Dear Coalition for the Homeless of Ocean County,
I write to update you on two developments in the Right to Shelter Litigation:
1. Discovery from County
As you know, at the last court hearing, the judge denied the County's motion to dismiss all of our claims, and instead allowed the Homeless Individuals to continue the claim that there is a right to shelter under New Jersey's statutory law. Most recently, we asked Judge Grasso (in the first attachment to this e-mail) to permit us to obtain information from the County through discovery, so that we could use that information to amend and expand the claims of the Homeless Individuals against the County.
During a telephone conference with the judge, the County argued that no discovery at all should be allowed. The judge did not accept the County's position, and instead directed the County's attorneys to speak with this law firm about the specific information that the County will have to provide. The judge also agreed with us that the Homeless Individuals should not need to file their amended and expanded claims against the County until after the County provides some discovery. Thus, we will not have to file those claims on July 1 (the originally scheduled date). After the telephone conference, we had a cooperative call with one of the County's lawyers about discovery. We also remain ready to cooperate with the County about other issues if the opportunity arises.
2. Lakewood Threatening Tent City
Thanks to our Coalition, for more than a year, the homeless have been able to continue living in the Lakewood tent city. However, today, I received a letter from Lakewood's lawyers (the second attachment to this e-mail) threatening to go to the judge and seek a court order because of what Lakewood contends are 15 structures, a well and a generator added since last summer when the Consent Order was signed by the judge. We do not believe that this is accurate, but we are going to attempt to resolve Lakewood's concerns. I have discussed this development with the lawyer for Minister Steve Brigham, Todd Wilson, and Todd and I will be speaking with Lakewood's lawyer soon. This way, hopefully, we can continue to cooperate with Lakewood and keep the light on the real problem: the lack of available shelter in the County.
Jeffrey J. Wild
Member of the Firm
Lowenstein Sandler PC
65 Livingston Avenue
Roseland, New Jersey 07068
1251 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10020