Yolanda Melville among the graduates of the NAACP NextGen program to be recognized at 110th annual convention

BALTIMORE (July 11, 2019) The NAACP will recognize 68 Graduates from the inaugural 2018 NAACP Next Generation (NextGen) Young Professional Leadership Program during a graduation ceremony and reception at the NAACP 110th National Convention in Detroit, MI on Tuesday, July 23, from 5:00 pm to 7:00. The graduation ceremony will feature the pronouncement of the 2018 NEXTGEN class, highlight the social justice work of the graduates, and award graduation certificates by NAACP National Leaders. Rev. Dr. William Barber, II, member of the NAACP National Board of Directors and architect of the Moral Monday’s Movement, will offer the keynote address to the graduating class.

NextGen is a 12-month leadership development training program for young adults between the ages of 21 and 35 to develop civil rights competencies and leadership skills necessary to be active and effective social justice advocates. The NextGen program features a series of webinar & classroom trainings, case studies, and group exercises. The NextGen curriculum encompasses leadership development, legislative action, unit administration, communications, fundraising, budgeting, intergenerational relations, ethics in leadership, advocacy, and program planning consistent with NAACP strategic plan: Game Changers for the 21st Century.

The inaugural class launched in January 2018 and concluded in December of the same year with a total of 68 graduates. The ceremony will also recognize six Scholars of Excellence, which are 2018 participants that will continue in 2019 to complete the curriculum.

NEXTGEN Graduates are actively involved in their local Branches as subscribing life members of the NAACP, elected officers and executive committee members.  They have recruited hundreds of new members, developed voter action plans for their local communities and have become actively engaged on a wide range of social justice issues. The 2018 graduating class includes NAACP leaders from 29 different states.

To learn more about the 2018 NEXTGEN Graduates, visit here: NEXTGEN Leaders.

Graduates of the NAACP NextGen Program to be Recognized at 110th Annual Convention

 

Cooper Levenson Welcomes Young Yoon, Esquire to the Firm

Cooper Levenson is pleased to announce that Young Yoon has joined the firm. Yoonwill work in the firm’s Cherry Hill office, in the Defense Litigation Practice Group.

Yoon has significant experience with auto property damage lawsuits through trial or settlement. Young’s background also includes residential and commercial real estate transactional work.

While in law school, Yoon worked with the Community Health Law Project in Collingswood, where he handled matters involving developmentally disabled clients and tenant rights with regard to housing habitability. He also interned with the office of New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, where he worked on mortgage modification issues for constituents and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants.

We are very happy to welcome Young to the Cooper Levenson team. His background will be a great fit for our Defense Litigation Practice Group,” said Kenneth J. Calemmo, chief operating officer of Cooper Levenson.

Yoon is admitted to the District Court of New Jersey and the Southern District of New York. He is fluent in Korean. Young  is a member of the South Jersey Korean-American Association.

Young graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and from Rutgers School of Law with a Juris Doctor.

Cooper Levenson is a full service law firm since 1957, with 65 attorneys and offices in New Jersey, Delaware, Florida, Nevada, and New York.  For  more information, visit www.cooperlevenson.com.

Cooper Levenson Tax Group Conducts New Jersey Society of CPAs Breakfast Seminar

Understanding the Bankruptcy process.
Presented by: Eric A. Browndorf, Esq.

The Essentials of Asset Protection Planning for CPAs
Presented by:  Michael L. Salad, Esq., LL.M.

New Jersey’s New Sick Leave Law: What CPAs Need to Know
Presented by: Amy E. Rudley, Esq. 

Recent IRS Rulings and Pronouncements from the United States and New Jersey Tax Courts, as well as Legislative and Regulatory Changes in the Tax Law
Presented by:  Robert E. Salad, Esq., LL.M.

Linwood Country Club
500 Shore Road
Linwood, NJ 08221
Breakfast & Registration 7:30 a.m.

