|Stanley Turitz, Esq., Township Attorney|
|Address:||818 Teaneck Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666|
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, and 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 Township government in a number of ways. They attend all meetings of the boards to which they are assigned, they render advisory opinions to Township 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, and 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 Township Attorney serves as attorney for the Self-insurance Commission which administers the self-insurance program. That program, in existence since 1976, covers all risks in Teaneck except for fire damage to major buildings and liability for automotive equipment. In addition, the Township Attorney serves as the attorney for the Rent Board, and provides assistance to the Library Board, Historic Preservation Commission and other boards as may be requested.
The following is a brief summary of major pending litigation as of December 31, 2002:
1. Township of Teaneck v. County of Bergen: The Township obtained a consent judgment against the County requiring that park improvements and amenities be installed and finished, in Overpeck Park, by September 2009. The judgment contains bench marks and penalties for failure to meet the benchmarks.
2. Teaneck v. Gore: Suit to reverse Township's action concerning compensation paid for lifting a deed restriction. First suit was dismissed for lack of prosecution. Second suit reinstituted on same basis.
3. Tax Revaluation: State is seeking to order the Township to reevaluate all properties for tax purposes. Settlement discussion continue.
4. Teaneck us. CSX Transportation: The Township brought suit against CSX for repair and maintain the West Englewood Avenue pedestrian tunnel. The Township is seeking a court order to have CSX meet ADA requirements to make the tunnel handicap accessible as part of its obligation to maintain and repair.
5. Salzman v. Teaneck: Case settled by court order. Plaintiff refused to sign voucher.
6. Teaneck adv. Univision: Case in abeyance. Stems from Board of Adjustment denial of antennas.
7. Star v. Teaneck: Case involves negligence claim after court ordered vacation of property for lack of habitability.
8. 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 2002, these cases were being defended by the Township Attorney:
9. Various State Tax Court Appeals: There are numerous cases being defended by the Township Attorney. Most involve commercial or industrial properties. Several involve institutions requesting exemption from all real estate taxes. At the end of 2002 there were eleven such cases.
10. Various Construction Cases: From time to time, property owners may seriously violate Building Department regulations. It may be necessary to take them to Teaneck Municipal Court to try and obtain compliance with the law. Teaneck is primarily concerned with having the violations abated, but the law provides penalties and fines for non-compliance which can be costly. In the event that compliance and payment of the fines are not made, Teaneck has the option of enforcement in the Municipal or Superior Court. These cases concern the failure on the part of the property owner to obtain certificates of occupancy, building permits for work, required inspections, etc.
11. Various Labor Cases: Teaneck is involved in a number of labor and employment cases such as several cases brought by Firefighter Brennan, Police Lieutenant Mancini, as well as other employees and unions. All of these cases are being handled by labor counsel.