Monday, November 2, 2009

Iamboatman's Legal Imperfect Storm - When Will The Cruise Be Over?!

As many of you know I am not only a travel agent, but a lawyer whose practice is focused in large part on superyachts and the maritime industry. On Friday, the New Jersey Appellate Division announced a decision ruling, for the second time, in favor of my client in a rather complicated (and frustrating) estate matter.

The New Jersey Law Journal published an article today about the case. Read it and you will see while I smiled when I read it and, when I got to the end of it I had to post it here:

An Imperfect StormEric Goldring devotes so much time to marine law that the Web site of Goldring & Goldring in Red Bank is called yachtlaw.com. But he has been on a rough voyage in a nonadmiralty matter — an estate case afloat for three years and still far from harbor, even after an appeals court ruling on Friday.


As the estate's lawyer, Goldring defeated three plaintiffs' claims that they were entitled to bequests under a codicil. Even so, the claims were reasonable enough to entitle the plaintiffs to $15,000 from the estate to pay their lawyer, Jeffrey Knapp of Basking Ridge, Essex County Superior Court Judge Renee Weeks ruled last year. But her opinion didn't explain why she picked that amount, so an appeals court remanded the case for more math.


On Friday, the Appellate Division ruled that Weeks got it right the second time around in the Matter of the Will of Richard XXXX , at least about the amount of the fee. But Judges Mary Cuff and Alexander Waugh Jr. say the record remains murky about whether Knapp has already been paid. If so, the $15,000 should go to the litigants as a reimbursement. If not, it should go to Knapp.

What's more, there is some suggestion in the case that Knapp might have been paid by a nonparty — a son of the decedent who was disinherited. If that's true, the estate is off the hook for the fee, the court says. So the case was remanded again.

Knapp did not return a call, but Goldring says it is frustrating trying to explain to the heirs — the decedent's daughter and grandchildren — why the cruise is taking so long.

By Michael Booth, Charles Toutant and Henry Gottlieb