Officers And Employees of Home Improvement Contractors Face Personal Liability For Consumer Fraud Violations

Eric Probst authored an alert on a recent decision from the New Jersey Supreme Court that broadens the scope of liability under the New Jersey  Consumer Fraud Act — New Jersey Supreme Court: Officers and Employees of Home Improvement Contracting Business Can Be Personally Liable For Consumer Fraud Violations.  As the title suggests, employees and officers of home improvement contractors may now face liability under the Consumer Fraud Act, which is one of the most severe consumer protection statutes in the nation and permits the recovery of treble damages and attorneys' fees for successful plaintiffs. 

New Suits Allege Real Estate Brokers Imposed Illegal Duplicative Charges

by:  Michael L. Rich

The New Jersey Law Journal reports the filing of three putative class actions on March 16, 2011 alleging that real estate brokers defraud buyers and sellers by charging administrative fees for services covered by commissions.   Specifically, the suits allege that Weichert Realtors and Prudential Real Estate Affiliates impose administrative fees of $200 to $275 on real estate transactions, notwithstanding the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development declaring last year such fees illegal.  One suit filed in U.S. District Court in Camden, New Jersey alleges violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.  The two suits filed in Burlington County Superior Court claim violations of the state’s Consumer Fraud Act and the Truth in Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act.  More details to follow.

Digging Behind The Veil: New Jersey Supreme Court Decision Threatens To Impose Increased Liability On Home Improvement Contractors

Eric L. Probst represented several non-profit home improvement associations as amicus curiae on an important issue of first impression before the New Jersey Supreme Court.  The question before the Court was whether a homeowner has to pierce the corporate veil to hold individual shareholders of home improvement contractors personally liable for violations of New Jersey’s Home Improvement Practices regulations under the State’s Consumer Fraud Act.  In his article,  New Jersey Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument On Whether To Impose Personal Liability Against Corporate Shareholders Of Home Improvement Company For Violating New Jersey’s Home Improvement Practices Regulations, published in Community Builders and Remodelers Association newsletter, Eric reviews the oral argument from the case, Allen v. V and A Brothers, Inc., and predicts that the Supreme Court will likely uphold the Appellate Division's decision imposing personal liability against individual shareholders.  Eric further predicts that such a decision will cause an increase in lawsuits against corporate shareholders for violations of the CFA and HIP.  Stay tuned to the blog for more information about the Supreme Court's decision in this case, which should be handed down in the next 60-90 days.