The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey filed an amicus brief on behalf of the plaintiffs arguing that in a successful voting rights suit regarding Hoboken’s efforts to keep a referendum off of the ballot, the court should have awarded attorneys’ fees pursuant to the New Jersey Civil Rights Act. The Appellate Division held that because the referendum was ultimately put before the voters, plaintiffs were not deprived of a right and therefore not entitled to attorney’s fees. The brief argues that the court’s ruling defeats the purpose of fee shifting provisions, which were put in place to ensure that New Jersey residents whose rights have been violated will be able to obtain effective, committed legal counsel to assist them. The ACLU-NJ suggests that without access to competent counsel and the courts, many New Jersey residents who are not able to afford effective counsel will be powerless to defend their rights under the New Jersey Civil Rights Act. The Court held that prevailing parties are entitled to attorney's fees.
- Tumpson: Amicus Brief (918 KB pdf)