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Category Archives: Bergen County Bar Association

The Bergen County Judiciary, in conjunction with the New Jersey Judiciary, is continuing to take preventive measures to reduce risks of exposure to and transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus.  We continue to handle as many matters as possible by telephone, Zoom or Teams platforms.  However, during Phase II of operations certain in-person proceedings are being scheduled.

This is a reminder, especially during the peak of the vacation season, that should you have an in-person proceeding scheduled and have travelled to a quarantine impacted state as contained on New Jersey’s updated Quarantine Advisory, it is incumbent upon you to inform the court as soon as possible to allow for an appropriate quarantine time period.

Please know that you will not be permitted entry into the courthouse facilities until the required 14 day quarantine period has expired from the time of your last contact within the identified state.

We are being vigilant in our efforts to ensure the safety of all in the courthouse.  Therefore, in addition to the disclosure of travel to an impacted state, you have an obligation to disclose whether you have experienced:

  1. Fever (A Temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater);
  2. Symptoms (Cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chills, sore throat, muscle aches and pains, loss of taste or smell, any other unexplained illness);
  3. Close contact with anyone who has exhibited any of these symptoms; or
  4. Whether someone in your household or someone you have been in close contact that has tested positive for COVID-19 (Close contact with an infected person means within 6 feet for 10 minutes or more).

Your cooperation in keeping our courthouse safe for all who enter is much appreciated.

/s/ Bonnie J. Mizdol, A.J.S.C.

Dated: August 26, 2020

August 13, 2020 Bench Bar Conference

On August 13, 2020, Judge Mizdol met with the executive officers and substantive committee chairs of the Bergen County Bar Association for a Bench Bar Conference.

These conferences provide for the exchange of information and ideas between our members and our Bergen County Judiciary and we appreciate the continuation of this program.

During the recent meeting with Judge Mizdol, she explained the great efforts that she and the Bergen Judiciary are making to enable attorneys and litigants to return to the Courthouse.  The efforts include, but are not limited to, courtroom layouts, safety and sanitary measures, social distancing requirements, courtroom logistics meaning what courtrooms can accommodate what cases, and protection of staff, attorneys, litigants, and judges.  We should all be aware that the courthouse has gone through a thorough cleaning process in order to ensure everyone’s safety.

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Current Items:                                                             

  • Part Two–Can Lawyers Learn to Retire?                                                         
  • The Fourth is upon us and it is a time to celebrate independence. How fitting is the next and last instalment of this my retirement article. BTW I did receive a number of congratulations on my own voyage to the other side of work and I thank those thoughtful souls for their good wishes. I do note that a few of them are tax lawyers themselves glad to see that I am out of the running for new cases leaving them somewhat of a professional windfall. To them I say good luck.

Can Lawyers Learn to Retire?  Part Two              Ted David, Esq

“You Gotta Know When to Hold Them… Know When to Fold Them”

 – Kenny Rodgers..The Gambler

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Opening Remarks Present BCBA Joseph A. Maurice on June 18, 2020 at the Bergen County Bar Association Virtual Town Hall Meeting

“Hello and good evening.  Welcome everyone to the Bergen County Bar Association’s Town Hall.  Your Association is happy to present this event to our members free of charge.  I do encourage each of you to donate to the Bergen Benefactors at Bergenbar.org.  Your donation will help maintain Association activities during this COVID crisis despite the lack of fundraising events that you have supported over the years.  For those that have donated, thank you very much for your generosity and continued support.

Let us now observe a moment for silent prayer or reflection to be mindful of the events that have given rise to an outcry for social justice across our great nation. Our black community is hurting, we are hurting, our country is hurting.  We must be one voice in declaring that black lives do matter.  Anything less is not justice for all.   I am confident, that as a profession that has sworn an oath to uphold our constitution and the rule of law, that we share a unified resolve to be better, do better and expect better from those around us.  It is our issue and this Association will continue to address it.

We have many esteemed panelists this evening and we appreciate their attendance so I’d like to get started but first I want to share with you a few words on the state of your bar association. Read More

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY

STANDING ORDER 2020-13

IN RE: USE OF FACE COVERINGS/MASKS: DUE TO COVID-19

WHEREAS, the President of the United States has declared a National Emergency, and the Governor of the State of New Jersey has declared a State of Emergency and a Public Health Emergency throughout the State, in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic;

WHEREAS, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health authorities have advised taking precautions to reduce the possibility of exposure to COVID-19 and to slow the spread of the disease; Read More

NOTICE TO THE BAR 

During these unprecedented times, we recognize the difficulty that practitioners face addressing client’s needs. In an effort to alleviate some of those difficulties for attorneys as well as pro se individuals, please be advised the Bergen County Surrogate Court’s website has been updated to include the forms for the Will Fact Sheet and Administration Fact Sheet. The produce for probate/administration, along with the newly uploaded forms, can be found at https://www.bergencountysurrogate.com . In the event you should have any questions, you are welcome contact our office for guidance.

We appreciate your patience as we work tirelessly to assist the public probate the estates of their loved ones.

