PRACTICE AREAS

The attorneys at Franzblau Dratch, P.C. are ready to assist you with all of your legal requirements. Our staff is well versed in the intricacies of the laws, judicial decisions and legal precedents. Our comprehensive range of services include, but are not limited to, the specialties below. Please contact us with any questions, our staff is standing by to assist you. Telephone: 973-992-3700.

Personal Injury

Personal Injury litigation of all forms represents a significant portion of the firm’s practice. This practice group includes litigators with broad litigation experience in the following areas:

Automobile Accidents

Uninsured Motorists

As auto insurance premiums increase, purchasers try to cut costs by changing insurers, upping deductibles, seeking discounts, and eliminating coverage options. One option no driver should eliminate is uninsured/ underinsured motorists coverage, or “UM/UIM.” Don’t sign UM/UIM waivers.

UM/UIM protects the insured against damages and injuries from accidents involving drivers who have no insurance or inadequate insurance. There are a lot of them, too. Experts estimate that, nationally, about 14 percent of all drivers have zero or marginal insurance. In some states, the numbers are much higher.

Getting into an accident with an uninsured driver can be a nightmare. Some accidents are caused by drivers who are at fault and flee the scene. Others don’t know that their lane changing may have caused a crash. Some large trucks drop debris on the road, causing vehicle accidents. In such cases, when the damaged vehicles or injured drivers or passengers have UM/UIM coverage, individuals are able to file claims and receive recoveries for their accidents.

Workplace/Construction Site Accidents

Premise Liability – Keeping Customers Safe

Business property owners and renters customarily have the responsibility to do all they can to make sure that customers invited to enter their properties are safe from a variety of dangers.

Laws usually require owners to fix dangerous conditions as soon as they find them. Further, retail establishments also must remain vigilant and anticipate dangers by monitoring their premises to identify and eliminate threats that customers might encounter.

Shopper trips on worker’s ladder

When a department-store maintenance employee quit a work site to answer a phone call, he left a ladder extending into an aisle. A shopper tripped on the ladder and severely injured her thumb and forefinger, rendering her unable to grasp anything or perform daily life functions. Her attorney sued for negligence, and a jury awarded significant damages for pain and suffering.

Slips and Falls

Tips If You Slip and Fall

Slips and falls can be funny in slapstick comedies when stunt specialists, protected with padding and knowing how to fall properly, take on-screen tumbles.

But in real life, slips and falls are a leading cause of serious injury. Even the smallest trip-up can result in a great deal of damage to ankles, legs, arms, hands, the back, or the head.

What causes falls? Among the many contributing factors are ice and snow, slippery materials on floors, stairs with faulty handrails, uneven concrete or slate sidewalks, improperly secured carpets or mats, and objects placed unsafely in people’s paths.

Anyone who has a slip-and-fall accident and experiences injury should try to do several things.

First, get immediate medical assistance. Second, ask for the names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses who saw the fall. Third, try to save any evidence related to the fall, such as a squashed piece of fruit and the shoes worn at the time. Fourth, contact legal counsel.

Carpet hides drain

A woman underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and missed several months of work after tripping and falling in a railway tunnel. Her attorney achieved a settlement for her with the owners of the railway station tunnel after demonstrating that they had negligently created a dangerous condition by installing carpeting that obscured the grate of a drain depression from her view.

Medical Malpractice

Vision Correction Eye Surgery

Who wants to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses if they don’t have to? It’s estimated that more than a million Americans elect to have laser vision-correction surgery performed annually.

Of those, approximately 50,000 patients suffer vision complications of some kind. Vision surgery centers qualify patients for treatment by screening candidates for age, general health, vision prescription stability, vision-health conditions, and eye abnormalities, any of which may affect treatment or healing. Screeners caution about the treatment’s risk.

Poor surgical candidate

Laser vision-correction surgery may entail risk from surgical, postoperative care, or healing complications. An investment banker suffered severe vision blurriness in both eyes as a result of laser eye treatment. He sued because his reduced vision forced him to accept lesser employment. A jury provided a significant award when the plaintiff’s attorney demonstrated that the patient’s pre-surgical screening included observation of eye abnormalities that contraindicated laser surgery, which the surgical center downplayed.

Product Liability

Automobiles

America’s product liability laws are a powerful warning to corporate wrongdoers that they cannot market and sell products that injure or kill consumers and expect to get away with it. Here is a brief case study of an automobile latch safety case in which a jury’s verdict held an automaker responsible for marketing a car with a known defective design.

