Attorneys Michael O’Donnell and Jorge Sanchez Obtain Trial Victory Against NJDEP
Partner Michael O’Donnell and Associate Jorge Sanchez completed a victory against the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection at the trial level over ownership of 265 acres of land in the Pinelands (Little Egg Harbor) for client Phoenix Pinelands Corporation. In 2015, Mike and Jorge were able to obtain summary judgment on 151 acres over the NJDEP by arguing chains of title going back to the New Jersey Board of Proprietors’ grants in 1846. This July, Mike and Jorge tried a four-day bench trial on the remaining parcels, trying and arguing all the arcane principles of property law. On November 17th, Judge Hodgson read his Opinion on the record and delivered a verdict for Phoenix Pinelands Corporation on the remaining 114 acres. It was a noteworthy trial victory, as Mike and Jorge had to convince the Court, among other things, that even though a 1908 deed in our chain of title to the principal property purported to convey to our client only ten of 150 acres at that time, the entire parcel (now 100 acres) went to Phoenix due to the fact that the metes and bound description described the entire tract and the sanctity of the recordation system demanded that our deed be honored.