From the NJSBA’s Daily Briefing:

Starting July 11, all tort and contract claims filed against the state of New Jersey must be submitted through a digital portal on the state’s website. The new process is required for claims involving all state departments, agencies, employees and officials, including state colleges and universities except for Rutgers University. Learn more about the procedure here.

Written by Theodore M. David, Chair, Tax Law Committee

Current Items:

1) CLE Sting?
2) Tax by the Numbers

1) Scott Joplin was born November 24, 1860, in Linden, Texas, and died on April 1, 1917, at age 48, in New York City. He was the son of a slave. He is remembered as an American composer and pianist. He was called the “King of Ragtime” and composed more than 40 ragtime pieces, one ballet and two operas. One of his first and most famous written in 1899 was called the Maple Leaf Rag. Joplin considered Ragtime to be a form of classical music meant to be played in concert halls, but it found its way to honky tonks and smoky bars as well.

Some say his death in 1917 marked the end of the ragtime era. If I could hum a few bars of the Maple Leaf Rag to you right now you would immediately recognize it unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 50 or 60 years. Many people rediscovered Joplin’s music in the early 1970s when Robert Redford and Paul Newman starred in a classic “revenge” movie called “The Sting”. Now, I am sure lawyers who are reading this get daily notices of CLE seminars on every imaginable topic. I saw one the other day on dog law.

But I suggest that you put this bulletin down right at this moment, stop reading, and watch The Sting. This is especially true if you happen to be involved in criminal defense work. More so if you are advising a certain person about a sentencing to occur on July 11, 2024. The movie is set in 1936. Redford and Newman are professional grifters. They are looking to revenge a mob killing of a friend. The movie was inspired by the true life brothers Fred and Charlie Gondorff and the 1940s book called “The Big Con.” In the movie, an elaborate plot is contrived to fool Robert Shaw as Doyle Lonnegan, the mobster; yes, Shaw is the same guy from “Jaws” who didn’t do well there either. Very cautiously, Newman, as the older and wiser Henry Gondorff, councils Robert Redford, the young Johnny Hooker, that they must take their time in erecting an elaborate horse racing betting parlor.

Throughout the movie, Scott Joplin’s masterpieces are played in the background, including the Entertainer, which became a worldwide sensation. That’s another one you will know instantly from the first two notes. As the plot unwinds Redford gets more impatient all the time. Near busting, he turns to Newman and utters these words: “Why are we waiting? Those guys are not that smart,” referring to Shaw and his henchmen. Newman responds with the blockbuster: “Neither are we”.

This year, July 4 and July 11 are days that will be remembered. One will celebrate the birth of the United States, and the other the sentencing of a felon who used to be president of the United States. I’m not taking sides here, but from my work in criminal tax cases, after a conviction, the defendant has to take responsibility for his actions and show some remorse. Promising revenge, unless you happen to be Robert Redford or Paul Newman, will not work. Defense lawyers must get control of their clients. People do tend to make up stories that they may eventually actually believe. Others care little for the truth and deserve all that comes their way. Newman taught Redford to never insult the opposition, their intelligence or preparation, and to never refer to them as “thugs”.

The Sting was nominated for 10 and won 7 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. In 2005, the movie was preserved in the United States National Film Registry, being culturally historic and significant. In 1976, Scott Joplin was awarded a Pulitzer Prize posthumously for his ragtime compositions. The Sting should be allowed as CLE credit for lawyers as well.

2) To legitimize this bulletin as tax-related, I note the Social Security annual wage base for 2024 is $168,600. That’s an $8400 increase. The Social Security tax rate on employers and employees remains at 6.2%, and both pay the 1.45% Medicare tax on all compensation with no upper limit. The standard deduction for married couples is $29,200 and single taxpayers $14,600. The tax rates remain unchanged, but the brackets themselves are wider for 2024 due to inflation during the 2023 fiscal year. There, done. Now go watch the Sting.

Questions or Comments should be sent to: Theodore M. David, Chairman at

Please be advised that the BCBA has joined the NJSBA and several other local and affinity bar associations in a Petition for Review of Opinion 745 of the Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics. That opinion addressed the long-standing practices of trial attorneys who are certified pursuant to Court Rule 1:39, et seq. Specifically, the Opinion provided that New Jersey-certified attorneys could not pay referral fees to out-of-state attorneys who referred cases for their specific area of expertise. We will keep our members notified of the status of this Petition.

BCBA Past President Michael J. Epstein is representing the BCBA in the matter.

nj referral fees ethics opinion 3.7.24 advisory out of state attys (002)

Dear Members,

The Bergen County Bar Association leadership meets with the Bergen County Assignment Judge bi-monthly to discuss issues of mutual interest to the judiciary and our membership. If matters of general importance should be raised at our next meeting, please email the BCBA.

