Attorney Discusses Lawsuit Filed Against Gov. Phil Murphy for Disaster Control Act Violation
Updated: Oct 16, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 30, 2020
CONTACT: Jennifer Jean Miller
(Morris Plains, NJ) One of two attorneys who filed a lawsuit seeking a declaration that Gov. Phil Murphy must implement the compensation procedures required by the Disaster Control Act, outlined the lawsuit and explained the compensation requirements set forth in the Act during a Tuesday morning appearance on The Rich Zeoli Show, broadcast from Philadelphia on WPHT Talk Radio 1210 AM.
Robert W. Ferguson, Esq., of the law firm of Stern, Kilcullen and Rufolo, LLC of Florham Park said the lawsuit he filed with Catherine M. Brown, Esq., of Denville on Sept. 23 in the Sussex County Superior Court Law Division on behalf of a kickboxing studio from Franklin Borough, JWC Fitness LLC, seeks a declaratory judgment against Murphy.
While the lawsuit neither questions Murphy’s right to invoke the Act nor seeks exact compensation, it challenges his refusal to set up Emergency Compensation Boards in every county where, per the statute, shuttered businesses should have been able to file petitions for reasonable compensation after the Governor took control of their private property during the lengthy COVID-19 state of emergency.
With the state of emergency, which Murphy extended for the seventh time on Sept. 25 via Executive Order, he ordered businesses like the plaintiff’s that he deemed “non-essential” to shut down on March 16 via his earliest Executive Orders. In return, business owners, according to the Act, are entitled to petition their respective county Compensation Board for reasonable compensation, a very specific requirement within the Act, in exchange for the Governor even temporarily taking, using or controlling an individual’s or business’s private property during a state of emergency. “If the Governor wants to come into court and say,
‘There hasn’t been a taking, we haven’t physically taken anybody’s property,’ then his entire Executive Order scheme is unconstitutional,” Ferguson said. “He doesn’t have the power to do anything in a state of emergency with respect to private property, except to take it subject to compensation. The statute gives the Governor this one power, he’s exercised it and he must comply with the other requirements of the law.” Should the plaintiff prevail in the case, the ruling will affect all other businesses in similar predicaments, Ferguson said. The plaintiff’s declaratory judgment entitles the plaintiff to compensation and the defendant, Murphy, to set up county Emergency Compensations Boards within all 21 counties.
Click here to listen to Ferguson’s interview. For more information about Rescue New Jersey, a recently incorporated group concerned with good government and taking selective action to assist those most harmed by gross government overreach, go to: www.rescuenewjersey.org.