Rosemary Soto


Rosemary Soto

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Rosemary Soto is an associate in the firm’s Community Association Practice Group.  Ms. Soto represents clients in the areas of general counseling, construction, and litigation practices.

Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Soto clerked for the Honorable Peter G. Geiger, J.S.C. of the Bergen County Superior Court, where she observed and was involved in civil litigation at its finest. She also worked with small to mid-size firms, where she provided clients with litigation and transactional support.

Ms. Soto received her J.D. from Rutgers Law School of Law-Newark, where she was the Senior Managing publication Editor of the Rutgers Computer and Technology Law Journal. She also practiced as a clinical law student in the Rutgers Intellectual Property Law Clinic.

Ms. Soto graduated from Montclair State University with a double-major in Jurisprudence and Business Administration with a concentration in International Business


Rutgers University School of Law, Newark, New Jersey

  • J.D. – 2018
  • Honors: Certificate in Corporate and Business Law
  • Clinical Law Student- Rutgers Intellectual Property Law
  • Senior Publication Editor- Rutgers Computer and Technology Law Journal

Montclair State University. Montclair, New Jersey

  • Cum Laude- 2015
  • B.A. – Major in Jurisprudence
  • B.S.- Major in International Business with a concentration in International Business

Bar Admission

  • New Jersey

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The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination Expands the Scope of Age Discrimination

On October 5, 2021, Governor Murphy signed new legislation (Assembly Bill No. A681) that amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) and expands the scope of age discrimination for older workers (in particular, workers over the age of 70) in the State of New Jersey. The amended law expands the protection of age discrimination in the following areas:

  • The amended law repeals the requirement that governmental employees retire “upon the attainment of a certain age” if “a retirement age bears a manifest relationship to the employment in question . . .” As such, the amended law limits a governmental employer’s ability to set a mandatory retirement age.
  • The amended law removes a section of the LAD stating that “that nothing herein contained shall be construed to bar an employer from refusing to accept for employment or promote any person over 70 years of age.” This clearly increases opportunities for workers over the age of 70 to obtain employment in the State of New Jersey.
  • The amended law repeals a section of the LAD requiring tenured employees at public or private institutions of higher education to retire at the age of 70, which increases the likelihood that such employees will continue to remain employed and retire on their own volition.
  • Lastly, the amended law adds remedies for employees who seek legal action due to forced retirement. Specifically, under the amended law, all remedies “shall be available” to such employees whereas prior to the amendment, employees were limited to seeking “reinstatement with back pay and interest.”

This is important legislation for older workers in the State of New Jersey. While it is unclear whether there will be a substantial increase in age discrimination litigation due to the amended law, the legislation does give employees over the age of 70 increased protection in the workplace. If you have any questions about age discrimination in the State of New Jersey, please do not hesitate to contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC.

* Frank A. Custode, Esq. is a Partner and Chair of the Employment Practice at Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC.

Protecting Your Condo or Coop Residents: What Association Boards Should Know

The Surfside, Florida, building collapse which killed at least 97 people to date, has raised a lot of questions about where the responsibility lies. And while structural engineers are only starting to put their investigation into high gear after the search teams have completed their mission, the disaster is already raising many questions among condo residents and Association Boards alike – especially the key question: “Can what happened in Surfside happen to our building, too?”.

Here are 10 common sense steps Condo, Coop and Home Owners Association Boards should take to protect their residents and property:

1. Review your Association’s governing documents regularly to make sure what Common Elements and Limited Common Elements the Association is responsible for overseeing, repairing and maintaining and determine what maintenance and repairs the Associations is responsible to pay for. It is always good to consult with a qualified association attorney to review the governing documents and determine whether they need to be strengthened or revised.

2. Visually inspect your buildings and structures regularly, and, if you see something concerning, be sure to engage a professional, either a structural engineer or architect, to review any issues of concern. Trust your reasonable impressions; if it looks like a problem, it is worth looking into.

3. Be sure to comply with all local building department requirements in your jurisdiction to have your building inspected or certified.

4. It is good practice to, at least every 10 years (if not sooner), engage an engineer to review your building’s roof, facade, vault spaces, areas around or below pools, balconies, patios and other areas susceptible to water infiltration and have a report prepared concerning the professionals’ findings together with an action plan.

5. If your Association’s professionals determine that capital improvements are necessary to ensure the structural stability of your buildings or improvements, take heed of those findings and then take decisive, timely steps to address them.

