Author: Donald Scarinci

NJ Appeals Court Clarifies OPRA Personnel Exemption

NJ Court Rules Communications Between Recused Municipal Lawyer and Substitute Counsel Are Privileged

New Jersey municipalities often retain more than one attorney to handle their legal matters. In a recent decision, a New Jersey court confirmed that the attorneys should be able to confidentially share information. In 297 Palisades Urban Renewal v. Borough of Bogota, the court specifically held that communications between recused

NJ Supreme Court Rules Faulkner Act Violation Warrants Award of Attorneys Fees

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently addressed the role of the clerk in determining whether referendum petitions meet the requirements of the Faulkner Act, as well the repercussions for exceeding that authority. In a precedential ruling, the panel held that the City of Hoboken Clerk lacked the discretion to prevent

NJ Appeals Court Addresses Separation of Powers in County Executive Governments

A recent decision by the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court sheds light on the separation of powers between the county executive and board of freeholders in a county executive form of government. In Donovan v. Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the appeals court specifically considered (1)

NJ Council on Local Mandates Rejects Bail Reform Challenge

Former Mayor Bencivengo’s Bribery Conviction Upheld

Former Mayor John Bencivengo’s conviction has been upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The court ruled that a town official can be convicted for taking bribes to guide school board contracts. This is true even if the official cannot make good on his promises –

Aggregate Campaign Contribution Limits Violate First Amendment

The recent opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Committee has struck a blow to the regulation of money in elections. The Court struck down the federal limits on the total amounts individual donors may contribute to candidates and political committees. The Court reasoned that donating

Should OPRA Be Amended to Include State Legislators?

Momentum is growing among New Jersey municipalities to expand the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (OPRA) to include state lawmakers. The basic argument is “if us, why not them?” Under the current law, OPRA’s disclosure requirements apply to “public agencies,” which are defined as: The executive branch of state

High-Profile OPRA Case Results in $542,000 in Legal Fees for NJ City

High-Profile OPRA Case Results in $542,000 in Legal Fees for NJ City

Gannet Co.’s lawsuit against borough of Raritan is one of the longest-running suits under New Jersey’s Open Public Record Act (OPRA). In the latest development, a special master appointed by the court has awarded the newspaper company $542,000 in legal fees. The case, which dates back to 2009, involves Raritan’s