Jennifer A. Passannante and Christopher J. Killmurray prevailed in opposing plaintiff’s appeal of judgment of no cause in civil suit against a local Police Department claiming unlawful arrest and assault.

Partners Jennifer A. Passannante and Christopher J. Killmurray prevailed in opposing the plaintiff’s appeal of the Law Division’s entry of judgment of no cause after a jury trial in his civil suit against a local Police Department claiming unlawful arrest and assault.

The matter took place in 2009 when police were called to the plaintiff’s home after his wife struck him.  When the plaintiff’s wife was not arrested, the plaintiff became angry and poked an officer in the chest which resulted in him being arrested.  The plaintiff offered a different version of accounts in trial claiming he was assaulted by the officers after he directed them off his property.

Pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, the plaintiff pleaded guilty to a municipal ordinance violation.  Passannante and Killmurray defended the Township of Edison against the complaint alleging violations of the New Jersey Constitution, violations of the New Jersey Civil Rights Act, assault and unlawful arrest.

In affirming the entry of judgment of no cause, the Appellate Division rejected plaintiff's argument that he was entitled to a new trial because his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance and held that there is no constitutional right to counsel in ordinary civil cases such and thus no right to a new trial based upon alleged ineffective assistance of counsel.