Seminar 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

REGISTER HERE

or call 973.226.4494

Minimum Wage Increase Uniquely Impacts Restaurant Employers

by: Amy E. Rudley, Esq.

Your company has likely received numerous e-mails and notifications set out to remind you that effective July 1, 2019, minimum wage in New Jersey has increased to $10.00 per hour.  However, the impact that this increase has, and that future increases will have on employers of tipped staff has not been adequately addressed in the mainstream discussions of the change.

For tipped employees, the July 1, 2019 increase brings the employee’s required base pay to $2.63 and increases the amount of the available tip credit to $7.27.  This cash base pay and the tip credit, when added together, equal the State’s regular minimum wage.  Along with the minimum wage, the wages for tipped employees are set to increase at regular intervals through January 1, 2024, when the regular minimum wage will be $15.00, the required cash wage will be $5.13, and the allowable tip credit will be $9.87.

The trouble for employers is here.  One requirement of the Fair Labor Standards Act [FLSA] is that the tip credit “claimed by the employer cannot exceed the amount of tips actually received by the tipped employee.”  Many businesses have had difficulty with insufficient tips in their “off season” or on “slow shifts.”  The result of such a situation is that their tipped staff is not receiving sufficient tips to cover the full amount of the tip credit claimed by the employer.  This means that the employee is not being paid the mandated minimum wage.  The FLSA requires that the cash wage paid to an employee and their tips, when combined, equal at least as much as the State’s minimum wage.  While this was sometimes an issue when the tip credit was a mere $6.72, in less than five years, the amount of the available tip credit will increase significantly to $9.89 per hour.  We expect a substantial uptick in those employees who claim that their tips received are not sufficient to cover the tip credit claimed.  Accordingly, businesses who do not track their employee’s tips must keep a careful watch on their total sales to ensure that sufficient tips are likely being earned.

If a tipped employee’s tips are not sufficient to cover the amount of the tip credit, the violation is the loss of the entire tip credit for the period in question.  Often lawsuits for such violations are brought by numerous employees together.  For chain restaurants or larger independent operations, the damages could quickly multiply and become insurmountable.  In addition to the lost wages, impacted employees would also be entitled to the payment of their own attorney’s fees for bringing the action against your company.

Cooper Levenson’s Employment Department has the restaurant and hospitality experience to help defend your company in such litigated matters and, better yet, can help prevent them from occurring through proper planning and consultation.

Can a Family Court Compel You to Vaccinate Your Child?

Largely eradicated illnesses have been making a comeback, like the recent measles outbreak in four New Jersey counties and in other States. Many blame the resurgence of these illnesses on so-called “anti-vaxxers” who choose not to vaccinate their children. Generally, New Jersey law provides protection for parents who, based on religious or medical reasons, choose not to vaccinate because parents have a fundamental Constitutional right to parent their children.

However, on June 10, 2019, the New Jersey Appellate Division in New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency v. J.B. and C.R. (“J.B. and C.R.”), made clear that a parent’s choice not to vaccinate is not absolute. Of course, as with many judicial decisions, this case begs as many questions as it answers.

In J.B. and C.R., the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (“DCPP”—formerly DFYS) had care and custody of two children who had been removed from their parents. The Mother had objected to DCPP having the children vaccinated on grounds of “the Bible and the First Amendment” and “DNA and foreign protein in vaccines which are not healthy.”

After a hearing, including expert testimony from the children’s Board certified pediatrician, the trial court decided that DCPP could have the children vaccinated over the Mother’s objection. The New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed, noting that since a court can order necessary and appropriate medical care for an ill or injured child, that logic would extend to medical care to prevent illnesses. In its final paragraph, the Appellate Division stated: “[a] court of competent jurisdiction has the authority…to order necessary and appropriate medical care for an ill or injured child over the objection of the child’s parents…[w]e perceive no meaningful distinction between the power to order prophylactic medical care in the form of vaccinations…and medical treatment for diseases already contracted. Indeed, the child’s best interests are better served by preventing rather than treating disease.”

