The Guttenberg Taxpayers and Rentpayers Association v. Galaxy Towers Condo Association

686 A.2d 344 (1995)

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The Guttenberg Taxpayers and Rentpayers Association v. Galaxy Towers Condo Association

New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division
686 A.2d 344 (1995)

Facts

Guttenberg Taxpayers and Rentpayers Association (the taxpayers) (plaintiff), a nonprofit, unincorporated association involved in Guttenberg political activities, challenged a chancery judge’s dismissal of its application for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the Galaxy Towers Condominium Association (the association) (defendant) from preventing the taxpayers from distributing pamphlets and flyers on association property before a school-board election. The association’s regulations prohibited residents and outsiders from door-to-door canvassing or soliciting. The regulations prevented anyone from visiting or soliciting at any unit unannounced or without an owner’s or resident’s permission. The association had from time to time endorsed candidates for local office—including the school-board election for which the taxpayers sought permission to distribute their materials—in its regular newsletters and communications. The association certified that at no time had it allowed any political candidate, party, or group to distribute materials within the condominium’s private residential property. Galaxy Tower residents comprised approximately 32 percent of Guttenberg’s total registered voters and approximately 87 percent of one of Guttenberg’s six voting districts, and a district polling place was in the shopping mall located in the complex. The chancery judge denied the application after finding that the normal or primary use of the condominium property was for residential use; that there was no evidence that there had been any public invitation to use the condominium property; and that the taxpayers had no right of reply because the association’s distribution of election material was basically a distribution by the condominium unit owners themselves, who were association members and who held association board positions. The chancery judge also suggested that a reasonable alternative would be for the taxpayers to mail their materials to the condominium unit owners. On appeal, the taxpayers argued that the public interest in having citizens exposed to both sides of a political issue justified their free-speech right to go onto private property and that the condominium was the equivalent of a company town.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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