New Jersey’s Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics (ACPE) considered the following inquiry: May a lawyer insert, or pay an internet search engine company to insert, a hyperlink on the name of a competitor lawyer that will divert the user from the searched-for website owned by the competitor to the lawyer’s own law firm website. The.. read more →

For additional information concerning special needs trusts and disability planning, visit: NJ Special Needs Trusts and Disability Planning For additional information concerning guardianships and fiduciary services, visit: NJ Guardianship and Fiduciary Services _______________________________________________ ABOUT DONALD D. VANARELLI Donald D. Vanarelli has been a practicing attorney since 1983 in New Jersey and New York. Don provides legal.. read more →

In this employment retaliation lawsuit, a federal judge in New Jersey dismissed a lawsuit filed by two former FedEx drivers who claimed they were unlawfully fired because of an argument with another FedEx employee and postings by them on social media about the incident. Shinn v. FedEx, Docket No. 1:16-cv-777 (NLH/KMW) (D.N.J., September 7, 2018).. read more →

Reversing decisions of trial and appellate courts, a divided California Supreme Court ruled that judges can’t order Yelp Inc., the online ratings site, to remove unflattering, one-star reviews of a San Francisco lawyer and her law firm posted by a user of the Yelp website who was an angry former client of the law firm… read more →

If you are choosing a nursing home, a May 11, 2018 article by Paula Span in the New York Times suggests an interesting addition to your arsenal of information: the Yelp app. The article is No Luck Finding the Right Nursing Home Maybe Yelp Can Help According to Span, Yelp reviews are a useful addition, not.. read more →

When it comes to uploading videos online, YouTube and Vimeo are the two most popular platforms in the market. YouTube is the leading video sharing website on the web today. YouTube is so popular that many professionals, including many attorneys, have established their own YouTube channel. The Vanarelli Law Office has a YouTube channel too. However,.. read more →

The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility recently issued Formal Opinion 480 which opines on the ethics of lawyers blogging and comment on social media. Formal Opinion 480, entitled “Confidentiality Obligations for Lawyer Blogging and Other Public Commentary,” applies existing ethical rules to new online publications such as lawyer blogs. Excerpts.. read more →

A court in Australia accepted an unsent, draft text message on a mobile phone as an official Last Will and Testament. Nichol v. Nichol The decedent, Mark Nichol, a 55 year old man, committed suicide in 2016. The decedent’s mobile phone was found on a work bench in the shed where the deceased’s body was found.. read more →

On September 13, 2017, Governor Christie signed legislation known as the “Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act.” In doing so, New Jersey joined 23 other states which have already have enacted a version of the law. The new law recognizes a fiduciary’s right to control a decedent’s digital assets. Under the new law, a.. read more →

In a case of first impression in New Jersey, Hon. Stephan C. Hansbury, Presiding Judge of the Chancery Court in Morris County permitted service of process through postings on Facebook. The court held that when service of process cannot be served on a defendant by traditional means, the rules of civil procedure permit an alternate.. read more →

In a major new ethics opinion, the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility indicated that lawyers must take reasonable efforts to ensure that communications with clients are secure and not subject to inadvertent or unauthorized security breaches. Notably, and for the first time, the opinion says that, in some circumstances, lawyers would.. read more →

Arnett Blake and his girlfriend, Cindy Edwards, attended a party at a community center. Defendant, Blake’s ex-girlfriend, also attended the party. While in the bathroom, Edwards encountered defendant “making rude comments about her.” While Edwards was still in the bathroom, defendant exited the bathroom, approached Blake, and said “I should F— your girlfriend up.” Later.. read more →

Jay Jason Chatarpau, Esq., a New Jersey employment discrimination attorney, represented Rameena Khan in a lawsuit claiming that her employer, Rite Aid stores, among others, discriminated against her on the basis of age, race, sex, ethnicity or national origin, in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Hon. Christine A. Farrington, J.S.C., presided over a.. read more →

A Florida appeals court upheld a judgment of $350,000 in a lawsuit filed by a lawyer against her former client alleging defamation based on negative reviews of the lawyer posted on the internet by the former client. Blake v. Giustibelli, __ So.3d __ (Fla. 4th DCA, No. 4D14-3231, 1/6/2016), 2016 WL _______. Florida Attorney Ann-Marie.. read more →

In this case, an Ocean County judge ruled that litigants in domestic violence cases who want to introduce evidence contained on their cell phones, such as texts, emails, social media messages, or audio/visual evidence, must first provide such evidence to the court and the adversary in tangible form, such as on a printout or a.. read more →

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals  for the Third Judicial Circuit ruled this week that a school district in suburban Philadelphia was within its rights to fire Natalie Munroe, an English teacher in the district who blogged that her students were “rude, disengaged, lazy whiners.”  Munroe v. Central Bucks School District (3d Cir., September 4, 2015) Natalie.. read more →

In May 2010, Anthony Douglas Elonis’s wife of nearly seven years left him, taking with her their two young children. Elonis was an active user of the social networking web site Facebook. After his family left him, Elonis began “listening to more violent music” and posting on Facebook self-styled “rap” lyrics inspired by the music… read more →

On March 10, 2015, the New York County Lawyers Association (“NYCLA”) weighed in on the ethics of using the social media website “LinkedIn” for professional self-promotion by lawyers. Formal Opinion 748 addresses the ethical implications of LinkedIn profiles. Specifically, the opinion addresses (1) whether a LinkedIn Profile is considered “Attorney Advertising,” (2) when it is.. read more →

Plaintiffs John J. Robertelli and Gabriel Adamo, two New Jersey defense counsel charged with ethics violations involving the use of Facebook in a litigation, lost their bid to dismiss the ethics charges. Plaintiffs’ law firm represented defendants Borough of Oakland, the Borough of Oakland Police Department, and a police sergeant in a lawsuit filed by.. read more →

Trial lawyers must know where the ethical line is drawn between properly investigating jurors and improperly communicating with them. In today’s Internet-saturated world, the line is increasingly blurred. Therefore, the ethics committee of the American Bar Association (ABA) recently issued an opinion describing a trial lawyer’s ethical obligation when reviewing jurors’ information on the Internet in.. read more →

A California appeals court held that a trial court’s order directing a trial attorney to remove posts from her law firm website touting her successes constituted an unlawful prior restraint on the trial attorney’s constitutional right to free speech. Christie Steiner v. Superior Court of Santa Barbara County, 2d Civil No. B235347 (Super. Ct. No… read more →

In a case of first impression, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that “liking” something on Facebook is a form of speech protected by the First Amendment. Bland v. Roberts, Docket No. No. 12-1671 (4th Cir., September 18, 2013) Defendant, B.J. Roberts, was the Sheriff of the City of Hampton,.. read more →

In an interesting case of first impression, the New Jersey Appellate Division held that the sender of a text message can potentially be liable if an accident is caused by texting if the sender of the text knew or had special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus.. read more →

Social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn often contain an enormous amount of highly personal information. Lawyers frequently mine social media websites for relevant evidence to be utilized in court when users of social media are involved in lawsuits. In general, information contained in social media websites is not protected by legal privilege or.. read more →

Upholding the decision of a trial judge who quashed a subpoena, New Jersey appellate court ruled that plaintiffs in a defamation suit over anonymous postings on a blog may not obtain the writers’ names via subpoena served on the corporate host of the blog. Somerset Development, LLC v. Cleaner Lakewood, Superior Court of New Jersey,.. read more →