Cooper Levenson Foundation Accepting Scholarship Applications

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.  January 2 , 2020 -Cooper Levenson Foundation, Inc. is offering college scholarship grants to high school seniors residing in the firm’s practice areas, including Atlantic, Cape May and Camden Counties in New Jersey. Candidates must demonstrate academic excellence, active involvement as a volunteer, and financial need, and must be planning to enroll as a full-time student at an accredited two- or four-year university.

“We believe that investing in the education of the next generation is one of the best ways to insure the continuous improvement of a community,” said Lloyd D. Levenson, chief executive officer. “We’re pleased to be able to help high school seniors who demonstrate civic responsibility and academic achievement despite challenges. These are our leaders of tomorrow.”

The application requires sections to be completed by a teacher or school administrator and a volunteer coordinator, and letters of recommendation from each. Students also must furnish an official copy of their high school transcript, proof of SAT or ACT composite score, answers to two essay questions, a Student Aid Report (SAR) report, copy of the submitted Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a letter of eligibility for a Pell Grant, if applicable.

Scholarship applications are available online here or through high school guidance offices in Atlantic, Cape May and Camden Counties. To be eligible for a scholarship award, applications must be hand delivered or mailed, and received before 5 p.m. on April 3, 2020 at Cooper Levenson Foundation Inc., attn: Donna Vecere, Director of Marketing, 1125 Atlantic Avenue, Atlantic City, N.J. 08401. Email submissions will not be accepted.

Cooper Levenson is a full service law firm since 1957, with 67 attorneys and New Jersey offices in Atlantic City and Cherry Hill. The firm has regional offices in Bear, Del., and Las Vegas, Nev. For more information, visit www.cooperlevenson.com.

2020 Cooper Levenson Foundation Scholarship Application

Japan looks to Nevada as it considers gaming regulations: Our attorney Scott Rasmussen quoted in Las Vegas Review Journal

Congratulations to our attorney, Scott Rasmussen. Read more in the Las Vegas Review Journal – story link below.

“Earlier this month, former Nevada Gaming Control Board chair Becky Harris found herself a long way from home. Harris, along with Cooper Levenson attorney Scott Rasmussen, spent five days in Japan, meeting with integrated resort promotion officials in Osaka and Tokyo to discuss things like project timelines and gaming regulations.”

Japan looks to Nevada as it considers gaming regulations

Cooper Levenson Holiday Cards Feature Student Artwork

Cooper Levenson Holiday Cards Feature Student Artwork

Firm Supports ‘Let Us Eat, Please’ in Lieu of Corporate Holiday Gifts

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. Dec. 02, 2019 — Four area schoolchildren will see their artwork professionally published in holiday cards sent by Cooper Levenson Attorneys at Law. The annual holiday art contest encourages students to engage in the arts, and underscores Cooper Levenson’s support of charities in the communities it serves. The cards will be sent to 4,000 clients and friends of the firm.

Winners were chosen from the hundreds of entries submitted:

  1. Kenya McReynolds, an eighth grader from the Egg Harbor City School District
  2. Jenna Vivadelli, a fifth grader from the Hammonton Public School District
  3. Joana Andujar, a fifth grader from the Pleasantville Public School District
  4. Maya Krijt, a seventh grader from the Evesham Township School District

Students receive a $50 gift card and a cupcake party for their classes. The students’ teachers also receive a $100 gift card to use for art supplies. Both students and teachers will be honored at upcoming Board of Education (BOE) meetings.

The holiday cards noted that, in lieu of corporate gifts, the Atlantic City office will contribute to “Let Us Eat, Please,” an organization which feeds hungry families in the region.

About ‘Let Us Eat, Please’

‘Let Us Eat, Please’ was created by the late James L. Cooper, founding partner of Cooper Levenson. Just after his 82nd birthday, he formed the organization after he learned from his daughter, a teacher, about the effects of hunger on the one in five children who regularly attend school hungry. Last summer, through this grassroots, volunteer-driven effort and area schools, 810 families and their 2,300 children received a 30 pound box of groceries every two weeks, at no cost.

Cooper Levenson is a full service law firm since 1957, with offices in New Jersey, Delaware, Florida, Nevada, and New York. For more information, visit www.cooperlevenson.com.

