Partner John T. Ambrosio Quoted in Asbury Park Press

November 19, 2013,

John T. Ambrosio, Esq., partner with the law firm of Ambrosio & Tomczak, was recently quoted in the Asbury Park Press on November 14, 2013 with respect to his representation of Rabbi Chaim Abadi, the owner of Hard Maple Realty. Mr. Ambrosio's representation deals specifically with the issue of whether shaimos burial sites should be excluded from the New Jersey Solid Waste Management Act.

Specifically, Hard Maple Realty is being continually fined because shaimos, orthodox Jewish religious items, were found buried in property owned by them. In addition to fighting the fines, Mr. Ambrosio has requested that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection revise their regulations to exempt shamios burial sites because shaimos is not listed as solid waste by the NJ DEP.

"The intent and spirit of the solid waste law was not to regulate how religious artifacts were disposed of," Mr. Ambrosio told the Asbury Park Press. "I think different rules should apply to those types of facilities."

Mr. Ambrosio has extensive experience assisting clients with government enforcement and compliance issues, solid and hazardous waste licensing and permitting, and transactions between regulated entities. Mr. Ambrosio can be contacted at 973-746-6655.

Supreme Court Considers Post-Trial PTI

October 2, 2013,

New Jersey allows a first-time criminal defendant the opportunity to enter into the Pretrial Intervention Program ("PTI") for certain offenses so long as the application for admission into PTI is made within 28 days after indictment. This past Monday however, the New Jersey Supreme Court considered whether a defendant can be eligible for PTI post trial.

In State v. Bell, A-21-12, the Defendant was originally charged with second and third degree aggravated assault and third degree attempted aggravated assault. Because of the nature of the criminal charges levied against the Defendant, he was ineligible to apply for PTI. subsequently, after being found guilty of only the third-degree attempted aggravated assault charge, the Defendant applied for PTI.

Over the objections of both the prosecutor and the PTI director, the trial court admitted the Defendant into PTI. However, the Appellate Division overturned that decision ruling that PTI is only available pretrial and that prosecutors and PTI directors have discretion as to when to allow a defendant admission into PTI.

The Supreme Court agreed to take Defendant's appeal and appeared skeptical of Defendant's position. They noted that Defendant is seeking to take the "pre" out of pretrial intervention and create an entirely new program.

Gregory Tomczak, Esq. of Ambrosio & Tomczak is extremely well-versed in a wide variety of criminal matters, including the applicability of PTI to a wide variety of circumstances. For further information, please feel free to contact Mr. Tomczak.

Supreme Court Rules Dog Sniffs at Private Home are Searches Requiring Probable Cause

April 30, 2013,

In a landmark opinion by the United States Supreme Court in Florida v. Jardines, 569 U.S. ___ (2013), the Court held that the use of a police dog to sniff for narcotics on the front porch of a private home is considered a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, requiring both probable cause and a search warrant.

Continue reading "Supreme Court Rules Dog Sniffs at Private Home are Searches Requiring Probable Cause" »

Gregory Tomczak, Esq. and Michael Jurista, Esq. Named 2013 Rising Stars

March 27, 2013,

Ambrosio & Tomczak is pleased to announce that Gregory E. Tomczak, Esq. and Michael J. Jurista, Esq. have each been recognized in New Jersey Monthly magazine by Super Lawyers as a 2013 New Jersey Rising Star. Mr. Tomczak was selected as a Rising Star in the area of white collar criminal defense and Mr. Jurista was selected as a Rising Star in the area of business litigation. This honor is reserved for less than 2.5% of attorneys in New Jersey.

Previously, Mr. Tomczak has been named a Rising Star in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Mr. Jurista has previously been named a Rising Star in 2012.

Gregory E. Tomczak, Esq. Recognized as a "New Leader of the Bar" - One of the Top 50 Attorneys in New Jersey Under Age 40

September 3, 2012,

In 2012, the New Jersey Law Journal recognized 50 lawyers that they consider emblematic of the next wave of leadership of the New Jersey bar, based on their achievements so far in their careers. This year, Partner, Gregory Tomczak, Esq., has been included on the list and recognized as one of the top 50 attorneys in New Jersey under the age of 40.

The stated criteria for selection of these rising stars are that they have developed practice niches, amassed strong books of business, demonstrated leadership qualities, shown expertise in litigation or transactional work and committed themselves to pro bono, charitable and professional volunteer work. All of these factors tend to make an individual stand out among his or her peers.

No two of the 50 were selected for identical reasons. They have distinguishable qualities and have structured their careers differently, yet each stands out in some way, however nuanced, and each is deserving of this distinction.

No preference was given to partners at larger firms, but they are well-represented, because by making partner before age 40, they have demonstrated to their firms much the same qualities that are focused on during the selection process. From their standpoint as observers of the New Jersey legal profession, these young lawyers are well worth watching.