Be well,

/s/ Michael R. Dressler,  Surrogate

Deputy Clerk, Superior Court

Chancery Division, Probate Part

Update from the Bergen County Surrogate’s Court.pdf

NOTICE TO THE BAR

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, the New Jersey Judiciary is implementing all possible measures to apply social distancing in current court operations, consistent with the recommendations of the New Jersey Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. To that end, the Judiciary has transitioned to a court system in which many matters are proceeding via video or telephone during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Because this need may continue for many months based on current information, Megan’s Law proceedings should be conducted remotely by video or telephone for public safety and notification to the public about sex offenders. Therefore, I am issuing the attached guidance for judges to consider when deciding which Megan’s Law proceedings can be handled remotely by video or telephone during this COVID-19 crisis.

In making this determination, Megan’s Law judges and designated court staff should work with their Megan’s Law prosecutors and public defenders to review all cases pending judicial review. Private counsel should also be consulted, as matters with defense counsel for the most part should be able to proceed remotely by video or telephone. However, cases with expert testimony may need to be adjourned on a case-by-case basis at the court’s discretion. Where the registrant can only participate remotely by phone, the court should obtain the consent of the parties before conducting the hearing. Cases with registrants who do not have access to telephones, computers, or other electronic devices will need to be adjourned at this time. Alternatively, defense counsel may indicate that the matter can proceed because the registrant has waived the right to be present.

For pro se matters, court staff will need to work with the prosecutor’s office to obtain the registrant’s contact information to send the notices for the scheduled court date. Depending on local practices, the prosecutor’s office may be responsible for providing this information. In those counties, court staff should confirm that notices were sent by the prosecutor’s office, and whether there was a response by the registrant.

Additionally, court staff are responsible for providing the parties with the information on the technology that will be used for the remote proceeding (the link and the instructions to participate remotely via video or phone). The preferred technology for these proceedings is Microsoft Teams.

Any questions regarding Directive #16-20 may be directed to Assistant Director Sue Callaghan (Criminal Practice Division) via email at sue.callaghan@njcourts.gov or by phone at 609-815-2900 ext. 55300.

Directive #16-20 – _Guidance for Megan’s Law Proceedings During the COVID-19 Pandemic.pdf

Due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19, the Office of the Bergen County Clerk will continue to remain closed to the public. However, we have been able to “keep the wheels turning” and carry out many of our functions due to the efforts, innovation and adaptability of my diligent staff.

Here is a current update concerning what the office has been able to accomplish under these challenging conditions:

  • REGISTRY DIVISION: The office continues to receive land record transactions by mail or electronically (E-Recording). Working with the Office of the County Executive, we have been able to distribute laptops to employees so that they can carry out these functions from home. Eleven employees are working to verify these processed documents in order to make them available to the public.
  • LAND RECORDS MANAGEMENT DIVISION: This division has continued to remain functional and open to title searchers on a very limited, rotational and secure basis. Following the approval of our request by the County Administrator on March 18, 2020, we initially permitted title searchers access from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm. To further diminish any potential exposure, we are now strictly limiting the title searchers to alternating every other day during the same hours. Everyone is required to wear a face covering or mask. The searching area has been completely disinfected and title searchers’ stations are more than 10 feet apart.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

John Hogan (Bergen County Clerk) 201-336-7006, jhogan@bergen.nj.us

Steve Shong (Deputy Clerk) 201-336-7030, schong@co.bergen.nj.us

Carlos Soto (Supervisor of Land Records Management) csoto@co.bergen.nj.us

Kathy Ciolko (Supervisor of E-Recording) kciolko@co.bergen.nj.us

Antoinette Kqira (Supervisor of Paper Processing) akqira@co.bergen.nj.us 

CLERK’S OFFICE NOTIFICATION.pdf

NOTICE TO THE BAR

As a further step in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting disruption to the courts and the legal system, the Supreme Court this week issued the attached May 4 order temporarily allowing attorneys licensed in another United States jurisdiction to provide needed pro bono legal services to individuals and small businesses affected by the public health crisis.

The basis for the order is the Court’s determination that the COVID-19 public health emergency constitutes an “emergency affecting the justice system,” thereby invoking Rule 1:21-10 which provides for this temporary authorization to practice in New Jersey.

The Court’s Order will enable in-house counsel and other attorneys not licensed in New Jersey to provide those critical services on a pro bono basis. The out-of-state attorney seeking to provide pro bono legal services must not be disbarred, suspended from practice, or otherwise restricted from practice in any jurisdiction, and must be supervised by an attorney licensed and in good standing in New Jersey. The supervising attorney must file a certification with the Supreme Court regarding all attorneys who provide pro bono assistance through this avenue

Questions about this notice should be directed to Superior Court Clerk Michelle M. Smith at Michelle.Smith@njcourts.gov or (609) 421-6100.

***Please follow the link below to see the attached notice.***

/s/ Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: May 6, 2020

Notice and Order – Temporarily Authorizing Out-of-State Attorneys During COVID-19 to Provide Pro Bono Legal Services Under Supervision.pdf