Despite the Court’s ruling, New Jersey Courts do not have carte blanche to order unvaccinated children vaccinated. For example, religious and medical exemptions still exist for parents who do not want to vaccinate their children but nonetheless send them to public school.

The circumstances surrounding J.B. and C.R. case involved DCPP, which had care and custody of the children, and that fact was a significant consideration in the Court’s decision. The real question now is how will family courts apply this decision in “normal cases” with typical custody disputes. The case will no doubt have far reaching consequences or benefits—depending on your view—beyond the DCPP sphere. Take for example two divorcing parents, one who wants a child vaccinated and the other who does not. If the matter is brought before a court and a Judge is called to rule, after a hearing with expert testimony from a physician, I see no reason a court could not rely on the decision in J.B. and C.R. to rule in favor of the pro-vaccine parent.

Our Partner Rona Kaplan honored at United Way Power of the Purse event

Today, Thursday, June 6, for the 2019 Women United Power of the Purse event, keynote speaker Cecilia Zalkind, President and Chief Executive Officer of Advocates for Children of New Jersey, led a discussion on the power of philanthropy in early childhood education, as well as the presentation of the Power of the Purse Award.

The Power of the Purse Award celebrates the positive impact women make on our community and recognizes the outstanding contributions of women leaders who are dedicated to changing the lives of others. This year, Women United is pleased to honor three exceptional leaders, advocates and philanthropists whose professional and personal accomplishments have made a positive impact across our footprint.

Atlantic County Honoree
Rona Z. Kaplan
Partner, Cooper Levenson

Cape May County Honoree
E. Marie Hayes
Freeholder, Cape May County

Cumberland County Honoree
Shelly O. Schneider, Ed.D.
Interim President, Cumberland County College

As appeared on

Women United Power of the Purse

Alabama’s Poarch Band of Creek Indians Adds $1.3B Property to Gaming Operations

“Cooper Levenson P.A. is legal counsel to Wind Creek Hospitality in connection with the transaction.”
This release originally appeared on https://windcreekhospitality.com/media-room/full-story/06-01-sands-bethlehem-full-story

ATMORE, Ala., June 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — PCI Gaming Authority D/B/A Wind Creek Hospitality (WCH), an authority of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, has finalized the purchase of the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for a total enterprise value of $1.3 billion. The property will be rebranded as Wind Creek Bethlehem (WCB).

WCB will welcome guests to the upscale, Las Vegas-style resort, located in the heart of the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, approximately 80 miles from New York City. Amenities currently include a 282-room AAA four diamond hotel, a 183,000 square foot casino floor featuring 3,000 slots and electronic table games, 200 table games, numerous food and beverage outlets, a 150,000 square foot retail mall, and a multi-purpose event center.

Over time, WCH plans to invest an estimated $340 million in updating and expanding the property to include construction of a 300-room hotel adjacent to the casino; a 300,000 square foot adventure and water park at the existing No. 2 Machine Shop Bethlehem Steel site; and a 400-to-450-room hotel adjacent to the adventure park. All expected to bring additional jobs, tourism and economic growth to Lehigh Valley.

WCH President/CEO, James Dorris commented “One of the things that drew us to this property is the quality and experience of the service-minded employees. Each of the nine executives has accepted a multi-year contract with us and we hope that all team members want to continue their work here as part of the Wind Creek family. We will need them as we grow the offerings at Wind Creek Bethlehem.”

The purchase of its largest property to date provides a significant opportunity for WCH to diversify its holdings as well and to offer the Wind Creek Rewards program and online WindCreekCasino.com to millions of new customers. Travel perks offered by the Wind Creek Rewards program to some of the most alluring resorts in the Caribbean: Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino and Renaissance Curacao Resort and Casino, both owned by WCH, are expected to be particularly appealing escapes for WCB customers during the cold winter months

Wind Creek Hospitality funded the acquisition with a combination of existing cash on its balance sheet and new debt financing. Credit Suisse has provided financing for the transaction. Wind Creek Hospitality anticipates that the additional cash flow resulting from the acquisition will allow it to pay down debt on an accelerated basis after closing. Innovation Capital, LLC is exclusive financial advisor and Cooper Levenson P.A. is legal counsel to Wind Creek Hospitality in connection with the transaction.

