Hoboken Rent Control Ordinance v. The N.J. Consumer Fraud Act

A proposed amendment to the Hoboken Rent Control Ordinance that would limit the payouts of thousands of dollars in illegally charged rents may infringe upon the protections afforded by the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

Before taking such action, it would be wise for the Hoboken City Council to review the  Supreme Court of the United States decision in COHEN v. DE LA CRUZ ET AL, No. 96-1923. Argued January 20, 1998-Decided March 24, 1998.  

Is the Hoboken City Council legislating an illegal amendment to the N.J. Consumer Fraud Act?   Legislation to limit damages to the Landlord may take on the appearence legalizing Consumer Fraud and fly in the face of several Court decisions including the US Supreme Court.

Opinion of the Court

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES


No. 96-1923


EDWARD S. COHEN, PETITIONER v. HILDA
de la CRUZ et al.

ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT

[March 24, 1998]

Justice O


Attachments

Comments (1)

Esq Peter
Said this on 10-18-2005 At 11:54 pm
Ed, the bankruptcy court ruled as follows;

DISCUSSION

In Cohen, the debtor was a landlord who had been sued by his tenants in a prepetition action in state court for charging rents in excess of a local ordinance. After the debtor filed for Chapter 7 relief, the plaintiffs initiated an adversary proceeding to determine the excessive rents to be nondischargeable under § 523(a)(2)(A) as payments obtained by actual fraud. In the bankruptcy action, the plaintiffs sought treble damages and attorney fees and costs pursuant to the state law under which the initial action was brought. The bankruptcy court ruled in favor of the tenants and concluded that the debtor had committed actual fraud under state law. See De La Cruz v. Cohen (In re Cohen), 185 B.R. Case No. 98-11753 K; AP98-1182 K Page 4 171, 180 (Bankr. D.N.J. 1994).

The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act provides, in relevant part:
Any person who suffers any ascertainable loss of moneys or property . . . as a result of the use . . . or practice declared as unlawful under this act or the act hereby amended and supplemented may bring an action or assert a counterclaim
therefor in any court of competent jurisdiction. In any action under this section the court shall, in additional to any other appropriate relief award threefold the damages sustained by any person in interest. In all actions under this section . .
the court shall award reasonable attorney fees, filing fees and reasonable costs of suit.
N.J.S.A. 56:8-19 (1989) (emphasis added).

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