The Hunterdon County Civil Court is in hot water after accusations arose claiming that the court is favoring in-county businesses and assisting them in winning their court cases.
One case study is based on an Urgent Care clinic called, ‘The Doctor Is In’. This business files several cases each month with the Hunterdon County Court. At $42 per case, ‘The Doctor Is In’ generates a significant amount in court fees which go a long way towards funding the small claims court. In exchange for this steady flow of funds, the court provides ‘The Doctor Is In’ with special benefits. These benefits include privileges like unrestricted access to court records, free use of office faxes, access to court copy machines, and the list goes on. ‘The Doctor Is In’ has even been known to be permitted to send faxes to the judge while their case is before the court.
On the flipside, defendants at the Hunterdon County Small Claims Court are never afforded such privileges, and sadly never realize the inequality taking place in the courthouse. When confronted about the special treatment received by ‘The Doctor Is In’, the court responded that the billing manager for ‘The Doctor Is In’ is a lawyer, and is therefore entitled to unrestricted access to the court. However, after further investigation, it was determined that this statement was a complete and utter fallacy. The billing manager of ‘The Doctor Is In” is in fact not an attorney, and the statement was made in an attempt to hide the corruption taking place at the courthouse. In addition, Amy Guinan, the County Civil Division Assistant was quoted as saying, “(some businesses are) frequent flyers here and bring many cases before the court”. Sadly, the court seems to feel that these businesses deserve special treatment, even at the expense of justice being served.
Has the preferential treatment of local businesses at the Hunterdon County Small Claims Court gone too far? You be the judge!