The Accident
A six year old child suffered a fractured spine and paralysis when the rear seats in her mother’s 2000 Lincoln LS sedan collapsed forward during a rear-end collision. What Ford knew Ford Motor Company had known since 1993 that the latches, which permitted the Lincoln’s rear seats to fold down for extra space, had defective designs that permitted the seats to collapse. Ford changed the design for the 2001 model year, but never recalled the 2000 Sedan.

The Verdict
A jury awarded significant compensatory and punitive damages. The injured child uses a wheelchair and will need lifetime assistance to perform many living tasks.

General Litigation

Litigation of all forms represents a significant portion of the firm’s practice. This practice group includes litigators with broad litigation experience of state and national renown, including partners Chris Franzblau, Stephen Dratch and Julian Wilsey. Active in all forms of business and general litigation, the firm’s areas of specific expertise include corporate disputes, chancery matters, employment law, municipal law and administrative law, contested will and probate matters, construction disputes, products liability, professional malpractice claims, and other complex civil matters. The firm’s expertise also embraces the successful handling of all forms of significant tort litigation representing both plaintiffs and defendants. Our litigation group is sensitive to, and fully familiar with, alternate dispute resolution devices such as arbitration and mediation, particularly when these devices can be cost efficient for our clients.

The hallmark of our litigation group has been its aggressive, innovative approach to complex cases, for which we have earned statewide and national attention.

Although best known for our diversified litigation expertise, our primary focus is problem solving for our clients without litigation, where possible.

Whether the adverse party is an individual, business enterprise or a governmental entity, our sound counseling, based on wide experience in individual and business affairs, enables our clients to know when and how to negotiate, when to settle, and, only as a final resort, when to litigate.

Business Law

Franzblau Dratch’s business law group includes the traditional “corporate” and tax-related areas. Members of the firm bring a wealth of practical experience which cuts across traditional practice borders to solve our clients’ problems effectively.

Corporate

The corporate department represents corporations, partnerships and individuals conducting a broad spectrum of business activities. Our clients range from large corporate enterprises to smaller family owned and other privately held businesses. The corporate department regularly represents clients in merger and acquisition transactions, institutional financing, creditors’ rights, and other complex financial transactions. The corporate department also advises the firm’s clients on a broad range of business transactions, including the formation of joint ventures, the preparation of sales, marketing, distribution, employment and non-competition contracts, and the structuring of secured transactions. Additionally, we render advice to clients in their interaction with government agencies and in their compliance with the statutory and regulatory requirements of federal, state, and other regulatory agencies, including providing practical suggestions for the resolution of their business problems.

Banking and Transactional Law

Franzblau Dratch represents institutional and private lenders in secured and unsecured loan transactions of every description, including asset-based lending, extension of lines of credit, term loans, loan restructuring, commercial and residential mortgage loan transactions, and financing condominium and commercial real estate projects. In conjunction with our other practice areas, we have broad experience handling loan disputes, loan defaults, workouts, mortgage foreclosures, collections and insolvency-related matters representing lenders as well as borrowers.

Taxation

The constant monitoring and analysis of the evolving statutory, regulatory and case law in all areas of federal and state taxation enable our tax department to continually develop creative solutions to a multitude of tax problems faced by our clients in today’s complex tax environment. Our tax practice includes: submitting requests for Internal Revenue Service rulings; research relating to individual, general corporate, and partnership tax matters; tax planning for and structuring of business transactions involving mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations, liquidations, and recapitalization; review or establishment of pension and profit-sharing plans, deferred compensation arrangements, and employee stock option plans; determinations as to the choice of appropriate tax entity; the drafting of special tax provisions required in real estate partnership or like-kind exchange transactions; and preparation of tax opinion letters for private placement memoranda. We also represent taxpayers in the negotiation of settlements of tax controversies before the Internal Revenue Service and state taxing agencies, in addition to representing them in tax litigation before the United States and New Jersey Tax Court.

General Corporate Counseling

We offer experienced general counseling from partners with extensive experience serving corporations from both inside and outside such companies whose diverse business activities include manufacturing, distribution, financial services, publishing, computer science, insurance, food packaging, pharmaceutical, entertainment, personnel placement, accounting, security, construction, demolition, material recycling, leasing, and communications. We have considerable experience in coordinating our representation and advice with a client’s in-house legal staff. In a unique application of the firm’s diversified talent, the firm conducts internal investigations for clients confronting possible regulatory or punitive exposure and then provides counsel as to a course of conduct best calculated to minimize such exposure.