WannaCry Predicted to Mushroom This Weekend

It is highly recommended that individuals and organizations using Microsoft Enterprise  tools and Windows operating systems confirm that their technology was properly patched with Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-010, released March 14, 2017. As of the date of this Alert, ransomware known as WannaCry infected computers in 99 countries in less than 14 hours, primarily on systems which failed to install the MS17-010 patch. WannaCry operates by encrypting user files and systems, which cannot be unlocked by users without paying a ransom or through complex systems auditing and code removal.

We predict instances of WannaCry will mushroom in the U.S. this evening as students and professionals begin returning home and check emails from personal devices. Anecdotal evidence has shown that WannaCry can jump from personal devices to enterprise servers, and vice versa, through virtual private networks, the main conduit for distance learning programs and telecommuting platforms. We advise that all clients remain vigilant in updating and patching their technology on an immediate basis, as WannaCry is yet another example of the costs of remediation far exceeding prevention.

Companies with systems that are exposed to WannaCry may have disclosure responsibilities for customers and insurers, as well as other regulatory requirements under state and federal law.

For more information regarding WannaCry and other technology security inquiries, please contact Michael Salad at msalad@cooperlevenson.com or Peter Fu at pfu@cooperlevenson.com in the firm’s cyberliability practice group.

Privacy, Mass Data and the Apple Dilemma

On February 16, 2016, Magistrate Sheri Pym of the United States District Court of Central California ordered Apple Inc. (“Apple”) to affirmatively develop tools to bypass or disable the auto-erase function on an iPhone 5C owned by the target of a criminal investigation, to enable the Federal Bureau of Investigations (“FBI”) to circumvent native iPhone security features which protect the device’s “physical device port, Bluetooth, WiFi” and other access points, and to “ensure” the FBI’s ability to have unmitigated access to user data maintained on the target iPhone. Though Magistrate Pym’s order is only three pages long, the order will likely have long-lasting impact on the future of the legal and technology industries if it survives Apple’s anticipated appeal.

For readers without a background in engineering or platform development, each smartphone, including the iPhone, is a digital bank trading in the currency of data. The operating system, which enables users to manage their applications, is like the main vault of a financial bank. Similarly, each application is like a personal deposit box. Applications generally differ in purpose and use, and as such, maintain different types of data. Some applications may contain sensitive financial information, i.e. Google Pay, Amazon, etc., and other applications may contain personal data like text messaging services, e-mail accounts, etc. However, the common thread linking all applications is their collective dependency on the underlying security of the host hardware and operating system.

Magistrate Pym’s order upsets the balance of smartphone security in two major ways. First, in ordering Apple to develop the tools to bypass the iPhone’s point of access security measures, Apple is now required to create a backdoor to the iPhone’s data vault. Second, in ordering Apple to ensure the FBI’s ability to access iPhone user data without triggering the iPhone’s auto-erase features, Apple is now also required to create a backdoor to each application hosted in the iPhone’s data vault. Generally, hardware and software developers limit points of access to reduce the surface area of risk and because of longstanding knowledge in the technology community that all points of access can be breached. As such, the Pym order exponentially increases the vulnerability of all iPhone devices and applications, especially because the backdoors mandated by the order must have the ability to bypass, circumvent or even disable the iPhone’s built-in security features.

Magistrate Pym’s order also has an enormous effect on mass data. While the tools being compelled by the order are intended to be used on only one iPhone, once these tools are developed, they can be utilized against all iPhones that have been updated or patched since August 2015. This represents approximately 68.2 million unique devices in the United States alone. In essence, Magistrate Pym’s order is akin to requiring all financial banks to build backdoors to every vault and deposit box in order to investigate a single bank robbery.

Magistrate Pym’s order represents one of the first instances, outside of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, that a court has ordered a manufacturer or developer to non-consensually create a means to undermine or defeat a company’s primary line of business. Unfortunately, and unlike the orders arising from the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Magistrate Pym’s order was not sealed. As such, if Apple complies with Magistrate Pym’s order, every hacker would know about the existence of a skeleton key that can be used to access data that is maintained and transmitted from an iPhone.

Aside from Magistrate Pym’s order, the issue of granting any actor unfettered access to millions of iPhones raises concerns about the prudence of mass data collection capabilities. In the instant case, the government has asked for tools that can be used to collect data from nearly 90% of all iPhone devices. Presumably, any data collected from these tools will be documented and recorded by the requesting agency or agencies. However, as evidenced by the multitude of data breach incidents in 2015 alone, almost all individuals holding government security clearances have had their personnel files subject to unauthorized access and disclosure. As such, serious consideration must be given to whether it is possible to protect digital backdoors and skeleton keys before ordering the creation of such tools.

