CJ Griffin Quoted in The Star-Ledger Regarding Town Dropping Lawsuit Brought Against Resident For Filing OPRA Requests
CJ Griffin, Director of the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, was quoted in The Star-Ledger article, “N.J. town to drop lawsuit against woman, 82, who it claimed filed ‘voluminous’ public records requests.” The article discusses the case of an 82-year old Irvington resident who was sued by the township for filing OPRA requests with the township. Griffin, together with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, agreed to provide pro bono legal representation to the resident to defend her in the township’s lawsuit. The article further discusses that the resident subsequently learned of the township’s intention to drop the lawsuit against her, a day after she secured an attorney.
“We look forward to Irvington dismissing this case, but it shouldn’t have taken national press coverage and the ACLU stepping in for them to back down,” McDaniel’s attorney, CJ Griffin, who took the case on pro-bono Wednesday, said in a statement sent to NJ Advance Media. “This law(suit) should never have been filed in the first place — it was clearly an attempt to keep Ms. McDaniel from being civically engaged and ‘checking under the hood’ of her local government to make sure everything was operating correctly.
“Instead of treating civic engagement as a nuisance, towns should welcome the public’s desire to participate in government and improve their communities.”
Both Griffin and [the resident] said that a dangerous precedent could be set were townships be allowed to sue residents for seeking public records.
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This story was also featured in the April 1, 2022, POLITICO New Jersey Playbook