THE STOP & SHOP SUPERMARKET COMPANY, LLC, Plaintiff-Appellant/ Cross-Respondent,
THE COUNTY OF BERGEN; THE BERGEN COUNTY PLANNING BOARD; AND THE COUNTY OF BERGEN DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, Defendants-Respondents/ Cross-Appellants. THE STOP & SHOP SUPERMARKET COMPANY, LLC, Plaintiff-Appellant,
THE BERGEN COUNTY BOARD OF CHOSEN FREEHOLDERS, THE BERGEN COUNTY PLANNING BOARD, AND INSERRA SUPERMARKETS, INC., Defendants-Respondents.
November 9, 2016
Decided April 6, 2017
appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division,
Bergen County, Docket Nos. L-7943-14 and L-9333-14.
R. Edwards, Jr. argued the cause for appellant (Price, Meese,
Shulman & D'Arminio, P.C., attorneys; Mr. Edwards,
Gail L. Price, Kathryn J. Razin, and David J. Reich, on the
P. Kapusinski, Assistant Bergen County Counsel, argued the
cause for respondents the County of Bergen, the Bergen County
Planning Board, and the County of Bergen Department of
Planning and Economic Development (Julien X. Neals, County
Counsel, attorney; Mr. Kapusinski, of counsel and on the
J. Florio argued the cause for respondent the Bergen County
Board of Chosen Freeholders (Florio, Kenny, Raval, L.L.P.,
attorneys; Mr. Florio, of counsel and on the brief; Paul
Samouilidis, on the brief).
J. Lamb argued the cause for respondent Inserra Supermarkets,
Inc. (Beattie Padovano, LLC, and Wells Jaworski Liebman, LLP,
attorneys; Mr. Lamb, Ira E. Weiner, and James E. Jaworski, of
counsel and on the brief; Daniel L. Steinhagen, on the
Judges Ostrer, Leone, and Vernoia.
the Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, LLC (Stop &
Shop) opposed the site plan application of defendant Inserra
Supermarkets, Inc. (Inserra) for the construction of a
ShopRite supermarket along a county road. Stop & Shop
objected to the application before defendant the Bergen
County Planning Board (County Planning Board) and then
appealed its approval of the site plan to defendant the
Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders (Board of
Freeholders). When the Board of Freeholders affirmed, Stop
& Shop filed a complaint in lieu of prerogative writs in
the Law Division, which affirmed on May 12, 2015. Stop &
Shop challenges that decision in appeal A-4630-14.
& Shop filed an action for declaratory relief against the
County Planning Board, defendant the County of Bergen
(County), and defendant the County of Bergen Department of
Planning and Economic Development (DPED) (collectively the
"OPRA defendants"). Stop & Shop alleged a
violation of the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), N.J.S.A.
47:1A-1 to -13. The Law Division dismissed that action on
November 26, 2014. Stop & Shop challenges that decision
in appeal A-2134-14. We hold that OPRA litigation is
authorized to allow a party who is denied access to records
to obtain access to those records, and counsel fees are
authorized under OPRA if the litigation causes the production
of those records. Because Stop & Shop had already
obtained the records before it filed its declaratory judgment
action, that action was moot and it is not entitled to
listed the two appeals back-to-back and now consolidate them
for the purpose of this opinion. We affirm.
[At the direction of the court, the published version of this
opinion omits the discussion of appeal A-4630-14, including
Part I (which sets forth the facts relevant to that appeal)
and Part II (which affirms the trial ...