Michael L. Salad is an attorney 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 and the District of Columbia. Michael may be reached at 609.572.7616 or via e-mail at msalad@cooperlevenson.com.

Peter Y. Fu is an attorney in Cooper Levenson’s Business & Tax and Cyber Risk Management practice groups. He concentrates his practice on sales and use tax, enterprise risk management, and commercial transactions. Peter is licensed to practice law in New Jersey and Florida. Peter can be reached at 609.572.7556 or via e-mail at pfu@cooperlevenson.com.

Legal Ethics Of Email Seminar

December 14 in Atlantic City and December 15 in Cherry Hill, N.J.

Atlantic City, N.J. December 1, 2015 -Attorneys, paralegals and other professionals interested in learning about the ethical questions surrounding email may attend a half-day seminar hosted by the National Business Institute. The seminar will be held on Monday, December 14, 2015 from 8:45 a.m. to 12 noon at the Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel, 2 Convention Blvd., Atlantic City, N.J. The seminar will be repeated on Tuesday, December 15, 2015 from 8:45 a.m. to 12 noon at the Holiday Inn Cherry Hill, 2175 Marlton Pike, Cherry Hill, N.J.

Frederic L. Shenkman, partner with Cooper Levenson, P.A., is one of three presenters who will discuss the ethical challenges of email, including privacy concerns, data security, and inadvertent disclosure. Some of the questions to be addressed include, “Is email protected under the 4thamendment?” and “Does the email you delete really disappear?” The presenters will share tips, risks and best practices, including practical guidance and tools for ethical compliance.

Shenkman has decades of experience in both transactional work and commercial litigation. He has lectured extensively on general equity and attorney ethics to various bar associations and Inns of Court. He served as chairperson and as secretary of District 1 of the New Jersey District Ethics Committee.

Cost for the seminar is $239. Participants receive Continuing Legal Education Credits valid in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. For more information on the Atlantic City seminar, visit http://bit.ly/1I1K2ys. For more information on the Cherry Hill seminar, visit http://bit.ly/1Hd1yj2.

Cooper Levenson is a full service law firm since 1957, with 75 attorneys and New Jersey offices in Atlantic City and Cherry Hill. The firm has regional offices in Bear, Del., and Las Vegas. For more information, visit www.cooperlevenson.com.

Smartphone is Key to Preventing ATM Thefts

SALAD FU HEAD SHOTS.jpgTheft of personal identification numbers (PINs) has become so common that it is usually only reported in the news if it occurs in your local area, as it did in our neighboring town of Margate, New Jersey in September 2015 (http://bit.ly/1huJcxB).

By now, most people know that they need to be very careful in safeguarding the PINs associated with debit cards, including covering their hands at ATMs when entering their PIN to prevent thieves from capturing their information on hidden cameras. However, there are two preventative measures that are often overlooked.

First, customers may use the drive-through option or walk into a bank and avoid an ATM altogether. As a result of the banking industry’s efforts to increase staff and drive-through teller lanes, after-hour visits to banks are often as convenient as using an ATM.

The second involves your smartphone. If you have to use an ATM, you should check the ATM for unusual wireless transmissions. This can be performed by accessing the wireless network settings on your smart phone to see if the phone is picking up 3G, 4G, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi signals that are suspicious. Under normal circumstances, ATMs are generally located near convenience stores like Wawa or 7-Eleven. As such, seeing wireless signals entitled “Wawa Wireless” or “7-Eleven Data” can be expected. Issues arise when signals with uncommon and unexpected names like “Free2Move,” “MSR-60” or “Wincorp Nixdorf” are being transmitted near an ATM. The process of checking for suspicious signals takes a maximum of three movements on most smart phones, allowing you to proceed with your transaction with minimal inconvenience.

As ATM thieves become more sophisticated, use of traditional devices like cameras and telescopic lenses are becoming less common. Instead, thieves are now infiltrating ATMs through ATM technicians who install wireless devices which wirelessly “skim” your data in exchange for a fee. As such, your first line of defense against ATM thieves is to check for transmission of wireless signals around an ATM. As a general rule, the existence of multiple wireless networks around an ATM is highly suspicious. Therefore, you should avoid using such ATMs and alert your local police about the ATM.

