New Jersey Medical Aid in Dying Act Update

A law that is as controversial as New Jersey’s Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act (“Act”) is bound to have its challengers.

The first challenge to the Act came in the form of a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) which was issued by a Superior Court Judge in Mercer County, New Jersey on August 14, 2019.  The TRO prevents physicians from ordering life-ending medication prescriptions to patients until at least Oct. 23, 2019. The Judge granted a TRO because state agencies and regulatory boards allegedly failed to provide guidance to the State’s physicians on how best to implement the provisions of the Act.

Supporters of the Act contend that the law provides sufficient clarity to allow physicians to act without regulations from New Jersey agencies. Physicians who do not want to participate in the Act may transfer care of the patient to another physician per the patient’s request. The suit alleges that the law violates the state constitution on religious, due process, and equal protection grounds.

Oregon, the pioneer of death with dignity laws, faced similar challenges when it became the first state to allow residents to receive life-ending medication from an attending physician. Oregon and several other jurisdictions have successfully defended their laws allowing residents to end their lives in a dignified manner. In Gonzales v. Oregon, 546 U.S. 243 (2006), the United States Supreme Court upheld Oregon’s Death with Dignity law in a six to three decision.

Michael Salad is a partner in Cooper Levenson’s Business & Tax and Cyber Risk Management practice groups. He concentrates his practice on estate planning, business transactions, mergers and acquisitions, tax matters and cyber risk management. Michael holds an LL.M. in Estate Planning and Elder Law. Michael is licensed to practice law in New Jersey, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York and the District of Columbia.  Michael may be reached at (609) 572-7616 or via e-mail at msalad@cooperlevenson.com.

Shaiful Kashem is a summer associate at Cooper Levenson. He is a candidate for a J.D. at Rutgers School of Law in Camden. Shaiful may be reached at (609) 344.3161 or via e-mail at skashem@cooperlevenson.com.

 

Yolanda Melville Elected National President of NAACP NextGen

ATLANTIC CITY — Yolanda Melville, Esquire, the Legal Redress Officer for the Atlantic City NAACP Branch and National NAACP Legal Committee member, was elected national president of the NAACP’s Next Generation Alumni Leadership Council.

Melville, an attorney at Cooper Levenson in Atlantic City, was selected at the recent NAACP national convention in Detroit this summer. Melville was a member of the inaugural NAACP NextGen Young Professional Leadership Program comprised of 68 leaders ages 21 through 35, from 29 states.

The NextGen Leadership Program is designed to train and develop future leaders to serve the NAACP.

READ: Ashley Bennett, Samantha Whitfield Among 2019 NAACP NextGen Class

“Yolanda is an intelligent, compassionate, and focused leader who uses her legal talents to strive for equality and justice for all people,” Kaleem Shabazz, president of the Atlantic City NAACP and a city council with Atlantic City.

“The Atlantic City Branch has realized what Yolanda’s peers from across the nation have come to learn.  Yolanda is a sure bet for a leader who is energetic and goal-oriented,” he added.

Melville will serve a two-year term as an elected officer.

READ: Yolanda Melville Establishes Roots, Activism in Atlantic City

Participants complete a rigorous training program, including classroom trainings, webinar trainings, case studies, group assignments and special projects on leadership fundamentals, political action, economic empowerment, criminal justice, environmental justice, health advocacy, budgeting, fundraising, technology and direct action.

The NAACP said that NextGen participants are civically engaged young professionals committed to equality and social justice.

SB 212 Makes Towing in CICs Easier

Let’s be honest, no one likes to have their car towed. It’s inconvenient and costly. However, it’s equally frustrating to a resident living in a common interest community (CIC) to fi nd another car parked in their assigned spot, or when a person uses a handicap space without a permit, or leaves their vehicle in a red zone hindering the necessary access emergency vehicles need. The 2019 Nevada Legislature understands and has responded by passing Senate Bill 212 making it easier for residential communities to have cars removed for parking illegally inside a CIC.

Most of us are aware that part of living in a CIC is the requirement that homeowners and guests abide by rules and restrictions intended to protect the “community” and preserve its aesthetics. Doing so helps owners maintain the property value in their communities. These rules, commonly
referred to as CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions), restrict the usage and enjoyment of real property. A staple of all CC&Rs is parking guidelines – where you can park, where you can’t, and when your car will be towed.

