Connell Foley Pro Bono Team Wins Appeal on Behalf of Domestic Violence Victim

09.27.2023
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As a result of the dedicated pro bono efforts of partners Patricia Lee and Meghan Musso, aided by associates Hannah Teller and Yvette Donaldson-Brown and administrative assistant Cindy Chen, Connell Foley has achieved an important appellate win that helps to protect our client from further abuse, as well as advance the law in New Jersey for victims of domestic violence.

On September 7, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey issued a decision granting the appeal filed on behalf of the Plaintiff in the matter. The decision reversed the trial court’s denial of a final restraining order (FRO) pursuant to the New Jersey Domestic Violence Prevention Act and remanded the case to a different judge for a new hearing. The Appellate Division also ordered the temporary restraining order (TRO) reinstated. Connell Foley previously prevailed on its motion for a stay of the trial court’s order lifting the TRO while the appeal was pending.

In the underlying decision, the trial court found that Plaintiff failed to prove the predicate act of harassment and also failed to establish the existence of a threat of imminent future harm or risk of future abuse. However, the Appellate Division found the record did not support a finding that an FRO was unnecessary for Plaintiff’s protection, considering the “totality of the circumstances,” including the admissions made by Defendant at trial.

The opinion is available here. The pro-bono Plaintiff was referred to Connell Foley by Partners, a New Jersey-based organization that offers assistance to victims and survivors of domestic violence.

For their work on this case, the Connell Foley Team received the “Partners in Justice” award bestowed by Partners.

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