6. If necessary, to protect the building and more importantly, the safety of unit owners and other occupants, fiscally plan for capital improvements by having a healthy reserve fund for the Association. Do a reserve study to make sure your Association is prepared for unexpected expenditures. An Association’s reserve study, which should be based on an on-site review of the Association’s property every five years, should itself be updated annually to account for unexpected costs and new capital improvements.. On average, most Boards should be setting aside approximately 20-40 percent of their annual assessments toward reserves to ensure the future financial health of the Association.

7. When necessary, special assess the unit owners to pay for emergent repairs. While it is often difficult to convince unit owners to incur increased costs, when your professionals tell you of an emergent condition with your building, you must grant the weight to those statements they deserve. Honesty is usually the best policy. When an emergent building issue presents itself, after consulting with counsel, it is usually a good idea to explain the condition to the unit owners and advise why a special assessment is needed.

8. Review your Association’s General Liability and Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance policies with your insurance broker to see how a “collapse” is defined and whether there are any exclusions to the policy that would preclude future recovery. Also, make sure that you have a D&O policy that properly protects all directors and officers against personal liability for decisions they make as Board Members.

9. Always be guided by “reasonableness” and sound business judgment. Act for the benefit of all unit owners and do your best to keep your buildings and other structures in good and updated condition.

10. Take note of unit owner concerns. If unit owners are complaining of ongoing conditions, strange noises, leaking walls and floors, windows that no longer open, doors and walls that are no long plumb, unexpected cracking in structural components, etc., make sure to inspect these conditions in a timely manner and hire competent professionals to follow up when it makes sense to do so.

Typically, when a Board acts reasonably and with the safety of all residents in mind, it is hard to fault its logic. Almost all building issues can be addressed before they become major problems by the Board Members being attentive, listening to unit owners and consulting with qualified professionals. A well-reasoned approach based on sound business judgment is the key to ensuring that small problems don’t become larger ones and that the Association does not incur unnecessary liability later on.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Extends Tax Credits to Eligible Employers

The IRS recently issued FAQs that address the tax credits available under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the “ARP”) by employers with fewer than 500 employees and certain governmental employers without regard to the number of employees (“Eligible Employers”) for qualified sick and family leave wages (“qualified leave wages”) paid with respect to leave taken by employees beginning on April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021, as well as the equivalent credits available for certain self-employed individuals.

The ARP amended and extended the tax credits available to Eligible Employers providing paid sick and family leave consistent with the leave provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). Under the FFCRA, enacted March 18, 2020, employers were required to provide paid leave through two separate provisions: (1) the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”), under which employees received to up to 80 hours of paid sick time when they were unable to work for certain reasons related to COVID-19, and (2) Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (“Expanded FMLA”), under which employees received paid family leave to care for a child whose school or place of care was closed or child care provider was unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19. The obligation for employers to provide paid leave under the EPSLA and the Expanded FMLA applied to qualified leave wages paid with respect to leave taken by employees beginning on April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. The FFCRA provided that Eligible Employers providing paid leave that satisfied the requirements of the EPSLA and the Expanded FMLA for the periods of time during which employees were unable to work (including telework) were permitted to claim fully refundable tax credits to cover the cost of the paid leave wages. Certain self-employed persons in similar circumstances were entitled to similar credits. The Relief Act extended the tax credits available to Eligible Employers for paid sick and family leave that would have satisfied the requirements of the EPSLA or Expanded FMLA, as amended for purposes of the Relief Act, for qualified leave wages paid with respect to leave taken by employees through March 31, 2021. Under the ARP, refundable tax credits.

Under the ARP, refundable tax credits are available to Eligible Employers providing paid sick and family leave wages that otherwise would have satisfied the requirements of the EPSLA and Expanded FMLA, as amended for purposes of the ARP, paid with respect to leave taken by employees beginning on April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021. The ARP codified these credits in sections 3131 through 3133 of the Code. These tax credits are increased by the Eligible Employer’s cost of maintaining health insurance coverage allocable to the qualified leave wages (“allocable qualified health plan expenses”) and certain amounts paid under collectively bargained agreements by the Eligible Employer that are properly allocable to the qualified leave wages (“certain collectively bargained contributions”). Under section 3133 of the Code, the tax credits are also increased by the employer’s share of social security and Medicare taxes imposed on the qualified leave wages.