Real Estate

The Real Estate group includes within its practice all aspects of real estate and related environmental concerns including the purchase, sale, financing and refinancing of all types of properties, commercial leasing, syndication, shopping center development, tax appeals, land development, the establishment of cooperative and condominium ownership of properties, and planning and zoning applications.

Trusts and Wills

The trusts and estates department performs a broad spectrum of services in the areas of income, gift, generation-skipping transfers, and estate planning and administration.

These services include designing, drafting and implementing estate plans requiring complex wills, living wills, durable powers of attorney, private annuity arrangements, foundation documents, and various inter vivos trust agreements, all of which are comprehensive enough to fit the most technical and specialized situations, including providing for the orderly transfer, continuation, and reorganization of business interests.

The department also has expertise in estate planning for special family situations involving infants, incompetents and senior citizens. In particular, this includes experience in connection with qualification for Medicaid and other governmental assistance programs in the emerging field of elder-care law, and the appointment of guardians or conservators.

Matrimonial and Family

Family Law is an area of the law that deals with family-related issues and domestic relations including: the nature of marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships; issues arising throughout marriage, including spousal abuse, legitimacy, adoption, surrogacy, child abuse, and child abduction the termination of the relationship and ancillary matters including divorce, annulment, property settlements, alimony, and parental responsibility orders (child custody and visitation, child support and alimony awards).

The matrimonial and family law group, represented by recognized authority Chris Franzblau, expertly represent clients in matters involving all aspects of separation and divorce, including property settlement, custody disputes, and negotiation of pre-nuptial and separation agreements.

In consultation with the firm’s tax and trust experts, we provide sophisticated tax analysis to matrimonial and family clients at every stage, from pre-nuptial planning to proposed settlements of disputed matters.

Prison Inquiry

Our skills in matters of Prisoner’s Rights have been developed and honed over many years of experience. As a result of this experience as well as the genuine care we afford our clients and the deprivations of their rights, we have enjoyed much success in the area of prisoner law.

Our services include, but are not limited to:

Administrative appeals from denials of parole or temporary work release
Article 78 petitions from denials of parole or work release
Counseling regarding submission of documentary packages in support of future parole applications or work release
Direct appeals to the Appellate Divisions seeking to overturn from judgments of convictions and unfair sentences
Court of claims suits seeking compensation for personal injuries (Subject to the Provisions discussed below)
42 U.S.C. Section 1983 federal lawsuits seeking compensation for injuries sustained as a result of the violation of prisoner’s Constitutional rights
Error Coram Nobis Motions – Challenging ineffective assistance of appellate counsel
Detainer/ Multi-State pending criminal proceedings
Petitions for Clemency – Appeals for Leniency to the Governor’s Office
Appellate Division Application Rule 3:20
PCR Motions Challenging the Legality of Convictions and Sentences

THE IMPORTANCE OF COUNSEL

Perhaps the most important element enhancing an inmate’s probability of succeeding is that he or she be represented by counsel. To an overwhelming extent, our courts provide significantly more serious consideration to the petitions presented by inmates who are represented by counsel. The petitions instituted by those inmates not represented by an attorney generally get much less consideration. Of equal importance, aside from the quality of the petition presented by counsel, is the fact that many judges only afford oral argument to those petitions where inmates are represented by counsel. These oral arguments often have a profound affect on the ultimate outcome of the proceeding.

EXPLANATION OF SERVICES

– Preparation Of Administrative Appeals From Parole And Temporary Release Program Denials – Unlike most of the boiler plate submissions made by or on behalf of inmates who have been denied temporary work release or parole, we carefully tailor each appeal to the individual circumstances of each inmate’s case. In that fashion, we are able to immeasurably increase the chance for a successful outcome as well as making certain that all relevant issues are preserved for subsequent Article 78 Petition challenges and appellate appeals.

– Counseling Services That Permit The Submission Of Optimal Parole And Temporary Release Documentary Packages In Support Of Temporary Release Applications And Parole Hearings – We provide guidance and assistance in the preparation of letters and other documents that will support and enhance an inmate’s chance for success both at their Temporary Release and Parole hearings.

