Author Archives: Caroline J. Berdzik

Alternative Litigation Financing Sparks Malpractice Claim

A modern-day offshoot of the contingency fee arrangement is "alternative litigation financing." Also known as third-party litigation financing, A.L.F. is the practice of making cash advances, usually to a litigant, to be repaid from the proceeds from the litigation. There is plenty of room for debate the pros and cons of this developing trend. Supporters may argue that this practice allows an injured plaintiff to take an “advance” on an anticipated recovery to address financial hardship before reaching a settlement or verdict. This is particularly useful for injured plaintiffs who cannot return to work. But attorneys associated with litigation financing may be susceptible to claims when something goes awry.

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Workplace Bullying: More than a Dolphins’ Problem

Thanks to the developing news regarding the Miami Dolphins, workplace bullying has generated national attention. There has been considerable press of late concerning school bullying and its impact on children but it is now clearer than ever that in some environments, bullying can exist in the workplace and can cause serious damage to professionals and their employers.

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Employee Fired for “Private” Facebook Post

Plaintiff Deborah Ehling thought she could comment freely on Facebook because she limited her posts to a restricted group of her “friends” and her posts were not available to the general public. She was wrong. When her employer learned of her controversial posts and terminated her, she thought she had recourse. She was wrong. In an important ruling for employers, the District Court of New Jersey recently dismissed Ehling v. Monmouth-Ocean Hospital Service Corp., et al., (August 20, 2013). This case put to the test the Federal Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2701-11 (“SCA”) as applied to social media content in the workplace.

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JK Rowling’s Secret Revealed by her Attorney

A prominent British law firm recently admitted that it was responsible for leaking JK Rowling’s pen name in her new mystery novel. The venerable author of the Harry Potter series intended to wear an invisibility cloak of her own, releasing her latest work - the Cuckoo’s Calling - under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Rowling reportedly hoped to “publish without hype or expectation” that would accompany her true identity. But the anonymity did not last long thanks to her attorney’s blunder at a cocktail party.

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Anatomy of a Ponzi Scheme in a Post-Madoff World

The Ponzi scheme expired with the arrest of Bernie Madoff, right? Absolutely not. Ponzi schemes are alive and well. Many of these scams are reported but presumably many go unnoticed as criminals target the unsuspecting of millions. Apparently, Madoff’s 2008 arrest did little to dissuade others from engaging in similar crimes, although on a lesser scale. According to the SEC, which compiles Ponzi scheme data, these crimes continue at a disheartening rate.

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A Case Study for Employers on Whistleblower Laws

Whistleblower laws are generally designed to prohibit employers from taking retaliatory action against an employee because the employee engages in protected conduct. For example, an employer may not retaliate against an employee for disclosing the employer’s violation of laws or ethics, providing testimony about the employer, or refusing to engage in inappropriate conduct. In a recent decision, the New Jersey Superior Court considered whether an employee’s reliance upon a professional code of ethics not applicable to his employer is sufficient to support a claim under…

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The Yahoo! Decision: Telecommuting Issues Facing All Employers

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer recently made headlines for doing away with the company’s telecommuting policy and requiring all employees to report for work at their respective offices. Reportedly, Yahoo! was suffering from “productivity” issues with many of its employees who were working from home. While employee productivity is always of paramount importance to employers, telecommuting also poses a variety of legal risks that can similarly affect an employer’s bottom line. Some of the most common legal issues facing employers will be addressed here.

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