clauses: Analyzing the Supreme Court Decision in Huggins v. Aquilar</a>.&rdquo;</p> <p>The program will explore the implications of the New Jersey Supreme Court&rsquo;s recent decision, Huggins v. Aquilar, in which a car dealer&rsquo;s insurance policy did not cover a loaner car driver because the driver had her own minimum insurance. The question posed to the Court was whether this clause in the insurance contract was a permissible stepdown provision, or an unlawful escape clause. NJICLE assembled a panel that will analyze the decision and discuss the impact it will have on insurance coverage and liability issues going forward.<br /> <br /> <a href="https://bit.ly/2TTGk6Y">Learn more and register</a>.<br> <br /> <br type="_moz" /> </br>&nbsp;</p>https://www.hillwallack.com?t=39&format=xml&directive=0&stylesheet=rss&records=10Client Alert: Bill Providing Limited Immunity To Common Interest Communities Signed into law by Governor Murphyhttps://www.hillwallack.com/?t=40&an=118006&format=xml&p=530902 Jul 2021Client Alert<p><em>Written by: <a href="https://www.hillwallack.com/george-c-greatrex-jr">George Greatrex, Esq.</a></em></p> <p>Following up on our alert of June 29, the bill (A4979/S3584) that provides limited immunity from COVID-19 related civil claims to common interest communities in New Jersey has been signed into law by Governor Murphy. The immunity is effective from July 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021.</p> <p><b>There are two requirements in order for this statutory immunity to protect New Jersey&rsquo;s common interest communities</b></p> <p>1. A sign must be prominently displayed at the entrance to each of the community&rsquo;s amenities which states these&nbsp;<b><i>exact</i></b>&nbsp;words:</p> <p><b><i>&quot;ANY PERSON ENTERING THE PREMISES WAIVES ALL CIVIL LIABILITY AGAINST THE PLANNED REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT FOR DAMAGES ARISING FROM, OR RELATED TO, AN EXPOSURE TO, OR TRANSMISSION OF, COVID-19 ON THE PREMISES, EXCEPT FOR ACTS OR OMISSIONS CONSTITUTING A CRIME, ACTUAL FRAUD, ACTUAL MALICE, GROSS NEGLIGENCE, RECKLESSNESS, OR WILLFUL MISCONDUCT.&quot;</i></b></p> <p>2.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The exposure to or transmission of the COVID-19 virus must not have occurred due to the acts or omissions of the Association which would constitute a crime, actual fraud, actual malice, gross negligence, recklessness or willful misconduct.&nbsp;Therefore it is strongly recommended that all common interest communities continue to follow the applicable CDC Guidelines and NJ Department of Health guidelines with regard to the use of their amenities.</p> <p>If you have questions about how this new immunity law affects your community, or have any other issues with your community association, please contact one of our&nbsp;<a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/DmbDCv2Lq1t7YXYgUo0LU9?domain=r20.rs6.net">community association attorneys</a>.</p> <p><span style="font-size: smaller;">&copy;2021 Hill Wallack LLP. All rights reserved. Please contact Hill Wallack for permission to reprint. Notice: The purpose of this Client Alert is to identify select developments that may be of interest to readers. The information contained herein is abridged and summarized from various sources, accuracy and completeness of which cannot be assured. This Client Alert should not be construed as legal advice or opinion, and is not a substitute for the advice of counsel.</span></p>https://www.hillwallack.com?t=39&format=xml&directive=0&stylesheet=rss&records=10Client Alert: CFPB Releases COVID-19 Mortgage Servicing Final Rulehttps://www.hillwallack.com/?t=40&an=116970&format=xml&p=530929 Jun 2021Client Alert<p class="HWBodyText">The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (&ldquo;CFPB&rdquo;) released its much-anticipated mortgage servicing final rule on June 28, 2021 in response to the challenges created in the servicing industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="HWBodyText">The rulemaking amends Regulation X, and generally follows the proposal released by the CFPB in April 2021. The release of the final rule, which goes into effect on August 31, 2021, comes on the heels of the Biden-Harris Administration&rsquo;s extension of the foreclosure moratorium on federally backed mortgages to July 31, 2021. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="HWBodyText">While there are several components to the final rule, the most notable is the moratorium on new foreclosure actions through December 31, 2021. Under the final rule, from August 31, 2021 to December 31, 2021, unless an exception applies, servicers must make sure at least one of the temporary procedural safeguards have been met before referring an account for foreclosure. The three procedural safeguards are:<o:p></o:p></p> <p class="HWBodyText" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1"><!--[if !supportLists]-->1.<span style="font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 7pt; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><!--[endif]-->The borrower was evaluated based on a complete loss mitigation application and existing foreclosure protection conditions are met. In order to meet this safeguard, the servicer must confirm that the borrower submitted a complete loss mitigation application and the servicer evaluated the same, the borrower remained delinquent since the submission of the application, and all other conditions in the existing Mortgage Servicing Rules have been met.<o:p></o:p></p> <p class="HWBodyText" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1"><!--[if !supportLists]-->2.<span style="font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 7pt; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><!--[endif]-->The property is considered abandoned by state or local law. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="HWBodyText" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1"><!--[if !supportLists]-->3.<span style="font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 7pt; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><!