Law & Justice

Foregger Hastily Leaves Court Upon Losing Lawsuit Against Berkeley Heights Township

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On Friday, June 2, 2017 Superior Court Judge ruled against Dr. Thomas Foregger's attempt to obtain an unredacted police department invoice related to the Winter Walk in 2016.   Credits: Barbara Rybolt - TAPinto Archive
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BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Today, a Superior Court judge ruled against Dr. Thomas Foregger's attempt to obtain a non-redacted invoice related to the Berkeley Heights Police Department's coverage at the Winter Walk on Dec. 3, 2016. Foregger is running in the Republican Primary for the party's nomination to run for a seat on the council in November. 

Foregger was reported to have quickly left the courtroom after the ruling was made.

The Honorable Robert Mega, J.S.C., heard oral arguments and considered all the papers submitted related to the Order to Show Cause and Verified Complaint filed by Foregger against the Township of Berkeley Heights and the Township Clerk, Ana Minkoff in the matter entitled Foregger v. Township of Berkeley Heights, et al., Docket No. UNN-L-1442-17.  

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The lawsuit, which alleged the township violated the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and the law of access to the details of an unredacted invoice by the Police Department for coverage of the Winter Walk,  was filed on April 11.

After hearing oral argument and considering all the papers submitted, the Honorable Robert Mega, J.S.C., rendered his ruling on the record in favor of the Township.   

Foregger challenged the redactions made by the township in response to an OPRA request he filed.  While the township gave him the requested document, it removed all references to the police officers' assignments for the event, "based on the safety and security exemptions under OPRA," according to Township Attorney Joseph Sordillo in a statement issued this afternoon.

"After extensive briefing and oral argument, Judge Mega held that the Township’s redactions were appropriate and proper under OPRA and the common law right of access.  Judge Mega stated that the Township provided sufficient justification for its redactions in its initial response to Mr. Foregger, carefully explaining the basis being the potential risk to security and safety of future similar events."

Sordillo's statement said, the judge also ruled the township could make the redactions "under New Jersey case law, Executive Orders and Regulations, as providing such information could allow a potential threat to calculate an attack, knowing the location and number of police officers," which could compromise security and compromise the safety at people at similar types of events.

The order memorializing the decision will be issued at a later day.

Both Foregger and Sordillo were contacted for comments, but neither had returned the phone calls before publishing. If either responds, the article will be updated.

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