Under Nevada law, there are two types of legal tows: consent and non-consent. Anytime a car is towed from a residential community without the owner’s permission it’s deemed to be a non-consent tow. To protect car owners, the law requires a CIC’s homeowners association (HOA) to give notice of the possible tow. The notice may be in the form of a vehicle sticker affi xed to the car advising the owner that it may be towed if, after 48 hours, the violation is not cured. However, more serious parking violations, which will be discussed in further detail below, could
subject a vehicle to being towed “immediately.”

Clink link to read full artlice – SB 212 Makes Towing in CICs Easier

 

The New Jersey Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act

We have witnessed a growing movement to allow terminally ill patients to end their own lives on their terms throughout the United States. New Jersey joined that movement when the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act (“Act”) was signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy on April 12, 2019. The Act becomes effective on August 1, 2019, making New Jersey the eighth jurisdiction in the country to allow terminally ill patients to end their own lives with life-ending medication prescribed by their attending physicians.

The Act (codified at N.J.S.A. 26:16-1, et seq.) outlines how a terminally ill patient may request life-ending medication. A patient may request life-ending medication if the patient (a) is an adult New Jersey resident (as defined by N.J.S.A. § 26:16-11), (b) is capable and has been determined to be terminally ill and (c) has voluntarily requested to receive the medication. N.J.S.A. 26:16-4.

The first prong arises out of concern that residents of other states will travel to New Jersey to receive life-ending medication.  New Jersey residency may be satisfied if a terminally ill patient provides a copy of one of the following to their attending physician: (a) a driver’s license or non-driver identification card issued by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission; (b) proof that the person is registered to vote in New Jersey; (c) a New Jersey resident gross income tax return filed for the most recent tax year; or (d) any other government record that the attending physician reasonably believes demonstrates that the individual’s current residency is the state of New Jersey. These requirements are intended to prevent non-New Jersey residents from traveling to New Jersey to request life-ending medication. Other jurisdictions that enacted similar death with dignity laws have incorporated a residency requirement in order for a terminally ill patient to receive life-ending medication in that jurisdiction.

To establish residency in New Jersey, one must establish a physical address in the state and obtain a driver’s license or non-driver identification card that reflects the New Jersey address. The requirements for both forms of identification require an applicant to provide proof of address, which include copies of utility bills, bank account statements, current mortgage or rental agreements or property tax bills from the past year. To register to vote, a resident may fill out a voter registration application form established by the county in which the voter resides but the voter must produce a New Jersey driver’s license, non-driver identification card or swear that the voter does not possess government-issued identification.

The second prong is primarily the patient’s attending physician’s responsibility. N.J.S.A. 26:16-4 requires a patient to be “capable” and “terminally ill.”  “Capable” means having the capacity to make health care decisions and to communicate those decisions to a health care provider, including communication through persons familiar with the patient’s manner of communicating if those persons are available.  N.J.S.A. 26:16-3.“Terminally ill” means that the patient is in the terminal stage of an irreversibly fatal illness, disease, or condition with a prognosis, based upon reasonable medical certainty, of a life expectancy of six months or less. N.J.S.A. 26:16-3. To be determined a “qualified terminally ill patient,” a consulting physician must also examine the patient to confirm the attending physician’s diagnosis and authenticate the patient’s capacity and voluntariness. N.J.S.A. 26:16-7. Attending physicians are required to maintain extensive records, which include documentation of a patient’s requests for medication, records concerning the patient’s diagnosis, prognosis, capacity, and voluntariness in submitting such requests, as well as records from consulting physicians and any other health care professionals involved with the patient’s request for medication. N.J.S.A. 26:16-10(d). These records are a part of the medical record of a terminally ill patient. The attending physician is also required to submit a copy of these records to the New Jersey Department of Health no later than 30 days after dispensing life-ending medication to a terminally ill patient. N.J.S.A. 26:16-13(a)(1).

The third prong is a multi-step process that requires a patient to make two oral requests and one written request to a patient’s attending physician. A patient may submit a written request to receive life-ending medication to his or her attending physician when the patient makes the initial oral request or at any time thereafter. N.J.S.A. 26:16-10(a)(3). The two oral requests must be made at least 15 days apart and the attending physician must advise the patient to consult with another health care professional to discuss other treatment options but the patient is not required to participate in the consultation. N.J.S.A. 26:16-10(c). After making the second oral request, the attending physician must afford the patient an opportunity to rescind the request for life-ending medication, which may be completed at any time and for any reason. N.J.S.A. 26:16-10(a)(2),(b).

