Posted by: Patricia Salkin | December 8, 2018

NJ Appeals Court Holds Removal of Consultant from Process Due to Potential Conflict was Sufficient

This post was authored by Touro Law student Thomas Brown ’20

The consultant hired by the Board to do traffic study regarding ShopRite’s proposal was indirectly connected to ShopRite on another project (without at first even realizing it), and Stop & Shop (competitor) complained. The trial judge found that Dolan’s relationship was with an engineering firm retained by the developer, and Inserra was not the developer of the New Milford project. Further, he found that Inserra was only a prospective tenant of the proposed project.  The Court found the conflict issue to be a “close question,” but that early on in the hearings, Dean was not aware that Inserra was a potential tenant in the other project until later in the process. When Dean and Dolan did become aware, it was reflected in the Board’s meeting minutes. The Court stated that by then, there was a potential conflict between the consultants’ now having Inserra as a client in one project and going through a hearing in another where they were retained as consultants. Stop and Shop wanted a completely new hearing, but the Court stated that the low court’s action in removing Dean and Dolan from the process and having a new consultant start a new assessment from scratch was sufficient.

Munico Assocs., L.P. v. Inserra Supermarkets, Inc.,  2016 WL 4395678 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 8/18/2016)

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