Lower Merion Township – Taxpayers on the Hook for Legal Expenses related to Illegal Firearms Ordinance

As our viewers are aware, we filed suit against Lower Merion Township regarding its illegal firearm ordinance on March 20, 2015 and its request for a Stay was denied on May 14, 2015. In litigating this matter, on April 30, 2015, I filed a Right to Know Law (RTKL) request seeking documents in the Township’s possession relating to Section 109-16, since the Township filed Preliminary Objections to stay discovery and a decision on the merits.

In responding to my RTKL request, the Township turned over a number of documents, including the most recent attorney billing of May 11, 2015 from High Swartz in the amount of $4,900 and a March 27, 2015 letter from Delaware Valley Insurance Trust denying coverage in relation to the lawsuit. Specifically, the letter states

The POL Coverage Part of the applicable Trust Coverage Document does not provide coverage for the Township in this matter because the plaintiffs are not seeking to recover compensatory damages, but only declaratory and injunctive relief, and because the plaintiffs have alleged in their Complaint that the Township willfully violated 18 Pa. C.S. §6120 and otherwise engaged in willful misconduct in refusing to amend or repeal the allegedly illegal ordinances. The Trust therefore respectfully declines coverage and requests that the Township retain defense counsel at its own expense in this matter.

Accordingly, the residents of Lower Merion Township will be responsible for all the costs incurred by its counsel, as well as, our attorney fees and costs, when the matter is decided in our favor. It is unfortunate that the Lower Merion Township Commissioners have elected to defend its illegal ordinance at the taxpayers expense. If you are a resident of Lower Merion Township, you should let the Commissioners know that you do not appreciate your money being used for their political views.

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