On December 3, 2014, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided Dublirer v. 2000 Linwood Avenue Owners, Inc., which created a new test for determining whether the New Jersey State Constitution protects free speech on private property in community associations. In Dublirer, the Court determined that the determination must “focus on ‘the purpose of the expressional activity undertaken’ in relation to the property’s use” and to consider the “general balancing of expressional rights and private property interests” to determine “‘the fairness of the restrictions imposed’ with regard to residents’ free speech rights.”
This decision makes New Jersey unique, as it imposes State Constitutional free speech protections on private property that is not open to public access, albeit limiting such protection to resident speakers. It provides a clear message to common interest ownership community governing boards that they must allow adequate means for community residents to be able to inexpensively communicate with each other and with the board and should not try to prevent debate over association political issues or criticism of the board.
To view Hill Wallack’s full Client Alert and a copy of the decision, click here.
If you have a question about free speech or any other issue concerning your community association, please contact one of our Community Associations attorneys. For breaking news or updates on new blog posts, follow us on Twitter at: @njcondolaw.