Rules against motion made by Parsippany and Inglesino Law Firm
PARSIPPANY — Morris County Superior Court Judge Jared Honigfeld, sitting in Morristown, has ruled against a recent motion made by the Township of Parsippany Troy-Hills and it’s attorney, the firm of Inglesino, Wychiskala, & Taylor, LLC.
The Township of Parsippany and attorney Denis Driscoll of Inglesino, Wychiskala & Taylor recently sought to compel Parsippany Focus publisher Frank Cahill to appear at it’s office to be deposed and to divulge unpublished information and the source(s) concerning the case of Parsippany-Troy Hills vs. Carifi, et.al.
Cahill sought to quash the subpoenas and invoked New Jersey’s shield law which protects a “newspaperman’s privilege” or sources.
Judge Honeigfeld ruled in part that Parsippany Focus falls “within the definition of ‘news media,’ and information published on the Focus’s website constitutes ‘news’ and that “Cahill is a credentialed newsperson” Furthermore, the judge ruled that Parsippany Focus “is dedicated to disseminating information regarding the political activities of the Township” and is “satisfied that Cahill has overcome the threshold issue of whether he and Focus are parties that may be entitled to the protection of the Shield Law.”
The Subpoena stems from May 2, 2014, when Cahill began researching a story and obtained various Court documents via public filings related to a lawsuit filed by the Township against retired Police Captain James Carifi. On May 6, 2014, Parsippany Focus published an article titled “Carifi’s attorney relieved by Court; hires new attorney.” Cahill also filed multiple requests for Township records pursuant to the Open Public Records Act (OPRA).
Upon hearing of the recent court decision, Former Councilman Jonathan Nelson, a vocal critic of Township Attorney John Inglesino, stated, “everyone in the world believed Focus would prevail in quashing the subpoena. Everyone, but the Township Attorney and whoever it was in Town Hall who authorized the filing. The residents of Parsippany demand to know how much this recent legal escapade and personal vendetta have cost the taxpayers.”
Damian C. Shammas, the attorney who represented Cahill and Parsippany Focus said, “Based on the law and the facts, the Court arrived at the proper result. As the Court observed in its decision, the Shield Law is designed to ‘protect a vital component of our society.’ Both Mr. Cahill and Parsippany Focus met the established standards for protection under the statute. This is a victory for the long-established safeguarding of reporters’ activities in gathering facts and reporting the news.”
At the most recent Township Council meeting, Frank Cahill and Parsippany Focus received a proclamation from the Council celebrating it’s 25th Anniversary, and proclaimed October 1, 2014 as Parsippany Focus Day. The Proclamation in part states that “Parsippany Focus has provided a news publication that adheres to high ethical and professional standards and has focused primarily on those events occurring within Parsippany Troy-Hills.”
Requests for quotes from Township Attorney John Inglesino, Parsippany-Troy Hills Mayor James Barberio, Township Clerk Yancy Wazirmas and Township Business Administrator went unanswered.