Wednesday, November 12, 2014

OPRA lawsuit filed against Franklin Township Fire District

On November 12, 2014, Clinton attorney Walter M. Luers filed an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) lawsuit on my behalf seeking a settlement agreement that resolved a 2011 defamation lawsuit filed by a former Franklin Township (Somerset County) fire commissioner against two volunteer fire departments and several individually named fire officials.

The 2011 suit was filed by former Franklin Township Fire Commissioner Michael Gilliam against Fire District No. 3, Commissioner Douglas Krushinski, East Franklin Volunteer Fire Department Chief Daniel Krushinski and President Christopher Fischer and Community Volunteer Fire Department Chief Richard Ries and Board Chairman Herman Calvo.  Details and background documents from the suit, in which Gilliam alleged that the defendants falsely claimed that he engaged in illegal or immoral liaisons with minors, are on-line here.

After Gilliam's lawsuit was dismissed against the District and the two fire companies, Gilliam settled with the individual defendants.  I filed an OPRA request for the settlement agreement between Gilliam and the individual defendants and was denied.  The Fire District claimed that it was forced to deny access to the settlement agreement because the District's insurer, Volunteer Firemen's Insurance Services (VFIS), refused to release it to the District.  Accordingly, VFIS has been named as a party to my OPRA lawsuit.

The civil complaint, certification, order to show cause and brief filed in my OPRA lawsuit are on-line here.  The docket number is SOM-L-1474-14.

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