Suit Filed Against U.S. Dept. of Transportation for Demolition of Revolutionary War Home

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McDowell Posternock Apell & Detrick announces filing of federal lawsuit seeking recovery against United States and New Jersey governmental agencies following demolition of historic home the morning after Historical Society asked the Court for an injunction.

The National Historic Preservation Act only works when the governmental agencies act in good faith

A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the Camden County Historical Society in federal District Court against the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, and New Jersey Department of Transportation by the law firm of McDowell Posternock Apell & Detrick. The suit is in response to the March 3, 2017 demolition of one the state’s greatest historical assets - the Hugg-Harrison House in Bellmawr. The 18th Century home played an important role in the Revolutionary War, and in the early settlement and development of Camden County.

The lawsuit alleges that all defendants violated the National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”) by failing to act in good faith, a requirement under the NHPA. The lawsuit also alleges that the New Jersey defendants fraudulently concealed evidence by demolishing the house just one day after the Historical Society filed an emergency application with the Superior Court to save it.

Among other things, the lawsuit points to the contrast between the first and final drafts of the Base Survey, the process’s most critical document – the first draft found the Harrison House eligible for the National Register of Historic Places before the final draft suddenly reversed course and found it ineligible.

Attorney Matthew R. Litt of the law firm of McDowell Posternock Apell & Detrick, the southern New Jersey firm representing the Historical Society, explained at the press conference announcing the Complaint: “The National Historic Preservation Act is a brilliant piece of legislation which balances construction and development with the need to preserve our country’s precious historic assets while assigning an obligation of good faith to the government agencies in charge.”

The lawsuit was filed in United States District Court, District of New Jersey. The Case Number is 1:17−CV−05270−RMB−AMD.    

Please contact Matthew R. Litt, Esq. at the law firm of McDowell Posternock Apell & Detrick with any questions: or (856) 642-6445

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Matthew R. Litt, Esq.
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