Self-employed individuals are entitled to equivalent credits based on similar circumstances in which the individual is unable to work.  For leave required under the FFCRA prior to January 1, 2021, the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor (DOL) administers the EPSLA and the Expanded FMLA and issued regulations at 29 CFR Part 826 and posted FAQs and relevant information about the paid leave provisions.

Why truck accidents differ from standard auto accidents

Being involved in an auto accident in New Jersey can be complicated, especially commercial vehicle mishaps. Accidents between two standard vehicles are commonly settled differently from those involving commercial trucks because truckers must adhere to certain DOT requirements, which means that they can have a greater burden of fault when the case is finalized. There are two potentially important additions to a truck accident claim.

Vicarious liability

Vicarious liability is the term for third-party responsibility when an accident occurs. This can apply in a truck accident because trucking companies can be held liable for a personal injury in certain instances when there is evidence that the driver’s employer contributed to the accident due to company policy or orders. This can mean that a truck accident claim is much more valuable in terms of whole damages than a standard collision.

New Jersey modified comparative negligence

Another issue is that New Jersey has a unique negligence law when accident claims are settled. While those who are over 50% responsible for their own accident injuries can be denied any financial recovery, those who are under 40% at fault are entitled to 100% of their total accident damages. Truck drivers are required to maintain considerably more liability protection than a standard vehicle owner, and the addition of company responsibility means that they must contribute to the total damage payout as well.

How an attorney may help

The problem that injured victims have with trucking accident claims is that it typically takes legal action to force the trucking company to pay their portion of any financial recovery. Trucking companies are notorious for fighting these claims. An experienced personal injury attorney may help ensure that all negligent actors are held responsible and keep the trucking company and insurers honest in claim payments.

What are examples of discrimination in the workplace?

Discrimination is something that no one should ever experience, and it certainly should not happen in the workplace. Employees and employers are finding new ways to combat discrimination in the workplace, but the first step in fighting workplace discrimination is identifying it.

Most people can name at least a few of the classes that have protection from discrimination, if not all of them. However, not everyone can tell you all the ways that someone can discriminate against another party. Here are just a few examples of workplace discrimination:

Unjust discipline

Employers who discriminate against certain people tend to punish them more severely than necessary. Suppose an employee normally receives a verbal warning for being 30 minutes late to work, but an employee of a protected class gets written up for being 5 minutes late. In that case, this may be because of discrimination.

No diversity

Sometimes, discrimination can occur without the discriminated class even being present. If an employer discriminates against a particular protected group, they may choose not to hire them altogether. You may not immediately notice it, but this discrimination can occur if the employees are all white or all male.


Another way of discriminating against someone is by overworking them. Two employees may have the same responsibilities, but if their employer assigns most of the work to only one of them, they may be doing it as a way of discriminating against them.

Denial or withholding of benefits

Employees who suffer from discrimination may notice that they are not getting the same fair treatment as their colleagues. An employer may approve one employee’s two-week vacation while denying the discriminated employee’s one-day off request. The employer may also award annual bonuses to everyone outside of the discriminated group.

Identification of discrimination is key

If you suspect that you or another colleague is suffering from workplace discrimination, do not just hope for the best. Contact an experienced employment law attorney to discuss what is happening in your workplace and what you can do to stop it.


Ageism in the tech workplace

Federal law, which covers all states including New Jersey, prohibits age discrimination in employment against individuals 40 or older. Though the Age Discrimination in Employment Act was created over 50 years ago, the AARP reported last year that age discrimination continues to be an acceptable bias in the workplace. This is especially true in the tech industry.

According to a recent report from Visier Insights Database, the average age for tech workers is about five years older than the average age for non-tech workers. This is true for both managers (42 vs. 47) and non-managerial employees (38 vs. 43). An assistant teaching professor of business communications states that tech firms often have a set idea of what older employees are capable of and what jobs they should be doing. This ageism bias often leads to discrimination in hiring, pay, and promotions.

According to a 2019 study by Hiscox regarding ageism in the workplace, nearly two-thirds of the respondents said they had not received any age discrimination training in the prior year. The scarcity of age discrimination training may signal that employers are likewise unaware of certain inherent biases they may hold about older workers. Providing training to employees about age discrimination is a good start to eliminating age discrimination from the workplace.

Employers should also provide training on new technology programs, which can be done through a mentorship program. Though more experienced employees are typically the ones to provide mentorship, younger, tech-savvy employees can also mentor older employees who are less familiar with new technology programs.