Greg's Profile provided, in part, as follows:

Tomczak has established himself as an accomplished trial lawyer in both criminal and complex commercial litigation. In 2009, he became certified as a Criminal Trial Attorney after only five years of practice. He has represented criminal clients ranging from the leader of the Bloods street gang to corporate clients charged with white collar crimes. Tomczak has also had success in complex commercial litigation spanning virtually all industries. He has been especially successful in resolving shareholder/partnership disputes on behalf of minority shareholders. Tomczak was also part of a team that represented the former president of Stevens Institute of Technology in a civil action filed against the school by the New Jersey attorney general. In firm management, he is the leader of the entire litigation practice, including handling cases from inception through verdict. His notable clients include Vincent Young, leader of a set of the Bloods Street gang, charged with offenses under the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act; Panico Salons, as general counsel for all legal matters; and Wholesale Lighting Services Inc., as general counsel for all legal matters. In addition to legal work, Tomczak is a member of the board of trustees of the Red Bank YMCA and devotes a significant amount of time raising money for the Y.

Warrantless Search During Noise Complaint Deemed Improper

May 15, 2012,

In State v. Kaitner, A-8 Sept. Term. 20011 (decided May 1, 2012), the issue was whether Long Branch police officers who responded to a noise complaint properly seized pills and a controlled dangerous substance belonging the home owner. The Supreme Court of New Jersey, in a per curium opinion, affirmed the Appellate Court ruling that the search was improper and that the CDS must be suppressed.

In October 2009, Long Beach police officers responded to a noise complaint at a home rented by the Defendant and four other persons. While searching for the home owners, a police officer eventually made his way into Defendant's bedroom where pills and an alleged CDS were located. When the Defendant, who was not at the home at the time of the party or the search, returned to the home, he was arrested and charged with possession of a CDS.

In ruling that the search at issue was impermissible, the New Jersey Supreme Court agreed with the Appellate Division that although the initial entry into the home to deal with the noise complaint was lawful, the officers' searching of the entire home was not objectionably reasonable to abate the noise violation. Furthermore, the Court noted that the Defendant retained a reasonable exception of privacy in his bedroom.

Ambrosio & Tomczak is a full service law firm which handles a wide variety of criminal matters.

Gregory Tomczak, Esq. and Michael Jurista, Esq. Named Rising Stars

May 1, 2012,

Ambrosio & Tomczak is pleased to announce that Gregory E. Tomczak, Esq. and Michael J. Jurista, Esq. have each been recognized in New Jersey Monthly magazine by Super Lawyers as a 2012 New Jersey Rising Star. Mr. Tomczak was selected as a Rising Star in the area of white collar criminal defense and Mr. Jurista was selected as a Rising Star in the area of business litigation. This honor is reserved for less than 2.5% of attorneys in New Jersey.

Previously, Mr. Tomczak has been named a Rising Star in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Ambrosio & Tomczak Moves Into New Offices

May 1, 2012,

On April 30, 2012, Ambrosio & Tomczak officially moved into their new offices located at Hillside Square, 8 Hillside Avenue, Suite 103, Montclair, New Jersey 07042.

Ambrosio & Tomczak provides strategic results-driven legal counsel and business solutions to a wide variety of clients throughout New Jersey and New York. Ambrosio & Tomczak's primary areas of practice include Corporate Services, Commercial Litigation, Solid Waste Compliance & Litigation, Government Investigations & Criminal Defense, Real Estate, Personal Injury, and Bankruptcy.

Chapter 20 Tacitly Approved in District of New Jersey

March 12, 2012,

In the first case of its kind in the District of New Jersey, Bankruptcy Judge Michael Kaplan tacitly approved what is known as a Chapter 20 bankruptcy filing. A "Chapter 20" bankruptcy, which is not found in the bankruptcy code, is a term for a debtor filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy after filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and receiving a Chapter 7 discharge on unsecured debts.

Note that the debtor cannot receive a Chapter 13 discharge if the debtor received a Chapter 7 discharge in a Chapter 7 case filed within the last 4 years.

A debtor can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy after receiving a Chapter 7 discharge in order to handle liens that survived the Chapter 7 case. Or the debtor can manage a 3- or 5-year repayment plan of debts that were not discharged in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Essentially, the debtor gets additional time to pay off non-dischargeable debts and avoid collection actions by the creditors.

On November 18, 2011, in the matter captioned In re Scotto-DiClemente, 459 B.R. 558, Judge Kaplan held that: (1) the debtor's ability to use Chapter 13 plan to strip off wholly unsecured junior mortgage liens on his principal residence was not contingent upon debtor's receipt of Chapter 13 discharge; and (2) the Chapter 13 case, while filed close on heels of Chapter 7 case in which debtor was granted a dis-charge only six months earlier, was not filed in "bad faith," so as to be subject to dismissal.

Bankruptcy Filings Fell 12% in 2011

March 12, 2012,

As reported in the New York Times, Bankruptcy filings fell nearly 12 percent in 2011 from the year before.

