Judge Throws Out Lawsuits in Creepy 'Watcher' Case

Though prosecutor's office continues to investigate letters sent to homeowners
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2017 11:48 AM CDT
Judge Throws Out Lawsuits in Creepy 'Watcher' Case
In this June 25, 2015, file photo, a newspaper rests on the driveway of the home of Derek and Maria Broaddus in Westfield, NJ.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

The "Watcher" lawsuit battle between past and current owners is over, though a criminal investigation remains active in the creepy case involving a house with an apparent stalker. The story began in 2014, when Derek and Maria Broaddus bought a $1.35 million Dutch Colonial home in Westfield, NJ, from John and Andrea Woods. Days before the closing, the Woods received a letter from someone calling himself "The Watcher." It was the first such letter they had received and Andrea Woods didn't find it threatening. But within two weeks of buying the house, the Broadduses had received three letters from "The Watcher" claiming the house was under his ownership and control. Disturbed, they never moved in, and the house is currently occupied by renters and back on the market for $1.125 million.

The Broadduses ultimately sued the Woods and the Woods countersued, but a judge has now thrown out both suits, NJ.com reports. In her ruling Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Camille M. Kenny threw out the remaining three counts in the Broadduses' suit against the Woods, fraud counts involving allegations that the Woods intentionally kept the letter they had received from "The Watcher" from their buyers. The judge said that there's no evidence the Woods purposely hid the letter, and that if she sustained the complaint, it would create "uncertainty in real estate law" as to whether future sellers would be required to disclose one-time issues not related to the house itself, like a loud party neighbors once threw. The local prosecutor's office continues to investigate the origin of the four letters the Broadduses have received, the AP reports. (More strange stuff stories.)

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