This is a summary of the June 4, 2024, meeting with the Hon. Carol Novey Catuogno, AJSC:

Court-Appointed Assignments – The New Jersey Judiciary has opportunities for court-appointed attorneys to assist in Guardianships and Condemnations. Also, the Court is seeking the assistance of attorneys who are willing to serve as Attorney-Trustees in the case of an attorney’s death, disbarment, or suspension. Many of these appointments are compensated assignments, and anyone interested should contact the Assignment Judge in writing and with a copy of an updated CV.

Judiciary Wi-Fi- The Judiciary is changing the Wi-Fi system and upgrading the connection in the Courthouse. The new system will not require the attorneys to sign in with their attorney IDs to be connected.

Division Information The Family Division will have several upcoming dates specifically designated for settlement/resolution purposes. There will be an FM Blitz and an FD Blitz.

The Criminal Division will have a settlement Blitz on June 18, 2024, and September 10, 2024. A Supervisor from the prosecutor’s office will be available to facilitate plea negotiations.

Civil Division will have “Carrier days” as follows:

6/3 – 6/5            Backlog Carrier Days                  Judge Padovano
6/5                      Travelers Carrier Days                Judge O’Dwyer
6/19                    USAA Carrier Days                      Judge Nasta
6/26                    Geico Carrier Days                      Judge O’Dwyer

If any civil matters are settled, the attorneys should call the team leader and request an appearance to put a settlement through.

Francesca Clarke – New Team Leader (Team 3)

ADM Nick Verducci – Please refer all arbitration matters to Nick.

Remote court dates– Every division must work remotely one time per quarter.

  • The Family Division is June 20, 2024;
  • The Criminal Division is June 12, 2024, and
  • The Civil Division is June 28, 2024

Community Outreach – The Court is in the process of implementing a system to refer individuals with criminal charges and who are on Pre-trial Release monitoring to certain programs. These programs include housing, food stamps, drug and alcohol treatment, job programs, job fairs and education.

In-person Appearances– If attorneys prefer an in-person appearance for a particular case or court event, please contact the Judge’s chambers in advance.

Juneteenth -Juneteenth observation will be observed on June 21, 2024, and the courts will be closed. Motion day will be Thursday, June 20, 2024.

Jury Room – the new jury room is complete and will be in use shortly.

This memorandum is to serve as a basic refresher regarding Recovery Court. Recovery Court, which has been in existence for over 20 years, serves as a diversionary sentence for non-violent criminal offenders. The crimes do not have to necessarily involve controlled dangerous substances. Rather, the crimes must have been committed as the result of a person’s drug/alcohol addiction or in furtherance of a person’s addiction. Recovery Court targets offenders who would be most likely to benefit from treatment and who do not pose a risk to public safety. Should a defendant be offered an attractive plea deal, the question becomes whether the sentence would be the best recourse for a defendant with addiction issues. Read More

Effective June 1, 2024, the District Ethics Committee Secretary for the District IIA (Bergen County North) Ethics Committee is:

Joseph Maurice, Esq., Secretary
Cohn, Lifland, Pearlman, Herrman & Knopf, LLP
Park 80 West – Plaza One
250 Pehle Avenue, Suite 401
Saddle Brook, New Jersey 07663

/s/ Johanna Barba Jones, Director
Office of Attorney Ethics

Dated: May 22, 2024


Written by: Theodore M. David,
Chair Tax Law Committee

Current Items:

1) Inheritance Time Bombs
2) IRS Interest Rates
3) Everybody Gets One?

1. Boy, how things have changed. There was a time when I looked forward to getting the Journal of Taxation, Estate Planning and New Jersey and County Bar Journal magazines. I would read them cover to cover if for no reason other than to check to see whether or not a professional article of mine had been published. Some of them were kind enough to put your picture. Looking back at some of the esoteric topics I wonder if even tax lawyers ever got around to reading them. I made a habit of never rereading them myself. I would order reprints and send some to clients in another act of vanity. At least one of my earlier essays on the role of disclaimers in estate planning ended up being cited in New Jersey Statutes Annotated. I kept that particular volume in my office for years. My secretary kept track of all of those publications in folders that grew to overtake filing cabinets over my more than 40 years of practice. I can’t remember the last time I saw any of these magazines. I know the New Jersey Bar Journal still appears in my mailbox from time to time but the others seem to be long gone. All those professional magazines that I paid such attention to have been replaced by the AARP magazine. The latest addition has a fetching Brooke Shields on its cover with two articles of interest that I have in fact read. One is a lengthy discussion of how to live much longer. “Your Total Guide to Health Risks in your 70s.” If you are not quite there yet, it still has some pretty good advice: Eat well, exercise, have some decent relationships, lower your stress and visit a doctor from time to time. It reminded me of an article I did for the ALI – ABA Journal called “Can Lawyers Learn to be Happy.” The second got my attention immediately it was called “Inheritance Time Bombs, Six Ways to Avoid Family Feuds.” Now I didn’t write this nor am I cited so my picture is absent but it still may be the kind of thing you may want to consider sending to your clients or considering for yourself. So here they are: #1 The caregiver conundrum. Should you leave the house to the kid who moved home to be cook/chauffeur/ nurse’s aide/ therapist for the past decade? What about the other children? #2 False expectations. Your kids think you will be leaving them caviar and champagne but all they will be able to afford is barely pretzels and beer; #3 Trust issues. You want to leave money for all of your kids but are concerned about one of the youngest who has a fondness for blackjack tables and fast living; #4 The blended family problem. You want to leave your assets to your new spouse and children from a previous marriage not to your stepchildren. #5 A business problem. Only one child has been involved but you have two other kids. How can you create a plan to avoid the drama? #6 Skipping generations. Your kids seem capable and secure as adults so you decided to mostly bypass them and give to your grandkids instead. The author of the article is Laura Petrecca and she says older Americans hold nearly two thirds of the country’s wealth which is about $93 trillion in assets that could pass to younger generations. It’s time, she says, to work out your “battle plans” that can help you avert disaster. I’ll add that it may be time to hire an estate planning lawyer before the bombs start bursting in air. And to join AARP… it’s got some pretty good articles.

