FREEHOLD – The first hearing in the lawsuit filed by Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Steven Mecka against Prosecutor Joseph Coronato and others from the prosecutor’s office will be held this Friday at the Monmouth County Courthouse in Freehold.
Earlier in 2016, former Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Steven Mecka filed suit against his then-employer, and his lawsuit made allegations of wrongdoing against several senior staff members of the prosecutor’s office. Much of the events of the lawsuit occurred during the tenure of the previous prosecutor, Marlene Lynch Ford, who is currently the Ocean County assignment judge.
Court records indicated that the case is currently before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge James S. Perri, J.S.C., who has been assigned as the pretrial judge in this matter. The case was transferred out of Ocean County where it was originally filed, as the former prosecutor is currently the top judge at the Ocean County courthouse, having recently replaced the now-retired Vincent Grasso, A.J.S.C.
Two other hearings in the case were postponed. According to state superior court records, hearings scheduled on September 2nd and 16th were rescheduled.
Court records indicated that the subject of the hearing scheduled for Friday is a Motion For Summary Judgment. The records did not indicate whether Mecka’s attorneys or those representing Prosecutor Coronato and the County of Ocean were the side that filed the motion.
In a trial court such as state Superior Court, a motion for summary judgment is a dispositive motion that is typically filed when there is no question of fact in a case – and if granted – it allows the trial court judge to rule on the case as a matter of law based upon the facts set forth in previous pleadings.
We previously published leaked copies of some of Detective Mecka’s investigation reports that he prepared while employed with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. The Mecka reports mostly dealt with alleged criminal behavior and influence-peddling on the part of Little Egg Harbor’s elected and appointed leaders, such as former MUA chairman Joseph Mezzina and others involved in local politics in the small southern Ocean County town.