May 1, 2016
At the April 18th Readington Township Committee meeting, the body voted to hire attorney James P. Rhatican to appeal the May 4th, 2015 Judge Armstrong decision against Readington Township with regards to the Solberg Airport eminent domain trial.
Voting in the affirmative was Mayor Fort, Deputy Mayor Duffy and Committeeman Smith. Voting against the appeal was Committeemen Broten and Tropello. No public comments were made by the Committee on this matter.
"An appeal is not a retrial or a new trial of the case. The appeals courts do not usually consider new witnesses or new evidence. [They] are usually based on arguments that there were errors in the trial's procedure or errors in the judge's interpretation of the law." Given the limited scope of appeal procedures, they are much less costly than full trials because appeals are based on existing testimony, briefs, oral arguments and documentation that has already been presented to the courts from the original trial. We do not have any indication of the expected appeal date, however, the appeal could be withdrawn by the Township if a new Township Committee member were to take office and vote against continuing the process.
Citizens for Readington supports the decision by the Township Committee to move forward with an appeal. There are strong legal grounds as well as high stakes. Without an appeal, there is no recourse to stop the planned expansion, and Judge Armstrong's decision gave the Solbergs more rights than were even in question in the case. For more detailed information, you can review the following CFR articles:
The Case for Appeal
Airport Expansion Looming in Readington
You can also review the decades-long history of this saga on CFR's timeline.
We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available.