Even if older employees may be less familiar with newer forms of technology, they possess other skills that younger employees are less likely to have, such as communication skills. Regardless of someone’s skill set, employers who discount potential employees or employees because of their age are in violation of the law. Employees who feel they have been discriminated against may want to speak with a plaintiff-side employment attorney.

Supreme Court rules in age discrimination case

Federal workers in New Jersey and around the country could find it easier to pursue age discrimination claims after a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling. On April 6, the justices voted 8-1 to lower the burden faced by federal employees who file lawsuits due to alleged breaches of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The landmark legislation, which was signed into law in 1967 by President Johnson, protects workers who are 40 years of age or older against unfair treatment in the workplace based on their age.

Pharmacist files age discrimination lawsuit

The case the justices ruled on was filed by a Department Veterans Affairs pharmacist in 2014. The woman claimed that she was denied training opportunities, holiday pay and a promotion due, in part, to her age. The VA argued that the ADEA only applies in such cases if age is the only reason for adverse employment actions rather than one of several reasons. VA attorneys maintained that both the text of the law and previous court rulings supported their position.

Interpreting the law

The court’s opinion, which was delivered by Justice Samuel Alito, conceded that relief under the provisions of the ADEA has generally been denied when plaintiffs have been unable to establish age as the sole reason for workplace discrimination. However, the justices determined that the courts have misinterpreted the law. They ruled that federal employees must only prove that age was the reason for differential treatment and not the reason for an adverse action. The ruling does not apply to private-sector workers because Congress put different rules into place for federal employees when the ADEA was expanded to cover them in 1974.

Holding employers responsible for discrimination

If you have been treated unfairly at work and you think your age was the reason why, you may wish to consult with an attorney experienced in these matters. An attorney could assess the merits of your claim and how the law may help you. An attorney could also encourage your employer to settle the matter privately at the negotiating table to protect its reputation and avoid the costs of protracted litigation.

How older employers might combat age bias

Even though employers are supposed to prevent it, people who are age 40 and older may experience discrimination in New Jersey. Sometimes, this bias may not even be conscious, or the discrimination might be subtle. There are certain steps they can take that might reduce the likelihood of being devalued in the workplace because of age.

For example, making sure to dress professionally and getting a contemporary haircut can be important in making a good first impression. This should be bolstered by staying current with technology and innovations in the industry. Older workers should still try to attend conferences, talk with industry leaders and read about what is happening in their field. At the same time, they should not expect to be automatically respected by their coworkers based on their age and experience. Instead, they should try to work with and learn from younger colleagues. There is a stereotype that older workers cannot handle change, so they should make an effort to demonstrate that this is not true.

As workers get older, they may want to try to avoid getting back on the job market since they could face discrimination while job hunting. However, this might also be a good time to acquire fresh skills and move into a new career.

The Age Discrimination Act of 1967 protects individuals over 40 against age discrimination. People are protected against discrimination based on a number of other factors as well, including religion, race, disability and national origin. Workers who think they are dealing with discrimination at work might want to talk to an attorney about their rights. The first step may be to find out the employer’s policy about discrimination and what the steps are supposed to be. If going through workplace channels is not satisfactory, the employee might want to seek legal solutions.

What car crash victims can do about delayed injuries

Some car crash injuries won’t appear until days or weeks after the accident. This is why victims in New Jersey need to be careful about signing a release of liability form with the other party’s auto insurance company. They may want a complete medical evaluation done, too, so that they have a chance to seek compensation for all their injuries.

It’s a good idea to know what sort of injuries can make a delayed appearance and how they can be identified. It all depends on the symptoms that one is experiencing. Headaches, for example, can signify a brain injury, especially a concussion; a neck injury; or a blood clot. If it’s combined with neck and shoulder pain, the headache may point to whiplash.

This pain in the neck and shoulders may also be the result of a herniated disc. Herniated discs will often pinch or press against the nerves in the spine, leading to pain, tingling and numbness in the affected area. One may also suffer from lower back pain; although, this symptom by itself may point to a sprain or muscle damage.

Some injuries need immediate attention even though their symptoms could be delayed. For example, internal bleeding will cause abdominal pain and deep bruising. Then there are the emotional effects of accidents; victims may subsequently develop PTSD or anxiety.

A personal injury claim could cover both monetary and non-monetary losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages and the physical and emotional suffering underwent. Since New Jersey is a no-fault state, however, only those who have suffered a major injury or disability can file a third-party insurance claim. To see what their options are, a victim might want to see a lawyer.