A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Appellate Division Addresses Rights of Part-Time Teachers Under Tenure Act

By on March 6, 2018 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

By: Robert A. Muccilli, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. Educational service commissions sometimes employ part-time teachers to work in public and non-public schools. The Sussex County Educational Services Commission (“Commission”) reduced the number of hours worked by part-time teachers but did not alter the hourly rate of pay. In Zimmerman et al. v. Sussex County Educational Services Commission two teachers challenged the action arguing that their tenure and seniority rights were violated. The Commissioner of Education (“Commissioner”) sided with the Commission by determining that the decrease in work hours did not reduce the teachers’ compensation or trigger their seniority rights […]

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Third Circuit Upholds Dismissal of Parents’ Complaint for Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies – Again

By on February 27, 2018 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

In the last year, our federal courts have addressed the exhaustion of administrative remedies requirement for parents who bring claims against a school district on behalf of a disabled student under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (“Section 504”). Notably, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in February 2017 in Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools that parents are required to exhaust administrative remedies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) when the heart of their complaint alleges a denial of a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”). The Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which applies to New Jersey, recently applied the […]

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Draft Meeting Minutes Not Subject to Disclosure Under OPRA

By on February 20, 2018 in Open Public Records Act with 0 Comments

By: Robert A. Muccilli, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. Now and then even the Government Records Council (“GRC”) is sued. In a published decision issued on January 26, 2018 by the New Jersey Appellate Division in Libertarians for Transparent Government v. Government Records Council and Frank Caruso, the plaintiff alleged that the GRC violated the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”) and the common law by failing to produce draft minutes of a GRC meeting. Finding that the draft minutes were protected by the deliberative process privilege, the trial court rejected the plaintiff’s claims. The plaintiff appealed. On appeal, the plaintiff […]

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SEC Issues Advisory Opinion on Board Member Who is a Current Student

By on February 13, 2018 in Board Members with 0 Comments

In January, numerous individuals took the oath of office to officially begin their service as a school board member. Potential conflict of interest issues are never ending. On January 3, 2018, the New Jersey School Ethics Commission (“SEC”) issued Advisory Opinion 36-17 which addressed questions pertaining to a newly elected board of education member who is also a current student within the same school district. The individual in question is an eighteen year old, twelfth grade student currently enrolled in the school district. The individual also serves as the Senior Class President and is a member of the Principal’s Advisory […]

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Proactive Representation Part II: Proving a Case for Emergent Relief on Behalf of a School District

By on February 6, 2018 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

By: Cameron R. Morgan, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. In last week’s segment, we discussed the importance of filing for due process and seeking emergent relief on behalf of a school district when the parents of a child receiving special education and related services take action, or refused to take action, in a way that prevents the district from fulfilling its legal obligation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) to provide the child with his or her right to a free and appropriate public education (“FAPE”). Today, we discuss the mechanics of doing so and highlight the […]

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Proactive Representation Part I: Knowing When to File for Due Process or Seek Emergent Relief on Behalf of a School District

By on January 30, 2018 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

By: Cameron R. Morgan, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. In the increasingly litigious world of special education, New Jersey school districts and Board attorneys are generally accustomed to being on the receiving end of lawsuits with parents. Yet, understanding how and under what circumstances to file for due process or seek emergent relief can be just as important to ensuring your district is legally compliant as defending a due process petition filed by a parent. Special education practitioners representing districts that are facing uncooperative parents would do well to remember one thing: when parents place the child study team […]

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Cadillac Tax on Health Care Plans Delayed Again

By on January 24, 2018 in Legislation with 0 Comments

By: Robert A. Muccilli, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. In the context of labor negotiations, health benefits is an important issue to both sides of the bargaining table. On January 22, 2018, Congress passed and the President signed into law a two-year delay on the Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA”) 40% excise tax on health care plans, also known as the Cadillac tax. The 40% excise tax applies to the amount by which the cost of coverage exceeds certain monetary thresholds. For individual and family coverage, the annual premium thresholds are $10,800 and $29,500, respectively. The tax was initially slated to […]

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Appellate Division Expands Right to Electronically Stored Information Under OPRA

By on January 23, 2018 in Open Public Records Act with 0 Comments

In June 2017, the New Jersey Supreme Court in Paff v. Galloway Township expanded the scope of the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”) to require public entities to produce information relating to the “sender,” “recipient,” “date,” and “subject” of emails even if that means the agency would need to create a new document. On January 12, 2018, the New Jersey Appellate Division continued to expand the right to electronically stored information under OPRA in the published decision Conley v. New Jersey Department of Corrections, Docket No. A-4754-14T3. The legal question before the Appellate Division in this case was whether data […]

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Legislature Revises Requirements for Use of Restraints on Disabled Students

Educational facilities, including public school districts, may use physical restraints to support students with disabilities experiencing significant behavioral difficulties. Such interventions must be implemented by trained personnel. On January 8, 2018, the New Jersey Legislature approved Senate Bill 1163, which updated the requirements for use of restraints on students with disabilities in school districts, educational services commissions, and approved private schools for students with disabilities. As a threshold matter, physical restraint is defined as the “use of a personal restriction that immobilizes or reduces the ability of a student to move all or a portion of his or her body.” […]

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OPRA Does Not Require Disclosure of Reasons for Public Employee’s Voluntary Resignation

By on January 11, 2018 in Open Public Records Act with 0 Comments

By: Cameron R. Morgan, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. In a case construing the “personnel records” exception to the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”), the Appellate Division recently held that OPRA does not require disclosure of detailed reasons for a government employee’s resignation, where public records do not contain such information. There are 21 exceptions to the definition of a “government record” under the OPRA statute, few of which are as frequently the source of litigation as the exception for personnel records. This is most likely because there are three exceptions to that exception itself, two of which permit […]

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