by: Peter J. Gallagher (@pjsgallagher)
I loved the movie National Lampoon's Vacation as a kid but I did not truly appreciate it until I had children of my own and experienced family vacations from the parent perspective. This perspective may have been most eloquently summarized by Clark W. Griswold when he finally snaps near the end of his family's journey to Wally World:
I think you're all [expletive deleted] in the head. We're ten hours from the [expletive deleted] fun park and you want to bail out. Well I'll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It's a quest. It's a quest for fun. You're gonna have fun, and I'm gonna have fun . . . We're all gonna have so much [expletive deleted] fun we're gonna need plastic surgery to remove our [expletive deleted] smiles! You'll be whistling 'Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah' out of your [expletive deleted]! I must be crazy! I'm on a pilgrimage to see a moose. Praise Marty Moose! Holy [expletive deleted]!
[For a similar take on family vacations, you can also check out Louis CK who describes his personal "vacation" as the few seconds he gets between closing the door on one side of the car and walking around to the driver's side before getting in and starting the real "vacation."]
I was reminded of these, admittedly cynical, impressions of family vacations when I read a recent decision, Lang v. Lang, from the Family Part. In that case, divorced parents fought over whether the mother could take their six-year-old son to Holland for the summer. Sprinkled throughout the court's opinion were descriptions of the importance of family vacations, including the following:
Vacations provide highly unique and valuable opportunities for a child to bond with parents and other family members, while creating highly positive and lasting memories. The entire point of vacation travel is for adults and children alike to enjoy a invigorating break from the tedium of everyday schedules and responsibilities, and to mentally relax and rejuvenate by journeying to new destinations, experiencing new sights and adventures, and simply enjoying themselves in as carefree a manner as possible.
The court obviously has fonder memories of family vacations than I do. I remember turning blue while driving through the safari at Six Flags in a Dodge Dart with the windows closed and no air conditioning. Nothing too invigorating about that.
Continue reading “Clark W. Griswold Would Be Proud: Citing Importance Of Summer Vacations, Family Part Permits Parent To Take Child Abroad”
by: Peter J. Gallagher
Courts don't often impose sanctions for frivolous litigation, but when they do, it usually involves something unusual (apologies to John Winger). Unusual — and perhaps even unfortunate — would be the only way to describe the facts of a recent decision from the Appellate Division that revived a party's request for legal fees in a case involving a failed (alleged) engagement and the return of a (purported) engagement ring that the recipient initially claimed to have lost, but later (apparently) found.
Continue reading “Hell Hath No Fury Like . . . An Angry Litigant And Former Fiance?”
by: Katharine A. Muscalino
Revitalizing the downtowns of New Jersey’s poorest cities has always been an uphill battle, with cities struggling to find developers and businesses willing to invest in their most blighted areas. Urban facelifts and retail opportunities are in danger of becoming even more scarce, as New Jersey considers eliminating or diluting its urban enterprise zone legislation.
Under the current urban enterprise zone law, blighted cities can attract developers and businesses with special tax incentives and grants, and get a return on some of the urban enterprise zone revenues. Specifically, developers within the urban enterprise zone qualify for tax exemptions and abatements, and redevelopment bonding and grants. Businesses are permitted to charge half of standard sales taxes, attracting both new retailers and new customers to the downtowns. The result is a major overhaul for Main Street and an influx of new commerce.
Cities may be losing this tool for redevelopment as New Jersey state government considers reforms to the current legislation. Following a study that recommended terminating the 28-year old program, Governor Christie’s budget calls for the state to retain more than $90 million of the urban enterprise zone revenues. Anticipating that this retainage could undercut the urban enterprise zone program irretrievably, the New Jersey Assembly’s Commerce and Economic Development Committee is considering modifications to the urban enterprise zone statute as an alternative to the proposed budget provisions. The Assembly’s plan would maintain incentives for developers and businesses, but curb the benefits to municipalities significantly, phasing out the use of urban enterprise zone funds for police and fire services, capping municipal collection of urban enterprise zone revenues to one third of all funds through 2022, and imposing a moratorium on future urban enterprise zone funding to cities following 2022.