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.

Seventh Circuit Holds University’s Mandatory COVID Vaccination Policy Does Not Violate Constitutional Rights

By on August 4, 2021 in Students with 0 Comments

By: Gitika Kapoor, Law ClerkEditor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq On August 2, 2021, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Klaassen v. Trustees of Indiana University held that Indiana University, a public educational institution, may continue its policy to require students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to return to campus for the fall semester. The Court held that the vaccine requirement does not violate a student’s substantive due process rights under Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Indiana University’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate offers two exemptions: medical and religious. In light of safety concerns arising from the risk […]

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Court Affirms Failing to Collaborate Gives Reason to Deny Tuition Reimbursement Under the IDEA

By: Sean P. Dugan, Law ClerkEditor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. On June 8, 2021, the U.S. District Court of New Jersey affirmed the ruling of an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) in I.G. et al. v. Linden City Board of Education that the parents of a student with a disability who unilaterally placed their child in a private school were not entitled to tuition reimbursement. In Linden City, the parents of the student sought reimbursement for the private school tuition. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), a parent who does not believe that their child is being provided a […]

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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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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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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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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 […]

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