– Article 78 Petitions challenging temporary and parole release denials – Recent decisions from the State’s Supreme Courts and Appellate Divisions have resulted in an increasing number of parole denial annulments and the concomitant granting of de novo hearings. With increasing frequency, inmates are being released at these re-hearings and where again denied are achieving some measured success on subsequent Appellate Division appeals. A clear trend now exists whereby courts are more receptive to reviewing and reversing parole release denials. Recent developments, in large part responsible for this recent trend, is that the courts, particularly in the First and Second Departments, have with increasing frequency allowed venue to be laid in the county where the crime was committed. As a result, no longer can the Parole Board rely on Article 78 Petitions being heard in either Albany County (principal office of the Parole Board) or in some western or upstate region of the State (facility location) where predetermined proclivities toward denial of parole is an almost foregone conclusion.

– CPL 440.10 & 440.20 Motions Challenging The Legality Of Convictions And Sentences – Article 440 motions challenge the legality o a conviction or sentence. That is, if the conviction or sentence was imposed improperly (not following legal standard), then the conviction or sentence may be thrown out. If the Article 440 motion is successful, a new trial or a new sentence will be received.

– Habeas Corpus Proceedings Challenging Convictions And Sentences Obtained In Violation Of An Inmate’s Constitutional Rights – A petition for habeas corpus is a post-conviction proceeding in which the courts will consider whether the government violated an inmate’s federal rights during the direct review of his/her case. It is considered a “collateral” (indirect) attack on the conviction, as opposed to a direct appeal, which focuses on the trial record itself. Claims raised in a habeas petition are claims that are not apparent from reading the record- other facts are needed to prove the claim. As part of direct review, an inmate has the constitutional right to a trial and appeal. A habeas petition is an alternative argument seeking an inmate’s release because of violations of his/her federal rights, and not necessarily based upon innocence. There is not automatic right to habeas review. A petition for such review is required. If the court agrees that the conviction or sentence violates the federal constitution, a federal law, or treaty, it can order a re-sentencing, a new trial, or immediate release.

– Court Of Claims Suits Seeking Compensation For Personal Injuries – these claims are for injuries sustained as a result of (1) excessive force by correctional officers or (2) or a correctional facilities negligence in (i) properly protecting inmates from injuries by other inmates (ii) providing adequate medical care (medical negligence) or (iii) adequately and properly maintaining its premises.

– 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 Federal Lawsuits Seeking Compensation For Injuries Sustained As A Result Of The Violation Of Prisoner’s Constitutional Rights -these lawsuits relate to seeking redress for the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws. This law makes liable every person who under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia , subjects, or causes to be subjected any person who is a citizen of the Untied States, inclusive of incarcerated inmates, to injury occasioned by any such deprivation. These suits include injuries occasioned by, amongst other modalities, (i) assault (ii) prison conditions and (iii) health issues in adequate medical care.

– Appellate Division Application – Application to the Appellate Division challenging parole release denials as being arbitrary and/or in contravention of existing administrative rules and regulations and of the law. Direct appeals seeking to overturn convictions and illegal sentences.

– Rule 3:20 PCR Motions Challenging the Legality of Convictions and Sentences – Rule 3:20 PCR motions challenging the legality of a conviction or sentence. That is, if the conviction or sentence was imposed improperly (not following legal 3:20 standard), then the conviction or sentence may be thrown out. If the motions are successful, a new trial or a new sentence will be received.

– Detainer/Multi-State pending criminal proceedings – If you have a detainer lodged against you, from another state or from the United States government, we might be able to assist you in resolving or removing said detainer.

– Error Coram Nobis Motions – Challenging ineffective assistance of prior counsel.

– Petitions for Clemency – Appeals for leniency to the Governor’s Office.

Our fee for litigating claims for monetary compensation in the Court of Claims or in the Federal Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 is contingent upon the success of the case. In most circumstances such fees are equivalent to 1/3 of the monies recovered.

Two Convenient Locations

NEW JERSEY OFFICE
354 Eisenhower Parkway
Plaza One
P.O. Box 472
Livingston, New Jersey 07039
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Telephone: (973) 992-3700
Fax: (973) 992-7945
Fax: (973) 994-0130

NEW YORK OFFICE
233 Broadway
Suite 1800
New York, NY 10279
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Telephone: (212) 571-1808
Fax: (973) 992-7945

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