Peter Fu is an attorney in Cooper Levenson’s Business & Tax and Cyber Risk Management practice groups. He concentrates his practice on sales and use tax, enterprise risk management, and commercial transactions. Peter is licensed to practice law in New Jersey, and is pending admission to Florida. Peter may be reached at 609.572.7556 or via e-mail at pfu@cooperlevenson.com.

Michael Salad is an attorney 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. degree in Estate Planning and Elder Law. Michael is licensed to practice law in New Jersey, Florida and the District of Columbia. Michael may be reached at 609.572.7616 or via e-mail at msalad@cooperlevenson.com

Social Media Policy

Implementing and enforcing social media policies has been a top priority for many employers within recent years, and with good reason. It is now crucial that employers take a careful look at their own social media policies. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued opinion memoranda which equate “comments” and “likes” on Facebook and other social media pages with the concerted activity protected by the National Labor Relations Act [the Act].

It is important for all employers to recognize that the Act and the NLRB’s decisions apply to them and not solely to those with a unionized workforce. This may come as a surprise to many employers, especially those who have no experience with unionization and related issues.

Specifically, the NLRB considered various factual scenarios in an apparent effort to explain whether social media policies prohibiting employees from posting disparaging comments regarding the employer, its managers or supervisors, violate the Act. In some circumstances, the NLRB found that the comments were protected and that discipline or retaliation against the employee was improper, whereas, in others they found posts and comments to be unprotected and for it to be lawful to discipline the employee in question.

In one example provided by the NLRB, a truck driver was traveling to Wyoming from his native Kansas. When he reached Wyoming he was unable to proceed due to closed roads and for a period of time, he was unable to reach anyone at his employer’s place of business. This employee commented on his Facebook page that his company was running off all of the good and hardworking drivers. No employees joined this conversation, however, the Operations Manager of the truck driver’s employer commented and the employee and the Operations Manager engaged in a discourse on Facebook. The Operations Manager threatened the truck driver to remove the comment and the driver was demoted. Here, the NLRB determined that the comment by the truck driver was “just venting” and was not protected by the Act. Therefore, the discipline was not forbidden.

Quite the opposite, another example provided a situation where an employee of a veterinary hospital posted a comment reflecting her frustration with the promotion of another employee. Three friends/co-workers of the employee commented and a discussion ensued regarding the employee who was promoted, the general mismanagement of their employer, and some specific issues they had with the employer. The employer terminated the employee, one commenter and disciplined the other two. The NLRB determined that the employees were engaged in protected activity and that this discipline constituted unlawful retaliation under the Act.

Additional examples were provided by the NLRB, highlighting the significance of each particular fact of a given situation. If your business is confronted with an employee making disparaging remarks, you should seek counsel with an experienced attorney before taking action against the employee. Further, you should review your business’s own social media policy to ensure that it complies with the Act. Cooper Levenson maintains an Employment Law practice group available to you for such questions and assistance.

New Ada Rules May Require Changes At Your Swimming Pool

The 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) Standards for Accessible Design (the “2010 Standards”) went into effect on March 15, 2012. The 2010 Standards establish new requirements for amusement rides, boating facilities, golf & miniature golf facilities, swimming pools and play areas, clarify issues concerning reach ranges, toilet room dimensions and accessible routes, the dispersion of accessible hotel rooms among the different classes of rooms provided, and the overlap between wheelchair accessible rooms and rooms with communication features for entities governed by the ADA. Title III of the ADA governs public accommodations and commercial facilities.

2010 Standards Require Accessible Swimming Pools & Spas
The most controversial of the 2010 Standards is the requirement that all newly constructed or altered swimming pools and spas (hot tubs) at Title III entities be accessible to persons with disabilities. With regard to existing swimming pools, the 2010 Standards require that commercial facilities and places of public accommodation remove physical barriers to the extent that it is “readily achievable,” i.e., easily accomplished without much difficulty or expense. The deadline to conform was extended 60 days from March 15, 2012 to May 14, 2012 and may be extended an additional 180 days.

Compliance with the 2010 Standards requires the installation of one or more fixed pool lifts; it is not clear whether a portable lift will be satisfactory.

