by Vincent DelRiccio
On January 30, 2023, the Superior Court of New Jersey entered an order mandating that the Defendant in a contentious case pay attorney fees to the Plaintiff in the amount of $12,000. The case itself involves the roughly 40,000 square foot Lake Terrace banquet hall in Lakewood, New Jersey, which to date, has operated allegedly without the requisite land use approvals. Specifically, the Complaint alleged the property was approved as a school with an accessory assembly hall in 2005 and received a Certificate of Occupancy for same in 2007. Plaintiff alleges that the school has since ceased operation, and morphed into one of the largest banquet halls in Lakewood despite failing to obtain any further land use approvals. The fee award comes as a result of R.C. Shea and Associate’s successful Motion to Enforce the Court’s prior Order of February 3, 2021.
The Court, in its February 3, 2021 Order, imposed restrictions on the use of the Lake Terrace property. The restrictions included: limiting events to a maximum of 700 patrons, prohibiting outdoor events, and mandating that all parking for events be limited to Lake Terrace’s own parking lot.
As per the allegations, throughout the months of May and June of 2022, Lake Terrace held roughly eleven (11) events in violation of one or more provisions of the February 3, 2021 Order. The Plaintiff stated that during the largest of these events, held on June 9, 2020, chairs, speakers, and a wedding tent were erected on Plaintiff’s property by the organizers of a wedding taking place at Lake Terrace. Allegedly, when asked to vacate the premises, the wedding was moved into the street, completely blocking access to Plaintiff’s adjacent businesses.
R.C. Shea and Associates, on behalf of the Plaintiff, filed a Motion to Enforce the February 3, 2021 Order. The Court found that the Lake Terrace owner and operator had committed “repeated” and “bad faith” violations of the February 3, 2021 Court Order. The Lake Terrace Defendants were ordered to pay both $5,000 sanction to the Court, and $12,000 in attorney fees to Plaintiff’s counsel.
If you are facing disruptions to your business as a result of a neighbor’s potential misuse of their property, please give the attorneys at R.C. Shea & Associates a call for a consultation.