120 N.J.L.J. 896
November 5, 1987
Conflict of Interest:
Representation of Regional Municipal
Utilities Authority; Appearing
before Zoning Board of Adjustment
This inquiry asks whether a law firm, which represents a
Regional Municipal Utilities Authority, may represent a private
client appearing before the Zoning Board of Adjustment of a
municipality in the Utilities Authority region.
This Committee has dealt with very similar questions as follows:
Opinion 217, 94, N.J.L.J. 801 (1971), disapproves of counsel for a Municipal Utilities Authority appearing before any municipal agency (which includes the Zoning Board of Adjustment) of that municipality.
Opinion 98, 89 N.J.L.J. 641 (1966) disapproves of counsel for an Intermunicipal Sewerage Authority appearing before any municipal agency or before the Court of that municipality.
Opinion 460, 106 N.J.L.J. 205 (1980), disapproves of counsel representing a regional Sewerage Authority and a constituent municipality.
There appear to be no opinions to the contrary. Opinion 41, 87 N.J.L.J. 285 (1964), cited by the inquirer is distinguished in that a Chapter Six School Board is elected; members of a regional Municipal Utilities Authority are appointed.
The possibility of actual conflict is greater in representing a Regional Municipal Utilities Authority over that of a Municipal Utilities Authority in that the attorney may be required to interpret documents concerning allotments of capacity among the municipalities, while representing a private client who seeks a variance requiring increased water and sewer services.
For the purposes of this inquiry, a Regional Utilities Authority is deemed to be an agency of each municipality and the inquiry is answered in the negative.