The Act has raised issues regarding life insurance policies that are owned by terminally-ill patients. Many life insurance policies contain suicide riders that prevent a payout if the insured commits suicide within the first two years of binding an insurance policy. After the two-year period lapses, most policies pay out the death benefit, even if the cause of death is suicide. However, the Act differentiates between patients who ingest life-ending medication and those who partake in assisted suicide.

Additionally, deaths that occur within the parameters of the Act do not constitute suicide or assisted suicide. N.J.S.A. 2C:11-6. As such, suicide riders in most life insurance policies are irrelevant, as deaths under the Act are not considered suicide.  The cause of death for those who pass away in accordance with the terms of the Act will likely reference natural causes on the decedent’s death certificate.

In jurisdictions in which a person passes away in accordance with similar “death with dignity” laws, the underlying terminal illness is generally listed as the cause of death and the manner of death is denoted as “natural” per the instructions of most of the jurisdictions’ respective health departments. Furthermore, in New Jersey, the Act provides that any  provision in a contract, last will and testament, insurance policy, annuity, or other agreement, whether written or oral, made on or after August 1, 2019, that purports to restrict a person’s decision to make or rescind a request for life-ending medication will be invalidated and that premium rates for insurance policies or annuities cannot be conditioned on the same request. N.J.S.A. 26:16-14. In the states in which “death with dignity” laws are in effect, we found no challenges regarding remittance of death benefits under a life insurance policy.

The Act will likely make it easier for New Jersey residents suffering from a terminal illness to end their lives on their own terms. The Act includes safeguards and a well-defined process that allows capable, terminally ill patients who are fully informed of their decision to voluntarily terminate their lives if they feel that it is in their best interest to do so. The Act also guides health care providers and advocates who support dying patients.

Michael Salad is a partner in Cooper Levenson’s Business & Tax and Cyber Risk Management practice groups. He concentrates his practice on estate planning, business transactions, mergers and acquisitions, tax matters and cyber risk management. Michael holds an LL.M. in Estate Planning and Elder Law. Michael is licensed to practice law in New Jersey, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York and the District of Columbia. Michael may be reached at (609) 572-7616 or via e-mail at msalad@cooperlevenson.com.

Shaiful Kashem is a summer Law Clerk at Cooper Levenson. He is a candidate for a J.D. at Rutgers School of Law in Camden. Shaiful may be reached at (609) 344.3161 or via e-mail at skashem@cooperlevenson.com.

 

Gov. Murphy Report on Employee Misclassification

On July 9, 2019, Governor Phil Murphy released a Task Force report that urges the Legislature to adopt, among other provisions, more severe penalties for employers that misclassify their workers and liability for businesses that engage with businesses that misclassify their workers.[1]

Worker misclassification occurs when an employer, either intentionally or in error, labels a worker who is legally an employee as an independent contractor.[2] By mislabeling an employee as an independent contractor, usually by issuing the employee a  form 1099 instead of a form W-2, employers avoid paying workers’ compensation insurance and state-run unemployment, as well as Social Security, Medicare, and federal income tax withholding requirements.

The penalties for misclassifying workers, even without the proposed legislation, are already substantial.[3] Before an employer issues a form 1099 or form W-2, it needs to assess whether the worker is an employee or independent contractor under both New Jersey law and Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) guidelines.

In New Jersey, a worker is legally an independent contractor only if the employer can demonstrate each of the following: (a) the worker has been and will continue to be free from control or direction over the performance of such service; (b) such service is either outside the usual course of business for which such service is performed, or that such service is performed outside of the place of business of the enterprise for which such service is performed; and (c) the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business.[4]

On the other hand, the IRS considers a worker a common law employee by weighing three factors.[5] First, behavioral control is established if the employer has a right to control what the worker does and how the worker does his or her job. Second, financial control is established if the business aspects of the worker’s job is controlled by the employer, e.g, whether expenses are paid for or reimbursed, or whether tools are provided. Third, an employer-employee relationship is evidenced by written contracts, pension plans, vacation pay, or the like. If, after conducting this test, an employer is still unclear whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor, the employer may fill out and file a form SS-8 and the IRS will determine the worker’s classification. An employer that misclassifies an employee is free from liability if it can establish a reasonable basis.[6]

