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Category Archives: Uncategorized


Jeffrey Puff brings Bison Statue to his Alma Mater

Puff & Cockerill Partner, Jeffrey V. Puff, envisions and brings into being a Bison statue at his alma mater, Bucknell University. An article by Bucknell University and a YouTube video highlight the Bison statue’s arrival on Campus and discuss Jeffrey Puff’s leadership in spearheading the Class of 1975’s gift to the University.

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consequences of social media

Consequences of Social Media When Involved in a Lawsuit

You must know the consequences of social media when you are involved in a lawsuit. When you are involved in a lawsuit of any type, whether it is a personal injury case, divorce, or settling your parent’s estate, it is essential to understand the reality of our current social media driven world: your social media presence may have an adverse impact on your case.

In this day and age, social media platforms have transformed how people interact. Individuals use Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and LinkedIn, to name a few, to connect with family, friends, and the world at large. Through the use of social media, anyone can obtain information about another individual in a matter of seconds. Just “Google” yourself and you will be surprised to find what pops up.

One of the drawbacks of social media is that once you post something, it stays forever, even when you think it is gone. You may delete a posting, but that does not mean that someone has not already taken a “screenshot” or the social media platform may keep internal record of deleted posts, pages and pictures.

In today’s legal world, defense attorneys, adverse parties and insurance adjusters, to name a few, will more than likely search your social media accounts. Information obtained from social media platforms can be used as defenses to undermine your legal issue. Know the consequences of social media use!

In order to adequately protect you and your legal case, it is this author’s recommendation to our clients to adhere to the following social media basics while involved in a lawsuit:
1. Temporarily Deactivate Your Social Media Accounts
2. Do Not Send Texts or E-Mails to Anyone About Your Legal Case, except to your attorney
3. Be Alert: If you receive a “Friend Request” and do not know the person, do not accept the friend request.
4. If you Choose to Maintain a Social Media Presence – Proceed with the Utmost Care:
– Do not post anything pertaining to your legal issue
– Do not post any personal information, including photos or videos
– Do not participate in blogs, message boards, or volunteer information to the like regarding your personal experience or legal issue

The upshot of this article – be aware of the consequences of social media use. If you are involved in a legal issue, what you post online, for better or for worse, is public information available to all. Should you have any questions or concerns about the consequences of social media platforms, we encourage you to contact your attorney for legal advice.

Life Estate: Who Pays What?

This article provides a simple overview of the responsibilities of a life tenant in regards to a life estate. The information contained herein should not be relied upon for legal advice and an attorney should be considered when dealing with issues concerning life estates.

In New Jersey, the life tenant is solely responsible for the payment of the real estate taxes for a life estate. This has been confirmed in case law that a life tenant is ordinarily required to pay taxes and pay interest on the mortgage. Kruse v. Meissner, 136 N.J. Eq. 209 (1945). See also N.J.S.A. 2A: 65-2. It has also been held in Tichenor v. Mechanics & Metals Nat. Bank of City of New York, 96 N.J. Eq. 560 (1924), that a life tenant must pay the taxes.

Additionally, a life tenant must maintain the property. This issue has been addressed many times through New Jersey case law, although the cases are somewhat dated. It is settled law in New Jersey that a life tenant is a trustee for the benefit of the remainderman. Trafton v. Bainbridge, 126 N.J. Eq. 448 (1939). As such, the life tenant has the duty to keep the property in as good repair as when the estate began, not excepting ordinary wear and tear. Burlington County Trust Co. v. Kingsland, 18 N.J. Super. 223 (1952). A life tenant, however, is not required to make extraordinary repairs. Savings Investment & Trust Co. v. Little, 135 N.J. Eq. 546 (1944). A life tenant must make such ordinary repairs as are necessary to preserve the property from decay. He is not bound to expend extraordinary sums for that purpose. Savings Investment & Trust Company v. Little at 550 and 551. Simply put, a life tenant cannot commit waste on or of the property.

When a life tenant neglects to pay taxes and fails to make necessary repairs, he is guilty of permissive waste. Woolston v. Pullen, 88 N.J. Eq. 35 (1917). Permissive waste is defined as that kind of waste which is a matter of omission only, as by suffering a house to fall for want of necessary reparations. Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Edition (1979). Additionally, New Jersey Statute, N.J.S.A. 2A: 65-2 states, “no tenant in dower or curtesy or for life, years or any term, shall during the term, make or suffer any waste, sale or destruction of any property belonging to the tenements demised, without special license in writing.” Further, New Jersey Statute, N.J.S.A. 2A: 65-3 provides, “a civil action may be maintained in the superior court against the tenant, and upon a finding that waste has been committed, treble damages shall be assessed or granted, and the defendant shall lose the things or place wasted.” Treble damages are defined as damages given by statute in certain cases, consisting of the single damages found by the jury, actually tripled in amount. Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Edition (1979).

With regard to any homeowner’s insurance payments, the general rule is that the tenant for life and the remainderman pay insurance for their respective interests. Kearney v. Kearney, 17 N.J. Eq. 59 (1864).