About Wind Creek Hospitality? – Wind Creek Hospitality is an authority of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Wind Creek Hospitality manages the Tribe’s gaming facilities including: Wind Creek Atmore, Wind Creek Wetumpka, Wind Creek Montgomery, Wa She Shu Casino in Nevada, Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino as well as racetracks in Alabama and Florida. For more information, visit: https://windcreekhospitality.com/.

About the Poarch Band of Creek Indians? – The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is the only federally recognized Indian Tribe in the state of Alabama, operating as a sovereign nation with its own system of government and bylaws. The Tribe operates a variety of economic enterprises, which employ thousands of area residents. For more information, visit: www.pci-nsn.gov.

https://windcreekhospitality.com/media-room/full-story/06-01-sands-bethlehem-full-story

 

 

Cooper Levenson opens New York City Office

Joseph C. Mahon to head new office

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Cooper Levenson is pleased to announce the law firm’s expansion into New York. Joseph C. Mahon, Esq., LL.M., a partner of the firm formerly, will return and assume the role of lead attorney for the firm’s New York City office.

Cooper Levenson, founded in 1957 in Atlantic City, N.J. with 2 attorneys, has expanded to 65 attorneys and offices in New Jersey, Delaware, Florida, Nevada – and now New York. The firm, which has become known as one of the premier gaming, casino, and iGaming law firms in the country, has also built a reputation as a full-service law firm serving businesses and individuals, from tax and business law to estate planning and administration, litigation, labor and employment law, health care law, maritime law, cannabis law, land use, zoning and planning, real estate law, education law, and more.

“Having a physical location in New York City will enable us to better service our present and future national and international clients,” said Lloyd D. Levenson, Chief Executive Officer.

The new office will be located at 45 Rockefeller Plaza, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10111. The phone number is 212-372-7400.

In his new role, Mahon will continue his work of more than 25 years, advising executives, business owners and high net worth clients on a range of issues, including: Estate Planning;Estate, Gift and Income Tax Planning, Generation Skipping Transfer Tax Planning, State Death Taxes, Family Governance, Liquidity Events, Business Succession, Lifetime Gifts, including Valuation Discounts, Grantor Trusts, Dynasty Trusts, Family Limited Partnerships, Intra-Family Loans, Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts, Private Annuities, Qualified Personal Residence Trusts, Crummey Trusts, Trust Terminations, Trustee Succession, Trust Protectors, Pre-Nuptial Agreements, Powers of Attorney, and Health Care Proxies. Mahon also regularly advises clients on trust and estate litigation and dispute resolution, including contested guardianships, and on tax and other issues unique to non-U.S. persons and assets.

A graduate of Rutgers University School of Law – Newark with a Juris Doctor and New York University School of Law with an LL.M. in Taxation, Mahon has been named to the Super Lawyers list in New York from 2012 – 2019 in the areas of estate planning and probate. He was also named to Best Lawyers in America 2017 – 2019.

Cooper Levenson is a full service law firm since 1957, with offices in New Jersey, Delaware, Florida, Nevada, and New York.

11 Signs of Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse

By Randolph C. Lafferty and Bard L. Shober

What can we do to keep our family members safe and well-cared for?  How can we tell if nursing home patients are being treated properly?

Ideally, a family member or friend would spend extended time each day with a loved one in a nursing facility to make certain they get everything they need and deserve.  However, for most people, that is simply not an option.

The first four signs of nursing home abuse and neglect are fairly easy to recognize:

  • Inadequately explained bruises or fractures,
  • New skin breakdown – pressure ulcers / bed sores
  • Frequent falls, and
  • Rapid weight loss (a sign of malnutrition).