[1] See Report of Gov. Murphy’s Task Force on Employee Misclassification, https://www.nj.gov/labor/assets/PDFs/Misclassification20Report202019.pdf

[2] Leveling the Playing Field: Protecting Workers and Businesses Affected by Misclassification: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Health, Educ., Labor, and Pensions, 111th Cong. 3 (2010) (statement of Colleen C. Gardner, Comm’r of the New York State Department of Labor), available at http://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Gardner.pdf.

[3] See Ronald  R. Rubenfield, Tax Strategies for Classifying Employment: Employee v. Independent Contractor, 99 Prac. Tax Strategies 35, 37 (2017). See also N.J. Stat. Ann. § 34:20-5 (2007).

[4] See Hargrove v. Sleepy’s, LLC, 220 N.J. 289, 305 (2014).

[5]See Independent Contractor (Self-Employed) or Employee?, IRS, http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Independent-Contractor-Self-Employed-or-Employee. The IRS also specifies whether workers in certain occupations are per se employees or independent contractors. The list of statutory employees include: food, laundry, and delivery drivers, full-time insurance sales agents, a person that works at home on materials or goods that he or she supplies and that must be returned, and full-time travelling salespeople that work on behalf of a company. Statutory nonemployees include: direct sellers, licensed real estate agents, and certain companion sitters. See Statutory Employee, IRS, https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/statutory-employees; Statutory Nonemployees, IRS, https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/statutory-nonemployees.

[6] William H. Weissman, Section 530: Its History and Application in Light of the Federal Definition of the Employer-Employee Relationship for Federal Tax Purposes, Nat’l Ass’n of Tax Reporting & Prof’l Mgmt. (2009).

Who is liable? It depends…. by Carmelo Torraca and Young Yoon

by Carmelo (Tony) Torraca Esq. and Young Yoon, Esq.

Part of our practice has been to assist companies walk the tight rope between getting additional business, while at the same time, not having all of the risk transferred directly to our client. In one of our presentations, we discussed the plight of a pest control company who, pursuant to a contract, was responsible not only for the workers’ compensation injuries to an employee who slipped and fell at a restaurant he was servicing on behalf of the company, but also indemnification and additional insurance required by the restaurant when that employee filed a third party action. The pest control company and its carrier paid a considerable sum to an employee who was injured while doing his job.

In the slew of case law presented, the courts have made a distinction between the additional insurance requirement and that of indemnity. As to additional insurance, the common interpretation rule is once there is a contractual requirement to name someone as an additional insured on its policy, the court must look to the policy to see if there is coverage.

In a recent case of July 10, 2019, the Appellate Division decided Comcast of Garden State v. Hanover Insurance Co. The Court followed the rule and paid special attention to the policy language, showing the importance of not only knowing what the contract says but what is covered by your insurance.

The facts in this recent case showed that.

Richard Endres filed suit alleging injuries due to the negligence of JNET Communications and Comcast of Garden State, L.P., as a result of tripping over a temporary above-ground cable JNET installed while performing work as Comcast’s contractor. Comcast tendered the defense of the lawsuit to JNET’s insurer, Hanover Insurance Company. Hanover initially accepted the defense. JNET admitted it placed the cable and Comcast was dismissed. Comcast was reinstated after deposition testimony suggested that a Comcast technician replaced the cable after JNET’s initial placement. Hanover tendered the defense back. At Endres’ trial, the jury found Comcast 60% liable and JNET 40% liable.

Comcast filed suit against Hanover and JNET that Comcast was an additional insured entitled to coverage under the policy. The trial court determined that Comcast was an additional insured pursuant to its contractual obligations. Hanover and JNET appealed.

The issue before the Appellate Court was whether Comcast was an additional insured for its own negligent acts under the policy. The Court concluded that it was not.

In interpreting the policy, the Court relied upon the following language:
          Any person or organization with whom you agree. . . is an insured, but only with respect to (1) “your work” for the insured . . . [defined as] “work of operations performed by you on your behalf.

