Class action lawsuit filed against N.J. Gov. Christie for bridge scandal

By Kyla Asbury | Jan 15, 2014

NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - A class action lawsuit has been filed against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie after information was uncovered that connected government officials to the George Washington Bridge closure in Fort Lee, N.J., last September.

Also named as defendants in the suit are: The State of New Jersey; Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; former Deputy Chief of Staff of Christie's office, Bridget Anne Kelly; David Wildstein, the director of Interstate Capital Projects for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Bill Baroni, the Deputy Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; unknown corporations 1-10; and unknown individuals 1-10.

The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey by attorney Rosemarie Arnold.

On Sept. 9 through Sept. 13, Zachary Galicki, Joy Galicki, Eli Galicki, Robert Arnold, Kim Joscelyn and Elizabeth Psaltos, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, were attempting to commute between New York City and Fort Lee, N.J., as they normally would, the complaint says.

However, they were deprived of life, liberty and property as a result of the Fort Lee roads becoming clogged with traffic, causing them to be trapped on local roads for a long period of time and arriving to work later than they would have, according to a complaint filed Jan. 9 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

The plaintiffs are seeking redress for the purposeful, intentional, "callously indifferent," willful, wanton, reckless and/or negligent acts of the defendants on Sept. 9 through Sept. 13, in orchestrating, conspiring and/or implementing a political agenda through acts of official misconduct to back up traffic and clog local roads and/or scheme to close lanes leading to the dedicated toll booths for the George Washington Bridge.

The scandal involves a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge leading into Manhattan last September that is suspected to have been deliberately set by Christie's administration as a possible political retribution for Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich's not endorsing Christie in his re-election campaign.

Two special legislative committees have been convened to begin investigating the incident. The committees will have subpoena power and will be able to call former and current Christie administration officials to testify.

Christie apologized for the incident, saying he was blindsided and was embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of the people on his team.

"I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution," Christie said in a marathon press conference regarding the incident. "And I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here."

Arnold, of the Law Offices of Rosemarie Arnold, said the bridge scandal was a deliberate attempt to deprive residents of their rights.

"This case is for retribution," Arnold said. "Time is money, and they caused my clients to lose money. Some arrived to work late and some could not make deliveries on time. The government has let down its constituents by putting their personal agenda first. It's a disgrace and it caused my clients financial damages."

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey case number: 2:14-cv-00169

From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at classactions@legalnewsline.com.

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