The Coastal Star

Gulf Stream: O’Boyle, town hit dead end on settlement talks

By Steve Plunkett
    
The legal battle between Gulf Stream and town resident Martin O’Boyle dragged on in July as O’Boyle conducted a 90-minute deposition in his home and his son filed a motion seeking a “6-foot pile” of documents in a New Jersey lawyer’s office.
    Jonathan O’Boyle filed a notice July 19 of his intention to subpoena Camden, N.J., lawyer David Sufrin to get copies of “any and all” documents between Sufrin and Robert Sweetapple, Gulf Stream’s outside counsel handling public records disputes.
Sweetwater said talks with O’Boyle were at an impasse.
“Settlement negotiations have broken down, but mediation is required pretrial so let’s see if we can emulate the O’Hare settlement,” Sweetwater said, referring to the cease-fire reached with town resident Chris O’Hare in June.
    The documents Jonathan O’Boyle seeks include all documents “in the ‘6-foot pile’ that are referred to in the email of Dec. 8, 2014,” that Sufrin sent Sweetapple. The email was not part of the motion.
    Jeffrey Hochman, another outside attorney for Gulf Stream, reacted quickly, filing a motion objecting to the subpoena July 20.
    Meanwhile, Martin O’Boyle personally deposed former Vice Mayor Robert Ganger in connection with his slander complaint against Sweetapple and Mayor Scott Morgan. Ganger said he asked that the deposition be conducted in Gulf Stream so he would not have to travel to O’Boyle’s office in Deerfield Beach.
    “I went over to his house thinking I’d be out in 15 minutes,” Ganger said.
    Instead, the session lasted 1½ hours, with O’Boyle shooting questions rapid-fire, said Ganger, adding that he really knows nothing about the case.
    The burst of legal activity comes after O’Boyle urged town commissioners in April to settle all litigation. He took out a full-page ad in The Coastal Star in March saying the same thing.
    O’Boyle and Sufrin have tangled before. In 2008 and 2009 in Longport, N.J., where O’Boyle also has a home, he sued a former planning and zoning board member and two other residents.
    Sufrin, who represented all three defendants, suggested to Longport’s municipal attorney that they cooperate in the defense. Sufrin prepared a joint strategy memorandum and a collection of documents on CDs and sent them to the municipal attorney.
    O’Boyle filed a public records request; Sufrin argued that the documents were attorney work product and not subject to public records law.
    The New Jersey State Bar Association and the New Jersey Supreme Court agreed. “Here, the plaintiff-petitioner has requested access to items that, on their face and in the most obvious, explicit fashion, fit squarely within the applicable case law and court rules that bar release,” the bar association said.
    In Gulf Stream, O’Boyle and O’Hare filed more than 2,000 requests for public records and dozens of lawsuits starting in late 2013. The town said they filed wide-ranging requests in hopes that Gulf Stream could not respond in a timely way and thus generate litigation and demands for attorney’s fees

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