Hanover argued that Comcast was not an additional insured because the jury found Comcast 60% liable and JNET 40% liable. Hanover contended that the jury based its findings of Comcast’s liability on Comcast’s direct negligence unrelated to JNET’s work and was not vicariously liable based upon JNET’s work. Hanover argued that the policy only provides coverage “with respect to” its insured JNET’s work. It did not provide coverage for the negligent acts of another entity. It appears that there was nothing in the policy that required a specific allocation of liability, in order to demand indemnity.

In support of its claim, Comcast relied upon Franklin Mutual Insurance Co. v. Security Indemnity Ins. Co., 275 N.J. Super. 335 (App. Div. 1994) and Harrah’s Atlantic City, Inc. v. Harleysville Ins. Co., 288 N.J. Super. 152 (App. Div. 1996), but the Court drew the distinction from the issues at hand. In both those cases, the insurance policy had language that stated:
Only with respect to liability arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of that part of the premises.

The Court held that, in those cases, coverage as an additional insured was dependent upon the construction of the insurance policy term “arising out of” which was not “capable of precise definition.”

But in the JNET insurance policy, the Court agreed with Hanover, that the policy was not ambiguous where its plain language “only with respect to” allowed additional insurance only with respect to JNET’s work. Because Comcast’s liability was not determined in reference to or in relation to JNET’s work, Comcast was not an additional insured for its own negligent acts. Here, the Courts relied upon Supreme Court decisions in the indemnity provision requiring that in order to indemnify someone for their own negligence, there must be plain language clearly expressing contrary intent.

The importance of the court’s holding is when entering into a contract and being asked to name someone as an additional insured, not only does the terms of the contract become important, but also that of your insurance policy. While in this case, Hanover was able to avoid paying for Comcast’s own negligence, the contractual provision between Comcast and JNET may have included specific indemnity language asking for such coverage. I trust that we will see many other insurance carriers rewrite the policy for the more specific language. To the business owners and those entering into these type of contracts, it is strongly encouraged to have the contracts reviewed not only by your attorney, but also, your insurance broker, who ensured that if you are agreeing to provide additional insurance, it is for what is intended.

School Bus Safety Education Program offered to New Jersey School Districts by our attorney Sean F. Dalton

NJSA 18A: 39-19.1a requires employers to administer a safety education program to school bus drivers and aides 2X a year. This seminar will provide training on the following mandated topics:

  • student management and discipline;
  • school bus accident and emergency procedures;
  • conducting school bus emergency exit drills;
  • loading and unloading procedures;
  • school bus stop loading zone safety;
  • inspecting vehicle for students left on board at the end of a route;
  • the use of a student’s education records, including the employee’s responsibility to ensure the privacy of the student and the student’s records;
  • working with police, suspicious activity training;
  • addressing needs of students with disabilities;
  • accident reporting

This program is available to School Districts, Boards of Education, Transportation Companies and School Insurance funds

Instructor: Sean F. Dalton, Esquire, Former Assistant Attorney General

Former Gloucester County Prosecutor (2001-2017)

sdalton@cooperlevenson | Direct Dial: (609) 572-7452

Our Partner Russell Lichtenstein represents Levinson and Formica and argued the motion that resulted in their dismissal from the sex discrimination lawsuit against county prosecutor.

As seen in The Press of Atlantic City July 16, 2019 edition
by MICHELLE BRUNETTI POST Staff Writer

A judge on Friday dismissed Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson and Freeholder Frank Formica from the lawsuit alleging discrimination against women by County Prosecutor Damon Tyner.

“The reason I was put in, in the first place, is I went to a rally at a church in Pleasantville in support of Damon Tyner,” said Levinson on Monday. “Not about whether he was guilty or innocent (of the charges of discrimination), but in support of him as a human being and what he has given to the community.”

Levinson credited Tyner with successfully bringing murder and drug charges against Linwood doctor James Kauffman, in the 2012 death of his wife April Kauffman. The case had gone cold under previous prosecutors.

Kauffman killed himself in prison.

The suit, filed in January by former Assistant Prosecutor Diane Ruberton, former Lt. Heather McManus and current Assistant Prosecutor Donna Fetzer, alleges gender discrimination, retaliation and other illicit behavior by the prosecutor and others in his office.

