FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Court Grants QSpot Preliminary Injunctive Relief As Lawsuit Against Jersey Shore Arts Center Moves Forward
April 5, 2017 – Ocean Grove, NJ – A judge granted a motion for a preliminary injunction, filed by the QSpot LGBT Community Center in November, to protect the center from eviction while a pending discrimination lawsuit against their landlord, Jersey Shore Arts Center, moves forward. New Jersey Superior Court Judge Dennis O’Brien granted the motion after a hearing on the matter yesterday. The judge denied a request made by JSAC to dismiss the discrimination case.
In November, QSpot filed a discrimination lawsuit claiming that the JSAC acted with bias towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community when it did not renew QSpot’s lease at the JSAC (which expired in December). JSAC claimed that QSpot wasn’t qualified to be a tenant because the center allegedly didn’t provide arts programs, despite QSpot’s extensive arts programming.
According to the lawsuit, JSAC’s actions are a violation of NJ’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD), which protects tenants from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. QSpot had requested in November that the court grant a preliminary injunction to protect the community center pending further proceedings on the discrimination claim. That request was granted by Judge O’Brien yesterday. The court also granted QSpot’s application for a temporary restraining order permitting the QFest LGBT Film & Digital Media Festival to take place at QSpot’s location in Ocean Grove this upcoming weekend, April 7-9, 2017.
“We’re grateful that the court granted QSpot’s request which will allow us to stay in our home and hold QFest while our discrimination case against the Jersey Shore Arts Center proceeds forward,” said John Mikytuck, QSpot Executive Director. “We want to assure everyone in the community that QSpot will remain open and accessible as a safe haven, place of support, and a social and cultural gathering spot until our lawsuit has concluded.”
QSpot is represented by Michael Long and Steven Rosato of the national law firm Lowenstein Sandler, LLP, with support from the Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest.
“Lowenstein Sandler is proud to stand with QSpot as it defends itself and the LGBT community it serves from unlawful discrimination,” added Michael Long, lead lawyer on the team.
Founded in 2005, QSpot LGBT Community Center fosters the health, well-being and pride of NJ’s LGBT community by providing resources, referrals, education, and outreach. QSpot is also home to QFest New Jersey LGBT Film and Digital Media Festival, NJ’s only LGBT film festival, which strives to support and promote LGBT film & digital media, the individuals who create it, and the people and stories they highlight.
QSpot works tirelessly to fulfill its mission while operating a safe and welcoming 2000 sq. ft. community center in Ocean Grove, NJ. QSpot is the only LGBT community center serving the diverse cities of Asbury Park, Ocean Grove, Red Bank, Long Branch, Toms River, Princeton, Trenton and others while operating as a 501(c) tax exempt nonprofit organization.
ABOUT LOWENSTEIN SANDLER AND THE LOWENSTEIN CENTER FOR THE PUBLIC INTEREST
Lowenstein Sandler is a national law firm with more than 300 lawyers working from six offices in New York, Palo Alto, Roseland, Utah, and Washington D.C. The firm represents clients in virtually every sector of the global economy, with particular strength in the areas of technology, life sciences, and the financial management and fund formation industry sectors that fuel economic growth. In 2009, Lowenstein expanded its historic commitment to pro bono work by creating the Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest. The Center maximizes the impact of the firm’s pro bono work by focusing pro bono efforts and deepening the firm’s partnerships with leading nonprofit and community organizations. Led by a career public interest lawyer, Center staff work to foster and support pro bono efforts throughout the firm.