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Elouise McDaniel sued by Township for filing requirements

Elouise McDaniel walks down a street

A New Jersey town is suing an 82-year-old resident for asking too many questions too many times. But for now, officials are scrambling to find a solution that doesn’t involve the court system.

A prominent local citizen of Irvington, NJ, the mayor’s political opponent, and current defendant in a lawsuit filed by the city government, Elouise McDaniel has made more than 75 different requests for public information over the past three years under the auspices of the Garden State Public Records Act.

“I was sued with a lawsuit,” McDaniel told NBC’s New York City-based WNBC. last weekend.

According to the WNBC lawsuit, she is being charged with harassment and defamation as a result of those claims and because she allegedly filed a “frivolous” complaint about Mayor Irvington Tony Vauss with different government agencies. The complaint alleges those complaints were made “with the sole purpose and intent of harassing, abusing, and causing harm to Plaintiffs and employees of the Town, including the Mayor.”

According to NJ.comThe lawsuit claims that efforts to meet “McDaniel’s massive OPRA requests were burdensome, time-consuming, and costly.”

The complaint further alleges:

As a direct and near-identical result of [McDaniel’s] abusive behavior, [Irvington has] be forced to incur unnecessary legal fees for services rendered to defend and respond to plaintiffs’ claims and claims and also be subject to the loss of city staff time and costs. related fees…

The filing is reported as of September 17, 2021.

For his part, the mayor insists he is not behind the lawsuit.

“I didn’t file a lawsuit against Elouise McDaniel,” Vauss told Manhattan TV. “Harold Wiener is the plaintiff.”

City Clerk of Irvington Harold WienerHowever, there is also dispute over any direct role in the case against the retired teacher.

“I haven’t asked to sue Elouise McDaniel,” he told WNBC. “She filed a lot of OPRAs. That comes with my territory, my territory. I know Miss McDaniel. I have no problem with her at all.”

But someone in the local government apparently did.

And those official disclaimers then translate into mother-holding status.

“The complaint speaks for itself,” Attorney Irvington Township Ramon Rivera told WNBC. “I do not comment on active litigation.”

Weiner told NJ.com after the story broke.

Law & Crime has contacted Mayor Vauss. In a brief interview, he privately discussed the filing, generally lamenting the situation, and expressing skepticism about some of the denials about the lawsuit’s origins.

“I can’t speak for him,” the mayor said, referring to the city secretary’s disclaimer, “but I’m not sure.”

“The filing speaks for itself,” Vauss told Law & Crime, while seeking to contrast Irvington’s case with a similar case in New Jersey resulted in Teaneck paying a resident nearly $20,000 after suing him for making 300 OPRA claims in just two months.

Vauss asserts the lawsuit is based on McDaniel’s submission of multiple duplicate OPRA requests after receiving a response from the municipality as well as an example in which “she almost attacked [a] the people’s council” and “had to confess” for disturbing the peace.

McDaniel countered the circumstances and character of the cause of that low-level offense, saying she was protesting the Town Council’s attempt to silence her.

In response to the lawsuit, First Amendment lawyers described the lawsuit as retaliation and intended to stifle freedom of expression. An attorney for Vauss and the town harshly rebutted the criticism and cleared up previous official denials.

“To suggest that the Mayor is using public resources to stifle transparency is untrue,” Michael DeCotiss told WNBC. “Multiple Sclerosis. McDaniels [sic] issued more than 75 OPRA requests that place an undue burden on the town’s Supervisor of Records. “

In addition to the effects of the First Amendment, McDaniel was astounded by the treatment she received from local authorities.

“I am the landlord,” she told WNBC. “I pay taxes. So I think I have a right to know how my hard earned tax dollars are being spent. ”

Notably, there is no provision in New Jersey law that places any limit on the number of OPRA claims a person can file. Requests can be made by citizens, non-citizens and even anonymously.

“I think in some ways [the lawsuit] is political,” McDaniel told NJ.com. “This has been going on for a long time and by this point I’m just tired. I’m tired, this is ridiculous. I want to live the last years of my life… in peace. “

The mayor developed the situation under similar conditions.

“I think in most cases, they just want the abuse to stop,” he said. “She did this as a political ploy.”

According to Vauss, a meeting has been scheduled for Friday, April, 2022 “with all the parties involved” in an effort to “come up with a solution to this” so it doesn’t have to go to court.

[image via screengrab/WNBC]

Is there a trick we should know? [email protected]

https://lawandcrime.com/lawsuit/new-jersey-township-sues-82-year-old-activist-for-filing-too-many-burdensome-open-records-requests/ Elouise McDaniel sued by Township for filing requirements

James Brien

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