Is it “Readily Achievable” For You To Install A Pool Lift To Make Your Swimming Pool & Spa Accessible
The 2010 Standards require that existing swimming pools and spas at commercial facilities and places of public accommodation remove physical barriers to the extent that it is “readily achievable,” i.e., easily accomplished without much difficulty or expense. There is no “quantifiable connection” or other mathematical formula to determine if barrier removal is “readily achievable.” Moreover, according to the Chief, Disability Rights Section, U.S. Department of Justice, “it is important to reemphasize that determining whether removal of a particular barrier is readily achievable requires a case-by-case assessment that may vary from business to business and sometimes from one year to the next for the same business. If a public accommodation determines that its facilities have barriers that should be removed pursuant to the ADA, but it is not readily achievable to undertake all of the modification immediately, the Department recommends that the public accommodation develop an implementation plan designed to achieve compliance with the ADA’s barrier removal requirements over time. Such a plan, if appropriately designed and diligently executed, may well serve as evidence of a good faith effort to comply with the ADA’s barrier removal requirements.”

Does The 2010 Standard For Accessible Swimming Pools & Spas Apply To You
Title III of the ADA applies to commercial facilites and public accomodations. A commercial facility includes nonresidential facilities, such as office buildings, factories, and warehouses, whose operations affect commerce. A public accommodation is an entity that owns or operates a place of public accommodation. A place of accommodation is a facility whose operations affect commerce and is:
a place of lodging,
an establishment serving food or drink,
a place of entertainment,
a place of public gathering,
a sales or service establishment,
a place of public display, recreation or education,
a social service center establishment, or
a place of exercise or recreation (e.g. gym).

Although a condominium or apartment building is a residential facility which is not governed by the 2010 Standards, they may apply to places of public accommodation within residential facilities. For example, an area within a multifamily residential facility will qualify as a place of public accommodation IF the use of the area is not limited exclusively to owners, residents, and their guests. ADA Title III Technical Assistance Manual Covering Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities, III-1.2000, p. 10.

Conclusion

Hotels and motels should immediately investigate the cost of creating a barrier free swimming pool and spa as there is no guarantee that the deadline will be extended a second time. A spokeswoman for the U.S., Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Disability Rights Section said there is no criminal penalty for failing to install the lifts, but a civil penalty may be pursued. In addition to the possibility of a civil penalty levied by the Department of Justice, a disabled person can file a lawsuit to ensure that the barriers are removed and the court will require the non-compliant party to pay all legal fees. Title III entities may be eligible for a federal tax credit for small businesses (IRC section 44) or deduction (IRC section 190) for barrier removal costs or alterations to improve accessibility regardless of the size of the business.

Work-place Injuries Causing Interruption In Service Do Not Prevent Teachers From Attaining Tenure

On May 8, 2015, the Appellate Court addressed the issue of whether a petitioner, who was on medical leave for a work-related injury, attained tenure despite an interruption in service. In Kowalsky v. State-Operated School District of the City of Newark, Essex County, a petitioner worked as a teacher for two months before he was severely beaten by a student in November, 2005. The authorized treating physician did not return him to work until October, 2006. The petitioner worked for 11 months and was again placed out of work for the 2006-2007, 2007-2008, and 2008-2009 school years. The petitioner returned to work on September 1, 2009. While he was out of work, he was provided full salary, health insurance, and pension contributions.

The petitioner worked for the 2009-2010 school year. During the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years, he was evaluated as a tenured teacher. On August 2, 2012, the petitioner received notice that his position was terminated due to his non-tenured status coupled with budgetary restraints.

The ALJ determined that the petitioner achieved tenured status and stated that he was an employee for three years and one day in a four year period because pension and other benefit contributions were continuously made on his behalf. The Commissioner rejected the ALJ’s determination and found that the petitioner had not achieved tenured status.

The Appellate Court reviewed the Tenure Act and noted that continuous employment exists notwithstanding the mere occasional absence of a teacher by reason of illness or excuse. In determining that the petitioner achieved tenured status, the Appellate Court considered the fact that the Board of Education evaluated the petitioner’s performance and provided full salary, health insurance, and pension contributions. The Appellate Court reinstated the ALJ’s determination that the District recognize the petitioner’s right to tenure and reinstate him retroactive to September 1, 2012, together with the salary and benefits owed to him, less monies earned during the period of unlawful termination.