Lawsuits and Legal Actions

Justice Department lawsuit accuses N.J. of discrimination in written police tests

New Jersey’s civil service test for police officers seeking a promotion to sergeant discriminates against African-American and Hispanic candidates, according to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice Thursday.

Even African-Americans and Hispanics who pass the multiple-choice test are less likely to receive promotions because their scores are lower, according to the 10-page lawsuit filed against the state and the Civil Service Commission. The suit seeks to block the state from using the test.

More delays for Hoboken's Southwest Redevelopment plan

More delays for Hoboken's Southwest Redevelopment plan
May 17, 2007 JJ

The Hoboken Southwest Redevelopment plan may face further delays, as state Superior Court Judge John O’Shaughnessy remanded it back to the planning board because a witness was not sworn in while giving testimony to board.

The judge ruled that planning consultant of Heyer, Gruel & Associates had not been sworn while giving testinomy at a board hearing last year.

The board was considering a blight study that was required to declare the southwest of Hoboken an area in need of development. The planning board must now hold another public meeting to rehear the tesimony under oath.

But the judge did not rule on the substance of the complaint. One of the plaintiffs, Dawn Zimmer, who is in the run-off for the Fourth Ward City Council seat, has been calling for more park space as well as reduced density of development. She said she wants a traffic study and flood study completed before the plan is finalized.

Councilman Peter Cammarano, who also is a member of the planning board, said it is extremely unlikley that the final outcome would change, and that the decision was based on a technicality.

NJ.Com Comments:

7048. Port-O-Podium Pete loses in Court
by TrutzFirst, 5/16/07 9:52 ET

Members of the Southwest Parks Coalition (Stojovic, Soares, Gregorios, Zimmer and a few others ) filed to throw out the testimony of the city's "expert testimony"

The judge sided with the Plantiff's because the "experts were not sworn in. Any amateur could figure that one out.

What was Councilman Preppy Pete doing that night? Did he leave his law book home?

Was he fixing his Burberrey Tie?

Or was he absent that day at Seton Hall "Law School"

Now they SW Redevelopment zone has to start from Scratch.

All because Preppy Pete was too stupid and not paying attention.

Lawsuit claims zoning board rulings in Union City favor mayor's backers

For the second time in a year, Assemblyman and Union City Mayor Brian Stack has been accused in court papers of orchestrating rulings by the Union City Zoning Board to benefit his political supporters.

"Simply put, Zoning Board approvals are for sale," states the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Newark yesterday by Leonia developer Ralph Lieber. "Developers who contribute to the mayor's various war chests are rewarded with unanimous decisions for their projects. ... Those few dissenters who refuse to 'play the game' or those not savvy enough to even know the game is being played, risk almost certain rejection."

Speculation on Gay Marriage Ruling Swirls in New Jersey

TRENTON, Oct. 22 — The New Jersey Supreme Court is carrying much constitutional freight as it considers whether the state will be the second in the nation to find that gay couples have the right to marry. But for those watching the court, speculation has centered lately on smaller issues, like the chief justice’s birthday and the re-election prospects of Senator Robert Menendez.

Lawrence S. Lustberg, who argues frequently before the court and represents the gay plaintiffs in the case at hand, said the decision in the case, Lewis v. Harris, “is the most eagerly anticipated opinion” he has ever seen.

Bribes, Payoffs, Politics: Tapes could be trouble for Menendez

The psychiatrist at the center of recent Hudson County corruption cases recorded U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez's close ally invoking the powerful Democrat's name while pressuring the doctor to divvy up county contracts, he and several others said Wednesday.

Dr. Oscar Sandoval, who bribed and then helped imprison a former county executive, said he made tapes that back up his earlier allegations that attorney and Menendez friend Donald Scarinci ordered him to share his county jail contracts with another physician, or else lose them.

Top court passes; teen sex offender must notify dates' parents

A convicted teen sex offender must warn the parents of anyone he dates about his crime until he is 18 after the New Jersey Supreme Court declined to hear arguments in the case.

Eminent domain showdown tomorrow

HOBOKEN — The city council is once again being asked to authorize a controversial plan to take two businesses in the Northwest Redevelopment Zone — but its anyone's guess if Mayor David Roberts can win the five votes needed to introduce the ordinance at tomorrow's council meeting.

In March, the council withdrew an ordinance authorizing the condemnation of two Grand Street properties, citing a lawsuit filed by the redeveloper, Ursa/Tarragon.

Supreme Court trims whistleblower rights

Supreme Court trims whistleblower rights
5-4 ruling rejects a First Amendment shield

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court made life a bit tougher for government whistleblowers yesterday, saying the First Amendment doesn't protect public employees who disclose waste and fraud as part of their jobs.

In a victory for the Bush administration, the justices said the government's interest in effectively managing operations outweighs the interests that protect employee speech, even in cases where employees may be reporting inefficiencies or wrongdoing.

Critics predicted that the impact on public employees -- about 20 million at the local, state and federal levels -- would be sweeping, from silencing police officers who fear retribution for reporting department corruption, to subduing workers who want to reveal problems with government hurricane preparedness or terrorist-related security.

If it's 'open,' why not videotape it?

Jersey Journal Editorial
Monday, November 28, 2005

There was an interesting state appeals court ruling Wednesday that will probably be closely read by Hudson County's municipal officials involving the rights, or rather lack of rights, to videotape open government meetings.   The three-judge court unanimously dismissed a lawsuit by a Camden County man who claimed he was wrongfully arrested for attempting to videotape two borough council meetings in September 2000.

Court revokes right to tape official forums

Taking back a right the public has had for 21 years, a three judge state appeals court ruled yesterday the New Jersey Constitution does not protect citizens who videotape open government meetings.  The court unanimously dismissed a lawsuit by a Camden County man who claimed he was wrongfully arrested for attempting to videotape two borough council meetings in September 2000.

New Jersey Supreme Court removes "gag order" on lawyer ethics complaints

Unanimously declaring one of its own rules unconstitutional, the New Jersey Supreme Court yesterday freed clients to talk about ethics complaints they file against their lawyers.

The rule -- which in effect gagged most complaining clients forever, and others until an ethics investigation was completed -- violated their right of free speech, the justices said.