Toms River “Haunted” House – Case Closed?
The scariest thing for these Toms River renters may not be the alleged spirits in the house that they were renting, but the legal ruling of People’s Court judge Marilyn Milian.
After months of news stories, blogs, and TV segments, that 15 minutes of fame may have been what did in this family in the end.
Wednesday on The People’s Court, Judge Marilyn Milian, while somewhat sympathetic, ruled in favor of the defendant, local dentist Dr. Richard Lopez. The couple were suing Dr. Lopez, claiming that the unruly undead caused them to flee the home and take up lodgings in a hotel. The landlord filed a countersuit, claiming that the couple’s apparent desire for publicity over settlement has “stigmatized” the property and will make it difficult to find tenants in the future.
Judge Milian found for the defandant, Dr. Lopez, for $750 for breaking the lease. She did dismiss the countersuit that Dr. Lopez had filed, but with the caveat that her ruling was “without prejudice”, meaning that the landlord would be able to re-file his countersuit if he was in fact unable to re-rent the home because of negative attention that may have resulted from all the publicity.
In the end, the judge said that, basically, a house being haunted is not a legal disposition. As an interpreter and enforcer of the law, it is not for her to declare that a house is or is not haunted, and therefore a suit can’t be filed because someone claims a house to be haunted.