Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Stafford claims OPRA suit is "frivolous" and brought in "bad faith" to "harass the Township."

In an earlier post, I wrote about my lawsuit against Stafford Township (Ocean County) seeking records pertaining to alleged "unlawful acts" by a Stafford officer which were allegedly not acted upon by the police chief.  Township Attorney Christopher J. Dasti issued a blanket denial of my request without identifying any of the records to which access was being denied.  I had informed Dasti that Judge Grasso had previously ruled that certain records in an internal affairs file, such as those created before the commencement of an internal affairs investigation, are not exempt.  Still, Dasti wouldn't offer more than a vague, blanket denial.

After my lawsuit was served upon Stafford, Dasti sent my lawyer, CJ Griffin, a letter demanding that I withdraw my suit.  In his letter, Dasti claimed that the lawsuit "is nothing more than an attempt by [Paff] to harass the Township by forcing it to incur unnecessary legal fees and costs."  He continued that "[a]s a result of [Paff's] bad faith" the Township will seek a court order requiring me and Griffin to pay the Township's attorneys fees and costs.

In her response, Griffin advised Dasti that I will not be withdrawing my lawsuit and he could hasten the resolution of this suit by providing a candid, informative response to my records request. She told Dasti that his "continued refusal to acknowledge whether responsive records even exist, along with a blanket assertion that if any such records exist they would be confidential, simply will not suffice."  Both Dasti's letter and Griffin's response are on-line here.

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