Other signs can be more subtle:

  • Changes in consciousness and mental status,
  • Changes in sociability, and
  • Avoidance or fear of nursing staff.

One of the best ways to make sure your parent or loved one’s nursing home is providing acceptable care is to keep in contact with the nursing staff and your loved one on a regular basis, and to be vigilant in looking for signs of abuse and neglect.  Other signs to be aware of include:

  • Infections
  • Instances of wandering or elopement,
  • Unsanitary or unclean conditions, and
  • Unusual or sudden changes in behavior.

How to Improve the Plight of the Truck Driver

by Saleel V. Sabnis, Esq.

The trucking industry is the heart of the U.S. economy. Nearly 71% of all the freight tonnage moved in the U.S. is on trucks. Without the industry, the economy would come to a standstill. According to the American Transportation Association, to move 10.5 billion tons of freight annually requires over 3.5 million truck drivers. Simply stated, the growth of this country’s economy is severely stunted without the trucking industry and able drivers.

Yet, one must consider the plight of this country’s truck driver. There has been a recent dip in those entering (or staying) in the profession which may be predictable upon closer scrutiny. Drivers spend weeks away from home essentially in solitude. Driver health has become an increasing concern due to long hours sitting and the lack of healthy food choices on the road. And then there is compensation. According to government data, the 1.7 million tractor-trailer truck drivers in the United States earned an average of $44,500 in 2018. Many truck drivers are paid on a per-mile basis, which means that some of them earn less than the federal minimum wage. Over the past several decades, driver pay has fallen dramatically when adjusted for inflation. The drop in salary is coupled with longer hours — as much as 80 hours are common some studies suggest— because drivers spend many more “non-driving” or “off-duty” hours than they used to at customer locations waiting to pick up cargo and make deliveries which is uncompensated time.

Indeed, drivers who work as employees of behemoth companies make a middle-class income and have better hours. But those drivers are not representative of the hundreds of thousands of other drivers who are struggling. Because driver pay is low, trucking companies have, according to some research, a turnover rate as high as 95 percent. Lobbyists for the industry are taking another route to enlarge the applicant pool by pushing the Trump administration to lower the minimum age for commercial driver’s licenses to 18 from 21 despite a strong correlation between younger drivers and accident rates.  Not surprisingly for the past several years, the trucking industry has openly declared that it can’t find enough drivers to fill existing positions (a shortage of approximately 50,000 drivers which could inflate to six figures within the next decade).

The remedy to these ills cannot be effectuated overnight. However, there are baby steps which can be taken to improve the lives and incomes of this country’s valued truck drivers. The government should require that trucking companies and freight customers compensate drivers for every hour of work, including non-driving tasks or otherwise come up with a scheme where drivers are entitled to earn minimum wage and overtime for all of their “road” hours regarding of the actual “driving time.” Of course, increased pay is central but coupling pay with a benefits package is equally prudent. An employer can discourage driver turnover by offering graduated incentives so that the longer a truck driver stays with the company, the better their benefits. Instituting career advancement or professional development programs is another to way to keep drivers happy. Handing out promotions or job title changes can have a strong effect as drivers want to feel as if they are moving up through the company. To effectively address the driver shortage, trucking companies should look for ways to entice more women, minorities, and veterans. Minorities and women are an underrepresented group within the trucking industry. Veterans are particularly important as many are looking to transition into new careers.

And then there is the general branding of the industry as a whole. Operations managers or safety directors should utilize a more strategic approach in using social media for driver recruitment. Posting driver positions on social media channels may seem obvious in 2019 but trucking companies should not only use social media to recruit drivers; they use social channels to share information on their company culture as well and express who they are as a company to potential drivers via current employee testimonials and company mission statements.

For all the talk that self-driving trucks one day might render these issues moot, the reality is that truck drivers are not going away anytime soon. Just look around you. Everything you see has probably seen the inside of a truck in some form. It’s time that we take care of our valued truck drivers.