General Information of the Legal Department
The following is a brief summary of major pending litigation:
1. Abraham v. Teaneck Ethics Board: After hearings in 1993, the Teaneck Ethics Board found former Mayor John Abraham guilty of violations of the Township's Ethics Code and imposed a fine of $250. Mr. Abraham appealed the conviction to an Administrative Law Judge who confirmed the determination. Mr. Abraham has filed a Notice of Appeal to the Appellate Division of the Court.
2. Bachner v. Teaneck: The Township, Mayor, Board of Education and a private bus company were sued for failure to provide school bus service to a Teaneck student for transportation to a religious private school in Oakland. At the end of 2000, the pleadings had been filed, but not much else had taken place in this case. If the Plaintiff moves the matter, it will be heard by the Commissioner of Education.
3. Township of Teaneck et als. v. County of Bergen: The Township has joined with Ridgefield Park in suing the County of Bergen for failure to build/improve Overpeck County Park as agreed to when the Township donated land for the creation of this County park.
4. Kociolek & Michels v. Township of Teaneck Planning Board et al.: Plaintiffs are challenging the Planning Board's approval of an assisted care living facility and agreement with the Redevelopment Agency and zoning ordinances.
5. River Edge Wine & Liquors & Patel v. Teaneck: The Plaintiff is challenging the Township's denial of a liquor license transfer.
6. Kim's Construction v. Teaneck v. Criterion Flooring: Plaintiff Kim's Construction was hired to make certain repairs and upgrades at Fire Station No. 2 - Cedar Lane. Plaintiff has not completed the work and filed for Bankruptcy. The Township has a third party claim against Criterion Flooring and the bonding company.
7. Various Self-insurance Fund Cases: Since Teaneck is self insured for most accident cases (other than automobile), we defend claims involving damages alleged to have been caused on our streets, parks and other public property. At the end of the year 2000 there were seven such cases being defended by the Township Attorney which will be tried throughout 2001.
8. Various State Tax Court Appeals: There are numerous State Tax Court Appeals being defended by the Township Attorney. Most of these cases involve commercial or industrial properties. Several of the cases are by institutions requesting exemption from all real estate taxes. At the end of 2000, there were six such cases which will be tried throughout 2001.
9. Various Construction Cases: From time to time, when residents seriously violate Building Department regulations, it is necessary to take them to Teaneck Municipal Court to try and obtain compliance with the law. Teaneck is mainly concerned with having the violations removed and the unsafe conditions cleared up, but the law provides penalties and the fines for non-compliance can be quite high. In the event that compliance and payment of fines is not made, Teaneck has the option of enforcement in the Municipal or the Superior Court. These cases concern the failure on the part of the homeowners to obtain certificates of occupancy, building permits for extensions, required inspections, etc.
10. Various Labor Cases: Teaneck is involved in a number of labor and employment cases, such as several cases brought by Firefighter Brennan, by Police Lieutenant Mancini, as well as other employees and unions, all of which are being handled by labor counsel.
Further information, as available, may be obtained from the Township Clerk's office.
|Stanley Turitz, Exq. Township Attorney|
The Township's Legal Department comprises attorneys serving the Township, the Planning Board, the Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Rent Board, the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the Environmental Commission, the Historic Preservation Commission as well as a Labor Attorney, a Municipal Prosecutor and a Public Defender. Each of these attorneys is in private practice and serves the Township on a part-time basis. The Township Code of Ethics bars each of the appointed attorneys, and other members of their firms, from appearing before any Township agency, board or department on behalf of private clients.
Apart from litigation, the members of the Department serve the municipal government in a number of ways. They attend all meetings of the boards to which they are assigned, they render advisory opinions to municipal appointed and elected officials and they facilitate the business of government, including drafting public contracts and local laws.
The Municipal Prosecutor and the Public Defender attend all sessions of the Municipal Court, where the Prosecutor presents all criminal charges on behalf of the Township and the Police Department. The Public Defender assists those defendants who cannot afford legal counsel. The Public Defender also acts as legal counsel to the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
The Municipal Attorney may also serve as attorney for the Self-insurance Commission which administers the self-insurance program. This program, in existence since 1976, covers all risks in Teaneck except for fire damage to major buildings and liability for automotive equipment.
Back to Teaneck Municipal Services 2001