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Susko Case Still Ongoing

Just to keep all of you up to speed,  I will report today on a few developments in the Susko case.  All images if clicked on will open the document in Google drive.

On January 8, Belmar filed a letter with Judge Gummer asking her to reconsider whether Belmar’s violation of the Public Trust Doctrine by the mis-use of beach fees constitutes a civil rights violation:

Belmar letterThe reason why it matters is that to the extent that the court finds the Borough’s actions were a violation under the Civil Rights Act it entitles the plaintiffs to be awarded reasonable attorneys’ fees.

The Plaintiffs didn’t oppose the request because although they had addressed the civil rights issue in their trial briefs, DuPont never did.  The Plaintiffs wanted the issue fully and fairly decided by the court before any possible appeal.  Below is from a brief filed by the Plaintiffs in response to Belmar’s letter:Motion to oppose

Another issue still to be decided is  –  although they claim they were going to pay it back  –  whether the $400,000 taken from the beach utility to pay municipal expenditures in the Partners settlement constitutes a civil rights violation of beach badge buyers.  The plaintiffs see nothing to indicate that the Borough planned to pay the beach utility back and in any case they feel it doesn’t matter and that it’s still a civil rights violation.

The third issue yet to be decided is whether the Borough’s adoption of Ordinance 2015-15, which doubled parking fees on the east side of Ocean Avenue, violated the Public Trust Doctrine and Beach Fee Statute, and if so, whether the adoption of the Ordinance deprived Plaintiffs of a right protected by the New Jersey Civil Rights Act.

Here is what the Borough contends:parking-belmar

The Plaintiffs  are looking for judgments that the Public Trust Doctrine and Beach Fee statutes require the deposit of the parking fees into the Beach Utility Fund, and that only those fees that the Borough can demonstrate (through its digital parking kiosk system) related to hours of the day or days of the week the beaches were not in operation, can be deposited into the Borough’s current fund account or Parking Utility Account.  See below:parking

As with the motion to reconsider, the Partners issue and the parking issue involve arguments over whether the Borough violated the civil rights of those who bought badges or paid for parking.  The Plaintiffs’ ability to recoup attorneys’ fees will hinge on the outcomes.  If you scroll down to page 36 of the above document there are arguments made as to whether protections under the Civil Rights Act extend beyond the traditional racial and gender biases to include other groups whose “substantive” rights have been violated.

The arguments in this case were originally scheduled to be heard this past week but the judge was assigned a new, unrelated trial to be heard next week so the Susko case has been temporarily adjourned.

Will keep you all posted.


  1. OLD MAN wrote:

    Maybe each Belmar resident should hire their own lawyer to keep up with all the law suits?

    Saturday, February 27, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Permalink
  2. ms.perspicacity wrote:

    Belmar residents need to vote out the scofflaws and replace them with responsible and law-abiding people who know how to read; changing the form of local government to one without the strong mayor is an option. One problem is how to wake up the blind followers of the mayor so they see through his propaganda and refuse to be bought off with cheap hotdogs and marshmallows. If the repercussions of sleazy deal-making and aggressive, self-serving actions hit home more meaningfully and affect the pocketbooks and safety of those who voted for him and the council members, then something could happen. No more “it’s free” nonsense. No tax increases? Yeah, the Borough is living on credit and the piper will have to be paid eventually – after Matt is gone, having moved on to more fruitful pastures. Justice through more lawsuits is an unfortunate but necessary option for the moment.

    Saturday, February 27, 2016 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

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