--[endif]-->The borrower has been unresponsive to servicer outreach. In order to meet this safeguard, the servicer must not have received communication from the borrower in the 90 days prior to foreclosure referral. The servicer must confirm that they have complied with the early intervention live contact requirements, that they have provided the early intervention 45-day written notice required by the Mortgage Servicing Rules (sent at least 10 but no more than 45 days prior to foreclosure referral), that they have complied with all loss mitigation notice requirements, and that if the borrower was in a forbearance program, the program ended at least 30 days prior to the foreclosure referral. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="HWBodyText">Notably, these safeguards <b><i>are not required </i></b>under certain exceptions to the final rule. These exceptions are additions to the proposed rules that were released in April and were added at the request of the mortgage servicing industry. Accounts that are not subject to the above temporary procedural safeguards include foreclosure referrals that occur on or after January 1, 2022, accounts in which the borrower was more than 120 days delinquent prior to March 1, 2020, or accounts under which the applicable statute of limitations will expire before January 1, 2022. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="HWBodyText">The final rule also affects modification options and live contact requirements that servicers are expected to attempt with borrowers. Under the CFPB&rsquo;s new rule, the definition of &ldquo;financial hardship&rdquo; is expanded to mean any hardship that the pandemic brought on, either directly or indirectly, from March 2020 through February 2021. The new rule is meant to assist homeowners coming out of a COVID-19 forbearance plan and require servicers to take more extensive action to prevent &ldquo;avoidable foreclosures.&rdquo; Under the rule, servicers are permitted to offer streamline modifications to borrowers with pandemic related hardships without requiring a full loss mitigation package with supporting paperwork to be submitted. To meet the requirements for a streamline modification, servicers may not increase borrowers&rsquo; payments or extend the mortgage term beyond 40 years. Servicers are not able to charge any extra fees for a streamline modification, and if accepted, servicers must waive any late charges or penalties that were incurred on or after March 1, 2020. If the modification allows the borrower to delay payment of any portion of the amount owing until the property is sold, the mortgage is refinanced, or mortgage insurance terminates, then interest is not able to accrue on those amounts. Finally, the modification must end any delinquency when the borrower accepts the modification offer.<o:p></o:p></p> <p class="HWBodyText">Further, servicers will be required to increase their outreach efforts to borrowers prior to initiating a foreclosure action. After establishing live contact, the rule requires a servicer to provide borrowers with additional information. For borrowers that are not in an active forbearance program, the servicer must inform the borrower of the availability of forbearance programs for borrowers experiencing a COVID-19 related hardship, must list and briefly describe the applicable programs and steps the borrower must take to be evaluated, and must inform the borrower of homeownership counseling services. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="HWBodyText">For borrowers already in active forbearance programs, servicers must inform them of the scheduled end date, a list and brief description of additional applicable programs, and homeownership counseling services. These additional requirements are only applicable through October 2022. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="HWBodyText">The Creditors Rights attorneys at Hill Wallack are continuing to monitor new regulations and legislation as it is released and will keep you updated on any developments.&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></p>https://www.hillwallack.com?t=39&format=xml&directive=0&stylesheet=rss&records=10Client Alert: Bill Providing Limited Immunity To Common Interest Communities Passed By NJ Assembly... Awaits Senate Concurrence and Governor's Signaturehttps://www.hillwallack.com/?t=40&an=116946&format=xml&p=530929 Jun 2021Client Alert<h4> <p>A bill (A4979/S3584) that would provide limited immunity from COVID-19 related civil claims has been passed by the New Jersey Assembly and will be sent to Governor Murphy for him to sign into law once the Senate votes to concur. This should all occur this week. <br /> <br /> The bill was championed by the Community Associations Institute&rsquo;s Legislative Action Committee-NJ (chaired by Hill Wallack partner&nbsp;<a href="https://www.hillwallack.com/george-c-greatrex-jr">George Greatrex</a>). The Governor is expected to sign the bill once he receives it. Three weeks ago the NJ Senate unanimously passed this bill, then during debate in the Assembly two amendments were made at the behest of the Governor&rsquo;s Office and the Assembly leadership. The bill as amended reads as follows:</p> <p><i>1.&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;A planned real estate development shall be immune from civil liability for&nbsp;damages arising from, or related to, an exposure to, or transmission of, COVID-19 on the premises of&nbsp;the&nbsp;planned real estate development, so long as the planned real estate development has prominently displayed at the entrance of any communal space shared by the planned real estate development's residents and their guests, such as pools, gyms, and clubhouses, a sign stating the following warning:</i></p> <p><i>&quot;ANY PERSON ENTERING THE PREMISES WAIVES ALL CIVIL LIABILITY AGAINST THE PLANNED REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT FOR DAMAGES ARISING FROM, OR RELATED TO, AN EXPOSURE TO, OR TRANSMISSION OF, COVID-19 ON THE PREMISES, EXCEPT FOR ACTS OR OMISSIONS CONSTITUTING A CRIME, ACTUAL FRAUD, ACTUAL MALICE, GROSS NEGLIGENCE, RECKLESSNESS, OR WILLFUL MISCONDUCT.