A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev

Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. concentrates her practice on the representation of boards of education and charter schools in all areas of school law including: labor and employment, special education, Section 504, student discipline, FERPA, Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, student residency, civil rights, tenure, OPRA, and OPMA. In connection with these representations, she is experienced in handling matters before State and Federal courts, including the Office of Administrative Law. Ms. Dev is an experienced special education litigator and defends school districts in due process hearings from inception through trial. In addition, she has handled matters before governmental agencies, including the U.S. Office for Civil Rights and New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. Ms. Dev routinely conducts training and seminars, drafts policies and manuals, and provides strategic advice to school administrators regarding school law issues. Ms. Dev was recently recognized as one of South Jersey’s Awesome Attorneys as published by South Jersey Magazine. She is licensed to practice law in New Jersey, the District Court for the District of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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 […]

Share

Continue Reading »

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 […]

Share

Continue Reading »

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 […]

Share

Continue Reading »

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 […]

Share

Continue Reading »

Executive Order 204 Imposes Additional Restrictions on School Sports

By on December 2, 2020 in Legislation with 0 Comments

On November 30, 2020, Governor Philip Murphy signed Executive Order 204, which imposes additional restrictions on how New Jersey school districts conduct sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. As it applies to school districts, Executive Order 204: Prohibits indoor sports (including practices and games); and Limits outdoor sports to 25 people. However, players, coaches, and referees necessary for the practice/game are not counted toward the total 25. These restrictions begin on December 5, 2020 and end on January 2, 2021, unless otherwise revoked or modified by the Governor. The Governor may decide to continue the restrictions or modify them based on […]

Share

Continue Reading »

Appellate Division Affirms Electronic Voting by BOE

On October 30, 2020, the New Jersey Appellate Division in Schwartz v. Princeton Board of Education issued an unpublished decision affirming that a board of education may utilize an electronic voting system so long as all of the other requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act (“OPMA”) are met. In other words, electronic voting by board of education members is not a per se violation of OPMA. Plaintiffs, members of the public, filed a lawsuit against the Princeton Board of Education (“Board”) alleging that its vote on a specific agenda item at its June 12, 2018 public meeting violated OPMA. […]

Share

Continue Reading »

Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies May Not Apply to Section 504 Claims

By on September 29, 2020 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

On September 23, 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in McIntyre v. Eugene School District that the exhaustion of administrative remedies is not required when the claims do not allege a denial of a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”). The case involved a student with attention deficit disorder who alleged that her school district violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act when it did not provide her with disability-related testing accommodations and failed to follow an emergency health protocol. In the complaint, […]

Share

Continue Reading »

NJDOE Issues Guidance on ESY 2020 During COVID-19 Pandemic

On June 12, 2020, the New Jersey Department of Education (“NJDOE”) provided guidance to school districts on the delivery of extended school year (“ESY”) services to eligible students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The NJDOE’s guidance was in response to the Governor’s recent Executive Order 149 allowing for in-person ESY programming beginning on or after July 6, 2020. Pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) and corresponding New Jersey regulations, once a school district determines that a student with disability requires additional educational services during the summer, the school district is required to include an ESY program […]

Share

Continue Reading »

N.J. Supreme Court Decides Issue on Compensation for Unused Sick Time

On April 20, 2020, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an important decision regarding a teacher’s right to compensation for unused sick leave at the time of retirement or separation from a board of education. In Barila v. Board of Education of Cliffside Park, the State’s Supreme Court held that the unambiguous terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the teachers’ union and the board of education dictated the right to sick leave compensation upon retirement and such agreement did not violate a vested right. The Cliffside Park Education Association (“Association”) is the exclusive collective bargaining representative for all teachers […]

Share

Continue Reading »

GRC Issues Guidance on COVID-19 Impacts on OPRA

As previously addressed on this blog, on March 20, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Assembly Bill No. 3849 into law which relaxes the deadline by which public agencies are required to respond to requests for government records under the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”) during a period of a declared emergency, such as the current COVID-19 health crisis. On March 26, 2020 the Government Records Council (“GRC”) issued a special statement regarding the modification. Under normal circumstances, the custodian of records of a public agency must respond to an OPRA request within seven (7) business days by either granting access to […]

Share

Continue Reading »

Top