During 2011, there were approximately 1.4 million bankruptcy filings. The vast majority of the filings -- about 70 percent -- are Chapter 7 bankruptcies, which allow individuals to avoid repaying their debts if they pass a means test. The substantial majority of the remaining filings were under Chapter 13 of the Code, which requires filers to pay back a portion of their debts over three to five years.

Anyone wishing to discuss their options under the bankruptcy code should call to make an appointment.

Warrantless Searches of Cell Phone Upheld by 7th Circuit

March 6, 2012,

In a case of great technological interest, on February 29, 2012, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in United States v. Flores-Lopez held that searching a cell phone found on a defendant incident to an arrest is a permissble warrantless search.

In Flores-Lopez, the defendant was arrested for selling drugs. At the time of his arrest, an officer located and searched a cell phone in his possession for the purpose of determing the cell phone's number. Subsequently, the government used the cell phone number to subpoena three-months worth of defendant's cell phone records. After the defendant was convicted, the defendant appealed the conviction on the ground that the cell phone records were obtained via an impermissible search.

In upholding the conviction, the Court considered many factors including the nature of today's cell phone technology. For example, the Court noted that cell phones of today can be equipped with applications which allow a user to remotely wipe a cell phone of all of its data.

Although the search was deemed permissible, and thus the conviction upheld, the Court noted that not all searches of this kind would neccesarily be permissible. Indeed, the Court of Appeals noted that this search only yielded a cell phone number and the result may have been different had the government improperly obtained data, as opposed to just the cell phone number.

Ambrosio & Tomczak handles a wide variety of criminal matters.

New Jersey Trade Secrets Act Signed Into Law

January 24, 2012,

On January 9, 2012, Governor Chris Christie signed into law a bill that creates the New Jersey Trade Secrets Act, modeled after the Uniform Trade Secrets Act which has been adopted in 46 states and the District of Columbia.This Act provides specific remedies to businesses in the event that a trade secret is misappropriated.

Pursuant to the terms of the Act, trade secrets which may be subject to protection include, but are not limited to, proprietary information with economic value such as a formula, method, design, invention, drawing, program device, process or business data compilation which has been subject to reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy.

Any business harmed pursuant to the Act may seek an injunctive relief, damages resulting from actual loss or unjust enrichment, reasonable royalties, attorney's fees, expert fees and/or punitive damages.

Ambrosio & Tomczak is a full-service law firm equipped to handle a wide variety of commercial litigation matters.

NJ State Commission of Investigation Issues Scathing Report on Solid Waste and Recycling Industry

January 2, 2012,

Citing 30 examples of organized crime infiltration, the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation (SCI) recently released a far reaching report alleging severe deficiencies in the state's Solid Waste Licensing Law, also known as the A-901 Law, and recommended changes allegedly designed to broaden its scope in an effort to combat corruption in the solid waste and recycling industries. The 78 page report, released to the public on December 6, 2011, may be reviewed in its entirely on the SCI website.

Among the key findings of the report are that solid waste and recycling industry today "remains open to manipulation and abuse by criminal elements that circumvent the State's existing regulatory and oversight system ..." and that convicted felons, including organized crime members and associates, profit heavily from commercial recycling, which, though a lucrative adjunct to solid waste, has remained largely unregulated." The SCI report went on to state that "Commission's latest investigation has revealed that individuals who were banned from the solid waste industry in New Jersey years ago because of ties to organized crime or other criminal activities nonetheless have found ways to conduct a lucrative commerce in waste-hauling and recycling here."

While the intent of the regulatory changed proposed by the SCI is laudable, they have been widely criticized since their release and no doubt will make the already cumbersome process of obtaining and maintaining an A-901 license even more so for legitimate business concerns.

New Policy for Sealing Entire Court Files Instituted in Federal Courts

September 23, 2011,

This past week, the Judicial Conference of the United States instituted a new policy designed to deter litigants from constantly requesting that entire court records be sealed. The new policy states that federal judges are not to seal an entire court record unless required to do so by statute or "justified by a showing of extraordinary circumstances." Rather, federal judges are instructed to "blackout" confidential information or seal certain specific documents.

Third Circuit Upholds Bryant Conviction

September 6, 2011,

In a recent decision, the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the the prior conviction of former state Senator Wayne Bryant. In upholding Bryant's former convictions on charges of honest services fraud, mail fraud and bribery, the Third Circuit rejected arguments that prosecutors allegedly violated Bryant's rights by interfering with pretrial witnesses, that the evidence was insufficient, and that the jury instructions were defective.

The facts surrounding Bryant's conviction have been well-published. In November 2008, a federal jury found that Bryant steered more than $10 million to R. Michael Gallegher, former dean of the School of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, in exchange for extra state funding and a "low show" teaching job (a job which was used to inflate Bryant's pension benefits). Based on the foregoing, Bryant was sentenced to four (4) years and Gallagher was sentenced to eighteen (18) months.

Ambrosio & Tomczak is a full service law firm.