&quot;</i></p> <p><i>b.&nbsp; The immunity provided pursuant to subsection a. of this section shall not apply to acts or omissions constituting a crime, actual fraud, actual malice, gross negligence, recklessness, or willful misconduct.</i><i><br /> </i></p> <p><i>c.&nbsp;&nbsp;Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or modify any claim for relief under the workers' compensation law, R.S.34:15-1 et seq.</i><i><br /> </i></p> <p><i>d.&nbsp; As used in this section:</i></p> <p><i>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;COVID-19&quot; means the coronavirus disease 2019, as announced by the World Health Organization on February 11, 2020, and first identified in Wuhan, China.</i></p> <p><i>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Planned real estate development&quot; means the same as that term is defined in section 3 of P.L.1977, c.419 (C.45:22A-23).</i></p> <p><i>&nbsp; 2.&nbsp;&nbsp; This act shall take effect immediately&nbsp;</i><i>and shall expire on the first day of calendar year 2022.</i></p> <p>It is important to note the new requirement of a sign to be posted with the noted language, and that this immunity protection takes effect the day the Governor signs the bill into law and expires on January 1, 2022.&nbsp; While the bill as initially introduced did not contain an expiration date, the addition of that date was critical to its passage. It is hoped that the next 6 months will see a continued increase in the number of people who have been vaccinated, and the continued decrease in the number of infections and hospitalizations from the virus. This would further reduce the relative risk of anyone being infected with the virus while using Association amenities and thereby further reduce the risk of lawsuits against New Jersey&rsquo;s common interest communities seeking damages for such infections.&nbsp;</p> <p>It is equally important to note that it is necessary for common interest communities to continue to follow CDC and NJ Department of Health recommendations in order to promote the safety of their members and to be eligible for the immunity protection from COVID-19 claims this bill provides.</p> <p>We will report back to you as soon as we learn when the Governor has taken action on the bill.<br /> <br /> If you have questions about this or any other issues with your community association, please contact one of our&nbsp;<a href="https://www.hillwallack.com/community-associations">community association attorneys</a>.<br /> <br /> <span style="font-size: smaller;">&copy;2021 Hill Wallack LLP. All rights reserved. Please contact Hill Wallack for permission to reprint. Notice: The purpose of this Client Alert is to identify select developments that may be of interest to readers. The information contained herein is abridged and summarized from various sources, accuracy and completeness of which cannot be assured. This Client Alert should not be construed as legal advice or opinion, and is not a substitute for the advice of counsel.</span></p> </h4>https://www.hillwallack.com?t=39&format=xml&directive=0&stylesheet=rss&records=10Client Alert: Biden-Harris Administration Extends FHFA Moratorium to July 31, 2021https://www.hillwallack.com/?t=40&an=116915&format=xml&p=530924 Jun 2021Client Alert<div>On June 24, 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that the existing foreclosure</div> <div>moratorium for homeowners with government-backed mortgages would be extended to July 31, 2021 in an effort to protect homeowners experiencing aftershocks from the pandemic. <br /> <br /> The&nbsp;decision comes on the heels of the Center for Disease Control&rsquo;s decision to extend the eviction&nbsp;moratorium for one final month through the end of July, to prevent an anticipated wave of&nbsp;evictions caused by the economic fallout during the COVID-19 pandemic.<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div>The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) moratorium applies to single family mortgages</div> <div>backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as properties that have been acquired by one of&nbsp;these government sponsored enterprises through foreclosure or a deed in lieu of foreclosure&nbsp;transaction. As has been the case throughout, homeowners with mortgages in the private market&nbsp;are not protected through the FHFA moratorium.<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div>The extension of the moratorium comes as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau works to&nbsp;finalize a rule first proposed in April 2021 to restrict mortgage servicers from starting foreclosure&nbsp;proceedings until after December 31, 2021. The CFPB plans to finalize the regulations, with a&nbsp;number of carveouts, before the end of August.<br /> <br /> <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/06/24/fact-sheet-biden- harris-administration-announces-initiatives-to-promote-housing-stability-by-supporting- vulnerable-tenants-and-preventing-foreclosures/">Read the U.S. Government's fact sheet for more information</a>.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>https://www.hillwallack.com?t=39&format=xml&directive=0&stylesheet=rss&records=10Abby Webb Moderates the New Jersey State Bar Association Family Law Experts and Implicit Bias Programhttps://www.hillwallack.com/?t=40&an=117977&format=xml&p=555523 Jun 2021Event<div>Abby Webb will be moderating the New Jersey State Bar Association Family Law Experts and Implicit Bias program. She will be part of a panel discussing how experts&rsquo; underlying implicit biases can influence their conclusions and recommendations, and examining ways they can be challenged. <a href="https://tcms.njsba.com/PersonifyEbusiness/Default.aspx?TabID=1356&amp;productId=65549848">Learn more about the program and register her</a>e.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>https://www.hillwallack.com?t=39&format=xml&directive=0&stylesheet=rss&records=10