Stevens vs. FBW
In case any readers or law industry professionals are interested:
NEW JERSEY APPELLATE COURT TO HEAR ORAL ARGUMENTS IN 4-YEAR OLD FRIVOLOUS LAWSUIT; PLAITIFF STEVENS INSTITUTE HAS SOUGHT TO SILENCE CRITICS OF ITS DEVELOPMENT PLANS THROUGH RELENTLESS LITIGATION
WHO: The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division will hear oral arguments in the case of Stevens Institute of Technology against the advocacy group Fund for a Better Waterfront (FBW). The three-judge panel is comprised of Dorothea Wefing, Presiding Judge, Lorraine C. Parker and Clarkson S. Fisher, Jr.
WHAT: Attorneys representing defendants FBW have labeled this case a “SLAPP suit” (Strategic Litigation against Public Participation), in fact, one of the most egregious examples of such a case in the country. SLAPP suits are typically initiated by developers seeking to silence critics of their projects and inhibit a full and robust debate on issues of public concern. This case is also unusual in that it has been litigated by an institution of higher learning.
WHEN: Thursday, January 18 at 10 a.m.
WHERE: Superior Court of N.J., Appellate Division, Part E, William J. Brennan, Jr. Courthouse, 583 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, N.J.
WHY: In March of 2002, contractors working for Stevens Institute of Technology began blasting and excavating serpentine rock at its campus in Hoboken, N.J. This rock contained naturally occurring asbestos. FBW filed a complaint with the Hoboken Board of Health and complained publicly that Stevens was not wetting the site, thus allowing asbestos to be released into the air, posing a public health risk. Throughout 2002, FBW also objected to development plans by Stevens to expand its campus to Hoboken’s waterfront. In January 2003, Stevens filed this defamation lawsuit against FBW. On July 21, 2004, Judge Camille Kenny dismissed the defamation count of this lawsuit and later that year, Judge Frederick Theemling dismissed the final count “of last resort,” a prima facie tort. Steven Institute appealed the dismissals despite the fact that New Jersey Courts have consistently ruled in favor of defendants in similar cases.
For more information visit betterwaterfront.org or call FBW attorneys:
New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center
Renee Steinhagen, Esq. 973-735-0523
Ira Karasick, Esq. 973-509-1800 x32
Columbia University Law School, Environmental Law Clinic
Ed Lloyd, Esq. 212-854-4376