April 23, 2020
Several candidates hoping to run for office in New Jersey recently dropped a lawsuit alleging that four-county clerks across South Jersey improperly rejected their nominating petitions. As a result, some of the candidates who filed to run against county clerks from Cape May, Gloucester, and Camden Counties could be personally responsible for the costs of defending the lawsuit, which the county clerks claim included completely unsupported allegations. According to the attorney for the Camden County clerk, in order for justice to be served, taxpayers must be reimbursed for funds spent to defend this frivolous claim.
The attorneys for the county clerks also accuse the plaintiffs of engaging in voter suppression and an abuse of process. In addition, they accuse the plaintiffs of making false statements. Gregg L. Zeff, the attorney representing the Cumberland County Clerk claims the lawsuit was initiated ”without any reasonable investigation.” Zeff said the plaintiffs against his client, “were placed on the ballot without any question or issue by the (county) clerk.”
Now Zeff along with attorneys representing other county clerks are asking that their legal fees be reimbursed to compensate for expenditures and hours spent preparing a defense against the frivolous lawsuit. Zeff wants to ensure that taxpayers will not have to continue to pay for the unsubstantiated lawsuit. According to Zeff, petitions were properly rejected because they failed to include the requisite number of signatures, which included a Google Drive submission with less than one hundred signatures. At this time, the county clerk reached out to the candidate, but no response was received from the campaign and no attempt was made to correct the submission. “Instead, a lawsuit was filed on his behalf without his personal certification alleging facts that cannot be proven, that required significant time and resources by attorneys, the clerk, and Cumberland County staff at this difficult time,” Zeff said.
Read more about this case in the New Jersey Globe.