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Bergen County, New Jersey, Law Blog

The Fight For Philly's Phanatic

If sports mascots had their own Hall of Fame, costumed heroes such as the San Diego Chicken and Mr. Met would more than deserve enshrinement.

However, as far as a first-round, unanimous ballot choice, that honor would go to a flightless bird with green fur and a long tongue.

A Judge's View in Avoiding Bankruptcy Traps

Bankruptcy filings usually occur after months, if not years of financial stress and uncertainty. Phones continually ring with debt collectors on the other end. Mailboxes fill up with final notices, garnishment warnings, and lawsuits.

Seeking any type of advice seems embarrassing as it will reveal the financial plight. While many presume irresponsibility in handling credit, a Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 filing often is the result of an unexpected life-changing event. Job loss, divorce, illness, or any combination of those factors often play a significant role in consumers not being able to make ends meet.

New Regulations Encouraging Bad Behavior By Creditors?

Efforts over the last several years have attempted to reign in the increasingly unethical tactics and outright bullying behavior employed by debt collectors. Debtors breathed a sigh of relief as collection agencies were forced to work within more strict parameters.

Newly installed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Kathy Kraninger recently proposed new regulations. However, the suggestions did not add restrictions but loosened them. While changes are typical when a new regime takes control, many consumer advocates feel that the “tweaks” only bolsters bad behavior that usually falls into two categories: Collection attempts to the wrong people and engaging in abusive actions against debtors.

Driving Towards Delinquency.

Driving Toward Delinquency

With a strong economy and improving employment market, you might be surprised to learn that the number of Americans at least 90 days behind on their monthly installments has hit record levels. The New York Fed places the number of “distressed borrowers” at seven million, representing a staggering growth of approximately seventeen percent since 2010—a year during which consumers were still feeling the aftermath of a financial crisis that rivaled the Great Depression. This increase in delinquency appears to be a result, at least in part, of a growth in the use of third-party subprime auto financers that loan to less qualified buyers in exchange for higher interest rates than a dealership would normally offer.

The determination to deter distracted driving

Decades have passed since drunk driving stops usually resulted in the police officer following the impaired driver home to “sleep it off.” Yet, as accidents causing injury and death grew and received more media attention, awareness of the deadly dangers of impaired operation increased as well. State lawmakers found themselves forced to revisit existing statutes to deter future acts of driving a vehicle while under the influence.

Countering A Cutting-Edge Form Of Impairment

Who is responsible for e-scooter injuries?

E-scooters are making their way across America. Unfortunately, they are leaving numerous riders injured along the way.

Currently, nearly 100 cities in the United States have some form of e-scooter. The most popular brands, Bird and Lime, have also expanded to other nations, including Israel and France. Generally, these rides cost less than two dollars per ride and appeal to many millennials and commuters on a budget.

Are teenagers addicted to distracted driving?

Every time you hear about a distracted driving accident, you shake your head, unable to believe that someone would prioritize sending a text message or going on social media over another person's life. How could they possibly think that their instant communication was more important than driving safely? In the decades you've spent behind the wheel, you have never seen anything more frightening than young drivers who won't take their eyes of off their cellphones.

Feeling perplexed about this is natural for older drivers, who did not grow up with this type of technology and who do not use it nearly as often. It's much different for teens, though, and some people believe the true issue here is that they are completely addicted to technology.

Will new restrictions on debt collectors ease debtors' stress?

Financial problems permeate all aspects of debtors’ lives. Twenty-five million Americans who have debts in collections are already dealing with the stress and uncertainty that comes with not being able to make ends meet. Mailboxes fill with past-due notices and phones ring continuously with debt collectors aggressively pursuing past-due or delinquent balances.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is trying to fast-track new rules that would place limits on third-party debt collectors who are under contract to pursue old debt or those who purchase delinquent accounts for pennies on the dollar.

Uber's massive miscalculation

Independent contractors are business owners in their own right. Fueled by a healthy “gig economy,” they enjoy the freedom, flexibility and unlimited revenue potential that comes with entrepreneurship. With that albeit risky upside, the downside involves little, if any of the rights usually afforded to hourly and salaried employees.

Thankfully for Uber drivers, strength is in the numbers.

The restraint in providing restraint

It is a problem that is hiding in plain sight.

Choosing to travel via train or bus presents risks of serious injuries, yet restraints and the requirements to use them are lacking. Safety standards governing automobiles and airplanes mandate the use of seat belts. Personal motor vehicles provide the added protection of airbags for both drivers and passengers.

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