Municipal Litigation

The most frequently used remedy to recover against municipalities and public officials for alleged wrongful conduct is the Civil Rights Act of 1871, more commonly known as Section 1983.

Claims made against police departments include police brutality, excessive use of force, false arrest, false imprisonment, failure to provide adequate police protection, and malicious prosecution. Claims leveled against municipal entities include discrimination in employment, wrongful discharge, and the improper taking of land via zoning regulations.

In addition to Constitutional violations, claimants can allege a variety of statutory and common law torts for alleged acts of general negligence, often involving motor vehicle accidents or slip and fall incidents. The law regarding general liability, as it relates to municipal entities, is subject to frequent and sometimes dramatic fluctuation. The attorneys in the firm's Municipal Law Group make it a practice to maintain an avid and vigilant understanding of this amorphous area of the law and the manner in which those adjustments may impact the firm's clients.

At issue in most such general liability claims brought against a municipal entity is the struggle between the public policy in favor of insulation of the municipality versus the potential plaintiff's right to pursue a claim against that governmental body. Maintaining an advantage in terms of knowledge regarding the salient issues and application of the law to those factual scenarios is often the deciding factor in that contest. This highly specialized and complex litigation requires extensive experience and expertise, which we have consistently demonstrated in our representation of public officials, municipalities, and public employees at both the State and Federal levels.

More importantly, however, is the proactive approach taken by our attorneys. Periodic legal updates are designed to apprise our clients of recent decisions by State and Federal Courts. Legal education courses and seminars are also provided to our clients to address the entire range of issues which may confront a municipality. This interactive approach with our clients coupled with our technical knowledge enables us to move swiftly to respond when the rights and interests of our clients are in jeopardy.

Our Municipal Law Department serves as Township Attorney and Director of Law to large central New Jersey municipalities. Advice and counsel are provided to the Mayor, Township Council, Administrative Departments, various boards and committees, Municipal Court and the Police Department. We are responsible for review and/or preparation of contracts and bid specifications for vendors and service providers to the Townships responsible for negotiating and coordinating open space acquisitions within the Township, as well as for the acquisition of land by eminent domain for public works projects.

As Township Attorney we also defend elected officials and administrative employees in any litigation filed against the Townships, its officers and employees. As Director of Law, the Township Attorney is responsible for the supervision of the Municipal Prosecutors, Public Defender, tax counsel, labor counsel and all special counsel.