Newark watershed agency fights to keep class-action lawsuit in legal limbo
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Newark city hall.JPG
A view of Newark city hall. (Aristide Economopoulos/The Star-Ledger)
NEWARK — Two former employees of the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corp. filed a class-action lawsuit last year to recover money allegedly stolen from the now-defunct agency.
But after the agency’s trustees filed for bankruptcy in January, that lawsuit was put on hold.
Now the former employees’ attorney is asking a federal bankruptcy judge to partially lift the stay on the lawsuit and allow certain claims to proceed on behalf of Newark residents.
"I want to go forward with the lawsuit," said David Hoffman, the attorney representing the former employees. "I’m in limbo."
But Daniel Stolz, an attorney representing the corporation in the bankruptcy case, argued the stay must remain in place, because the agency should be the one to pursue such litigation, not Hoffman.
"The appropriate thing is for the watershed to bring those claims and we’ve always intended to bring those claims," said Stolz, adding that the corporation should serve that role "because the agency is the one that was directly injured."
The litigation pursued by the agency would include negligence claims against law firms that had represented the agency and claims against people who wrongfully took money from the corporation, according to Stolz.
A hearing on Hoffman’s motion to partially vacate the stay is scheduled for March 31 before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Vincent…
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