The attorney representing Levinson and Formica said Monday that Cumberland County Superior Court Judge James R. Swift found no merit to any of the claims against his clients, and dismissed the case against them with prejudice. That means the plaintiffs can’t file an amended claim to bring them back in, he said.

The case was moved to Cumberland County in March.

“It appears the plaintiffs were trying to silence County Executive Levinson and Freeholder Formica from speaking out in support of the fine job Damon Tyner has done,” said Russell Lichtenstein, a partner at Cooper Levenson.

Lawyers for the women released a written statement via email Monday afternoon.

“We believe that Dennis Levinson and Frank Formica engaged in actions that were retaliatory and that failed to protect these three women from discrimination,” said Michelle Douglass and Philip Burnham, the lawyers for the women. “New Jersey law makes clear that these actions can be the basis of a legal claim of discrimination even if the retaliation comes after an employee is no longer at her job.”

Tyner, whose office did not respond to a request for comment Monday, released a statement about the suit at the time it was filed.

“It is apparent that the plaintiffs are living in an alternative universe,” the statement said. “The very same conduct they accuse me and the members of my administration of committing was actually carried out by them and others during their brief, ineffective period of leadership of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.”

Levinson called his inclusion in the sex discrimination case “preposterous,” pointing out that he and the county have no say over who is appointed prosecutor, or how the office is run.

“As their lawyers should know … he is appointed by the governor,” Levinson said, and the prosecutor’s office operates independently.

Formica was named in the suit, according to Levinson, because his brother, Mario Formica, worked for the Prosecutor’s Office.

County Counsel Jim Ferguson estimated the inclusion of Levinson and Formica has already cost county taxpayers at least $20,000 in legal bills and expenses related to the case.

And the expenses will continue, Ferguson said, because the county itself is still named in the lawsuit.

“It’s an outrage. We don’t appoint, direct or hire anybody for that office,” Levinson said. “All we do is pay for it.”

He said the lawsuit will stretch out for quite some time, and cost the county taxpayers plenty.

“It is what it is. We have to live with it,” Levinson said.

The women allege in the suit that Tyner demoted high-ranking women while giving men raises, paid newly hired women at a lower rate than newly hired men, covered up complaints of gender discrimination and spoke in a derogatory fashion about women in general.

In addition to allegations of gender discrimination, the three women claim Tyner was involved in mortgage fraud, failed to investigate a claim that a police officer was leaking confidential information about the April Kauffman murder case and failed to tell defense counsel about the possible leak. They also accuse him of firing employees to hire his brother, and refusing to investigate after an assistant prosecutor exchanged advice via texts with a defendant in a pending domestic violence case.

Regarding Levinson and Formica, the lawsuit alleged they “refuse to look deeper at gender bias and systemically devalue plaintiffs, as women, in the workplace” and “have publicly announced their support of the male defendants even before this lawsuit was filed and even before all the facts were and/or have been disclosed.”

Contact: 609-272-7219 mpost@pressofac.com Twitter @MichelleBPost

Read our attorney Ron Lieberman’s answer as seen on NJMoneyHelp: If dad is on the mortgage, can he stop the sale of this home in divorce?

By

Q. A couple bought a house and the husband’s father is on the mortgage because husband has bad credit. Fast forward a few years and the couple is divorcing. They want to sell the house and split the proceeds. Does the father on the mortgage have any say?

— Looking for help

A. You didn’t mention if your father-in-law is on the deed of the home.

 If your father-in-law is not on the deed, he is not an owner of the home, said Ronald Lieberman, an attorney and chair of the family law practice group at Cooper Levenson in Cherry Hill and Atlantic City.

“He has no rights to force or to prevent a sale,” Lieberman said. “In other words, he has all of the detriments of home ownership by being on the mortgage with none of the benefits of home ownership.”

Lieberman said upon the sale of the home, the mortgage would be paid off.

“A home cannot be sold unless any mortgages are satisfied by the sellers,” he said. “It should not matter to the father whether the proceeds from the sale pay off the mortgage or whether the sellers have to bring funds to the closing to pay off the mortgage because either way, the mortgage must be paid off and the father is cleared.”

As a result, Lieberman said, you can either sell or not sell the home, and your father-in-law has little if no ability to stop you.

Email your questions to Ask@NJMoneyHelp.com.