Case Name: Schmidt v. Rockaway Township et. al.
Docket Number: MRS-L-002535-18
County / Vicinage: Morris / Vicinage 10 (Morris/Sussex)
Filing Date: December 28, 2018
Amended Complaint Filing Date: December 28, 2018
Judge: Stuart A. Minkowtiz, A.J.S.C.
*The hearing date for this matter is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on February 12, 2019 in front of Judge Minkowitz. Directions to the Court can be found online: https://njcourts.gov/courts/directions/morris.html
Open Public Records Act complaint was filed by John P. Schmidt after receiving a denial of access for e-mails and documents attached in the e-mails. According to court filings, Schmidt, who was a pro-se co-plaintiff in Salberg et. al. v. Township of Rockaway et. al. (Docket No. MRS-C-100-18), learned from fellow pro-se co-plaintiff Mary Hollenbeck that Carl Perrone, Esq. of Iaciofano & Perrone, who serve as Township Attorneys, that Mr. Perrone sent numerous e-mails to Hollenbeck during the appeal litigation when both Schmidt and Hollenbeck were involved in litigation against the Township. Schmidt, who did not get any of the e-mails and Hollenbeck who did were concerned. On December 10, 2018 Schmidt filed an OPRA request for the e-mails and any attachments contained in the e-mails as Hollenbeck suggested she would prefer him to get the documents through the Township according to her certification.
On December 21, 2018 the Township’s Custodian of Records, Christina Clipperton responded to Schmidt and his attorney, Albert K. Marmero, of the Woodbury based firm, Grace, Marmero & Associates, writing “I have been advised that there are no records responsive to this item of Mr. Schmidt’s request.”
The court filings contain a screen shot of Hollenbeck’s e-mail inbox showing numerous e-mails from Mr. Perrone and one e-mail which Hollenbeck shared with Schmidt according to certifications submitted by Schmidt and Hollenbeck. That e-mail, sent by Perrone contained a draft brief, which Mr. Perrone wrote he re-drafted. The Defendants submitted an answer stating that they are not the custodian of the records requested and the requested records are not “Government Records.”
The Township is being represented by John M. Mills, III of Morristown and as of January 23, 2019 a day after Mills submitted an answer, the Rockaway Township council authorized Damiano M. Fracasso, Esq., of Mt. Olive to represent the Custodian of Records, Christina Clipperton. According to a letter sent to the court on January 9, 2019 by Clipperton, the Rockaway Township Council by a vote of 6-0 passed a motion directing the Township Attorneys and Mr. Mills to recuse themselves from all participation in the litigation.
Filed Complaint, Amended Complaint, Letter Brief, Exhibits, Certifications of Schmidt and Hollenbeck, correspondence(s) to/from the court and answer.
Signed Order to Show Cause
Substitution of Attorney for Christina Clipperton
Township’s January 29, 2019 letter to the court
Plaintiff’s Reply Brief and Exhibits
*Once other documents are filed with the court, this page will be updated. Please Check Back soon.