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Hackensack Business and Commercial Law Blog

Get used to it: We'll all be working with or for millennials soon

Businesses are finding it more and more necessary to keep up with technology trends if they want to stay competitive. Some are beefing up their Web presence to attract more customers; others are investing in the latest office technology to improve efficiency. Even the hiring process has moved online.

When was the last time you received a cover letter and resume in the mail? It goes without saying that the hiring manager who wades through a pile of paper resumes to find the perfect candidate is an endangered species. We have algorithms to do that now.

No surprises here: Penney's appeals tortious interference ruling

J.C. Penney has filed an appeal of the June decision that many hoped had settled the retailer's differences with Macy's Inc. In June, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Oing issued a 60-page decision that put J.C. Penney Corp. squarely in the wrong. The company and its former CEO had engaged in tortious interference by entering into an exclusive merchandising contract with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. knowing full well that Macy's and MSLO already had an exclusive deal. We wrote about the opinion in our June 17 post.

Penney's is appealing the tortious interference finding. The day Penney's announced its appeal, Macy's said it planned to appeal the court's decision that the case did not warrant punitive damages. A special referee has not yet determined if Penney's should pay damages for lost profits and attorney fees.

County hits the pause button on construction contract p3

We are talking about a dispute between two construction companies and Bergen County. Early in July, the county awarded the construction contract for the new justice center to Dobco Inc. The Dobco bid was the lowest responsible bid, the county said, adding that the county's construction expert gave the award the thumbs up.

The second-lowest bidder, Terminal Construction Corp., says there is a major flaw in the Dobco bid and that Dobco has misrepresented the electrical subcontractor listed on the bid as an independent company. Terminal contends that the subcontractor is actually a shell company for Dobco, a ruse that will result in higher costs to the county.

County hits the pause button on construction contract p2

When a general contractor is bidding on a government project, he or she must remember that all of the equal opportunity laws that apply to him apply to his subcontractors as well. One of the reasons the request for proposal asks for a list of all the subcontractors is to determine if any has a history of not complying with these or other laws.

Another reason is that the government wants general contractors to show their work, to provide detail about the projected costs for each part of the project. Depending on the contract, any problems with a subcontractor's work would be the responsibility of both the general and the sub.

County hits the pause button on construction contract

It is relatively easy to form a contract with someone. You make an offer, she accepts and the two of you agree on a price. Forming a contract with the government is a completely different story. There are state and county and city regulations to follow, there are bid-specific forms that must be completed and there are approval hoops to jump through.

For example, a general contractor bidding on a public project in New Jersey is bound by the state's equal opportunity and affirmative action laws. And in Bergen County, according to the Public Works Department website, a response to a request for proposal must be in a specific format, must be accompanied by several appendixes, and must include specific information about the contractor making the bid and the subcontractors that will be involved with the project.

Businesses and the ties that bind - or handcuff - their employees

"If you love something," the saying goes, "let it go. If it comes back to you, it is yours forever. If it does not, then it was never meant to be." A Google search turns up multiple sources for the maxim. One is the author of "Jonathan Livingston Seagull," another is a novel about were-hunters. Wherever it comes from, it is hard to imagine the saying holding much sway in a highly competitive business setting.

More likely, businesses rely on some wag's twist on the sentiment: "If you love something, let it go. If it does not come back … hunt it down and kill it." Perhaps this version is more prevalent on the East Coast, especially in New Jersey and New York City, where business people have a reputation for cynicism. A business, however, does not need to be cynical to want to protect its assets.

Bergen Cty office market not keeping up with the Joneses in NYC

Crain's New York reported earlier this month that Manhattan is in for an office development boom over the next year or so. The New York Building Congress estimates that the borough will end the three-year period of 2013 to 2015 with an additional 9 million square feet of new office space. The trend is expected to continue for the rest of the decade.

Bergen County may not be as lucky. Alfred Sanzari Enterprises recently announced it has abandoned plans for an office building in the Glenpointe Complex in Teaneck. The developer had planned a 14-story tower to what the company's website describes as a 650,000-square-foot "mixed-use complex." Instead, the company will build a 350-room hotel.

Size matters where minimum wage is concerned p2

Congress continues to mull over a proposal to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour. If the bill passes, New Jersey employers would be obliged to pay the higher rate. For some, the higher cost of labor would mean raising the prices of merchandise. For others, though, including franchisees, that kind of increase could have prove fatal.

Seattle has beaten Congress to it. The city has adopted a $15 per hour minimum wage that businesses will implement over the next few years. How quickly businesses move to the new wage depends on how many employees they have and the benefits they offer.

Size matters where minimum wage is concerned

The furor over New Jersey's minimum wage increase may have died down, but the lull may not last. Voters approved a measure last year that raised the minimum from $7.25 an hour to $8.25 an hour. The state will adjust the wage annually based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index.

Opponents of the increase worried that it would cost jobs and shutter some operations altogether. Small businesses, including franchises, would not be able to keep up as the higher wage ate into razor-thin profit margins.

Macy's v. JCP: Is it over? Is it really over?

No, it is not really over. It is, however, mostly over, if J.C. Penney does not appeal. For now, though, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Oing may have seen the back of Macy's Inc. v. J.C. Penney Corporation (652861/2012) with his recently released ruling against J.C. Penney.

The case is the last claim to be adjudicated in the long-running battle between the two retailers over Martha Stewart merchandise. In December 2011, J.C. Penney famously entered into an agreement -- a "strategic alliance" -- with Martha Steward Living Omnimedia to sell Stewart-branded household goods in its stores. Macy's, of course, had already penned an exclusive deal with Stewart in 2007.

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