2. IRS has announced that interest rates will remain the same for the calendar quarter beginning July 1, 2024. For individuals the rate for overpayments and underpayments will remain at 8% per year, compounded daily.

3. My grandson loves to play soccer. I’ve watched him as a little boy run all over the field with boundless energy. Alex just turned 16 and is more serious about the game. But I remember fondly when he was perhaps five or six running in every direction at the same time. My son-in-law, God bless him, has been an organizer of teams, coach, assistant coach and a scout leader to boot. When the kids were done knocking themselves out one of the parents would bring muffins or cookies for all to share. When the season ended without any consideration to who had won how many games every player got a trophy. Russell made sure of that. Therapists these days say such affirmation is good for any kid’s ego. It helps them recognize that hard work pays off and can be rewarded. So coaches dig into their own pockets and use their imagination and Internet surfing ability to provide those prized trophies. The kids feel good, the parents are proud and the coaches enjoy every bit of it. I’ve been told over the years that once you work for IRS in any capacity you will always be treated as family. So it is with some dubious parental pride I am proud to report that the IRS has recently won a Certificate of Excellence and Accountability Award for the second year in a row. I don’t know whether they got a trophy but there was a ceremony held on May 16. The award is the highest form of recognition in the field of federal government financial management and performance reporting. I’m not sure exactly what that means but it sounds like it was trophy worthy to me.

Questions or Comments should be sent

The Judiciary Information Technology Office is upgrading the wireless infrastructure in all Superior Court courthouses. As part of this statewide project, we are discontinuing the wireless network (Wi-Fi) that attorneys have been using in courthouses (“NJ-Attorney”). Attorneys will instead now be able to use the same Judiciary wireless network that the public uses in each of the courthouses: “<county name> Judiciary PublicWifi”. Attorneys using this public Wi-Fi will no longer need to enter their User ID and password, though, however, like the Public, they must accept the End User Agreement to access the wireless network. This change will go into effect on Monday, June 3, 2024.


/s/ Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.
Acting Administrative Director of the Courts.


This Notice addresses defendants who have been charged on a Complaint-Warrant and are being committed to the Bergen County Jail for processing and to appear at Central Judicial Processing Court.

Effective immediately, the new cutoff time for new commitments to the Bergen County Jail to be processed by the Pretrial Services Unit for CJP Court is 8:30 AM Monday through Friday and 11:00 AM on weekends and/or holidays. Defendants must be committed to the Bergen County Jail by the aforementioned cut off times and also appear on the Pretrial Services worklist. These cutoff times apply to defendants committed to the jail by local law enforcement as well as defendants who elect to self-surrender. Please note that having a defendant physically appear at a police department or the jail at 8:30 AM on weekdays or 11:00 AM on weekends will not suffice to meet this cutoff. Local police departments and the jail need the time to complete paperwork, fingerprint, and process the defendant. Depending on circumstances at the local police department or at the jail, processing could take up to several hours.

The only exception to the aforementioned cut-off times are defendants who have an unserved complaint warrant (“non-app”) and are taken into custody for processing at the time of their court appearance or while reporting to Pretrial Services. If a defendant is taken into custody at the courthouse before 10:00 AM, the defendant will be seen for CJP the same day.

If the aforementioned cutoff times are not met, the defendant will appear at CJP on the following day. Court staff must abide by the procedures of the Criminal Justice Reform act, which cannot be shortened, expedited, or circumvented. Please direct any questions you may have regarding this notice to Leslie Darcy, Criminal Division Manager, via email at