A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Court Denies Discovery of Access to Multiple School Buildings, Holding That the Request was Irrelevant and Disproportional to the Case

By on July 21, 2021 in Other with 0 Comments

By: Kristen M. Doyle, Law ClerkEditor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. In a decision dated June 1, 2021, the U.S. District Court of New Jersey held in Esposito v. Ridgewood Board of Education that Plaintiffs failed to show that the broad discovery they wished to obtain was relevant to the subject matter of the lawsuit. The Court denied Plaintiffs’ requests to access and photograph the interior of various school buildings because they were not related to Plaintiffs’ constitutional claims and were disproportional to the case. The claim stemmed from an incident on January 8, 2019, at an elementary school when the […]

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First Amendment: U.S. Supreme Court Narrows the Right of Schools to Discipline Off Campus Speech

By on July 6, 2021 in Students with 0 Comments

By: Gitika Kapoor, Law ClerkEditor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. The Supreme Court of United States ruled on June 23, 2021 that a Pennsylvania public school district violated a student’s First Amendment rights by punishing her for posting a vulgar message on social media while off-campus and off school hours. In reaching this decision in Mahanoy Area School District v. Levy, the Court considered that the speech was made off campus and did not involve school infrastructure. Moreover, it did not cause substantial disruption because while it upset a few students and was a topic of discussion for a few days, […]

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USDOE Issues Notice of Interpretation on Title IX’s Prohibition on Sex Discrimination

By on June 29, 2021 in Students with 0 Comments

By: Sean P. Dugan, Law ClerkEditor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. On June 16, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) issued a notice of interpretation that it will enforce Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and discrimination based on gender identity. The USDOE based its interpretation on the Bostock v. Clayton County case, which the United States Supreme Court decided on June 15, 2020. In Bostock, the Court looked at three cases, two cases where employees were fired after they revealed that they are homosexual, and one where an […]

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NJ Supreme Court Holds That Supervisor’s Two Uses of Offensive Slurs are Sufficient Support Hostile Work Environment Claim

By on June 24, 2021 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

By: Kristen M. Doyle, Law ClerkEditor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. In a case decided on June 16, 2021, the New Jersey Supreme Court held in Armando Rios Jr. v. Meda Pharmaceutical, Inc. that a supervisor’s use of two offensive slurs was severe and pervasive enough to support a hostile work environment claim for a jury to decide under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”). The facts on the summary judgment record established that defendant Meda Pharmaceutical, Inc. (“Meda”) hired Rios, a Hispanic male, in May 2015 as the company’s Director of Brand Marketing. Rios alleged that one month after […]

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NJ Supreme Court Holds Adverse Employment Action Not a Required Element of a Failure to Accommodate Claim

By on June 16, 2021 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

By: Gitika Kapoor, Law ClerkEditor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. On June 8, 2021, the Supreme Court of New Jersey held in Richter v. Oakland Board of Education that an employee is not required to establish adverse employment action such as demotion or termination in a failure to accommodate disability claim brought against an employer under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”).  In addition, the Court considered whether the plaintiff’s claim was barred by the exclusive remedy provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act (“WCA”). The Court held that the NJLAD and WCA are not in tension with each other, and […]

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New Jersey Supreme Court Upholds Contract Provision Providing Leave To Work Full Time On Association Business

By on February 3, 2021 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

On February 3, 2021,the New Jersey Supreme Court in Moshe Rozenblit v. Marcia V. Lyles (A-41/42-19) (083434) unanimously upheld a provision in a Jersey City School District collective negotiations agreement (“CNA”) permitting two teachers employed and compensated by the district to work full-time on business of the Jersey City Education Association (“Association”). Taxpayers sued contending that the CNA’s release time provisions violated the New Jersey Constitution’s Gift Clause.  The trial court granted summary judgment to the district based upon the district’s right under N.J.S.A. 18A:30-7 to grant “payment of salary in cases of absence not constituting sick leave.”  The Appellate […]

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Boards of Education Prohibited from Discussing Tenure Charges During Public Session

By on January 22, 2021 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

On January 21, 2021, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued a published decision in Simadiris v. Paterson Public School District in which it decided whether a board of education’s decision to certify tenure charges against an employee during private session violated that employee’s right to request such consideration in public. In short, the Appellate Division agreed with the school district and ruled that a board of education was prohibited from discussing the tenure charges during public session. Tenure charges were brought against an employee of the Paterson Board of Education (“Board”). The employee’s attorney received notice two days before a […]

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When “The Easy Way Out” Isn’t So Easy – Beware of Litigation from Non-Tenured Teachers Who Are Non-Renewed

By on January 18, 2021 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

As a practitioner who has spent most of his legal career as a school board attorney serving as general or labor counsel to boards of education, I address a trend that seems to be on the rise – litigation brought for employment discrimination in the wake of a non-tenured teacher being non-renewed at the conclusion of the teacher’s annual employment contract. In the world of school law, a “non-renewal” is distinct from a “termination,” “discharge,” or “firing” in both the legal and practical sense.  The latter tend to occur upon notice, and, in the public school context, almost always with […]

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Ban Parents from School Campuses Only as Last Resort

By on December 29, 2020 in Students with 0 Comments

Lauren E. Tedesco-Dallas, Esq., a shareholder in the firm’s School Law Group, was recently interviewed by Special Ed Connection on the topic of banning parents from school campuses. To view the PDF version of the article, please click here.

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Attorney’s Fees Not Available Under OPMA

By on December 16, 2020 in Open Public Meetings Act with 0 Comments

Plaintiff John Paff filed a lawsuit in the Law Division of the New Jersey Superior Court against the Trenton Board of Education (“Board”) alleging, in part, that the Board violated the Open Public Meetings Act (“OPMA”) and the New Jersey Civil Rights Act (“NJCRA”) because the Board did not reference the payment of a merit bonus to the Superintendent on its agenda for a public meeting. Plaintiff argued that if he prevailed on this issue, he would be entitled to attorney’s fees under OPMA. While the Superior Court found that the Board violated OPMA by failing to provide the public […]

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