Sunday, March 15, 2015
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, BY THE COMMISSIONER OF TRANSPORTATION VS. CHERRY HILL MITSUBISHI, INC., ET AL. A-2899-13T2
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, BY THE COMMISSIONER OF TRANSPORTATION VS. CHERRY HILL MITSUBISHI, INC., ET AL.
In a summary proceeding filed by the State seeking to remove encroachments from its right-of-way pursuant to N.J.S.A. 27:7-44.1, the named defendants filed a counterclaim against Department of Transportation officials for monetary damages resulting from the alleged violation of their constitutional right to equal protection of the laws, recovery for unjust enrichment, and injunctive relief. We find that the doctrine of qualified immunity bars recovery because there is no cognizable property interest in the activity in these circumstances, nor any basis in the record for injunctive relief. The New Jersey Contractual Immunity Act, N.J.S.A. 59:13-3, waived sovereign immunity only for express contracts or contracts implied in fact, not for a contract implied in law which might support defendants' claim for unjust enrichment. The counterclaim is dismissed in its entirety. 02/26/15