UPDATE: On Feb. 15th, Judge Vazquez entered a retention order and closed the case. Normally, after a case is over, a new action may be necessary to enforce the terms of the agreement. This order lets the court retain jurisdiction so that if there is a need to enforce the settlement, a letter can be filed asking the case to be re-opened.
In settlement papers filed with the court today, Mahwah has given up on their six month campaign aimed at “keeping the poles clean” and upholding their “way of life”.
In a vote of 5-2, the Mahwah Council agreed to settle claims brought by the Bergen Rockland Eruv Association against the Township for threatening to issue summonses over an eruv erected in a section of the municipality.
Pursuant to the agreement, the Township will put $10,000 in an account to cover some legal costs*.
The Eruv Association will change the color of the pvc piping in the poles (called lechis) over the next 12 months.
The parties will also have 20 days to agree to a sum above and beyond the $10,000. Sources tell Eruv Litigation that this was the change requested by Council President Robert Hermansen. It is not immediately clear why an additional amount would be provided.
Each party will bear their own litigation costs which may have been at least $311,000 as of today pursuant to the agreement Mahwah signed.
Pursuant to the agreement:
- Plaintiffs agree not to file any further charges with any local, state or federal agency against the Township and/or any of its employees, agents or administrators arising from dealings that have occurred up to and through the date of execution by all Parties to this Agreement.
- The Township consents to the existence, restoration, maintenance, repair and upkeep of the lechis comprising the Eruv.
- Nothing in the agreement prohibits the eruv from a future expansion and / or modification within and / or outside the Township (the plaintiffs will however confer with the town if any expansion is planned).
- The Township of Mahwah won’t stop the Plaintiffs from restoring, repairing, keeping or maintaining the eruv. Nor will they seek to enforce or adopt any ordinance or resolution prohibiting or impeding future lechis on poles.
- Mahwah can request for the BREA to change the color and / or replace the lechis to better match the poles, within the next 12 months (unless the utility says they can only be a certain color).
- No public funds will go towards the Eruv.
- If the Township violates the agreement, the plaintiffs may seek an expedited and immediate injunctive relief through an order from the court.
- Plaintiffs will not initiate any new litigation against Mahwah for at least 2 years as long as they abide by the agreement.
- Neither party shall be considered a “prevailing party” and there is no admission of liability.
THE CONSTITUTION WINS; THE ERUV BENEFITS17cv6054_23
* please note that a previous version of this post mistakenly indicated the purpose for the $10,000. The agreement says: “the $10,000.00 shall constitute the full and final compensation for legal fees and costs.”