Defamation District Court dismissed school’s counterclaim for defamation where parent comments were formed as an opinion and Court expressed concern over the potential chilling effect on matters involving the public interest that such litigation would create. Sky R., v. Haddonfield Friends School, Civil Action No. 14-5730, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43002 (March 31, 2016).

Discrimination District Court determined that private school was exempt from the requirements of the NJLAD where, the property leased to the school was to be used exclusively as an independent Quaker school. Moment of silence has religious connotations. Sky R., v. Haddonfield Friends School, Civil Action No. 14-5730, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43002 (March 31, 2016).

District Court found that social worker failed to meet her initial burden of demonstrating a prima facie case of racial discrimination where building principal spoke Spanish to bilingual Latino employees in front of English-only speaking employees; conduct may have been insensitive, but lacked racial animus. Other interactions between Plaintiff and principal may have been less than pleasant, but did not evidence racial discrimination and did not create a hostile work environment. Edmond v. Plainfield Bd. of Educ., No. 11-cv-2805 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36010 (D.N.J., March 18, 2016).

Social worker demonstrated sufficient evidence of district retaliation in response to her allegations of discrimination where she was transferred to a different school, subjected to a demand for a psychiatric evaluation, and where such demand was not redacted in response to an OPRA which resulted in the demand being posted to a blogger’s website. Edmond v. Plainfield Bd. of Educ., No. 11-cv-2805 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36010 (D.N.J., March 18, 2016)

District Court denied motion for summary judgment where the district denied that it engaged in reverse discrimination by failing to hire a Caucasian candidate for an open special education position following superintendent recommendation. Evidence suggested that board rejected qualified candidate based on race in response to complaint by community activist that the board failed to hire minority applicants. Shields v. Penns Grove-Carneys Point Reg’l. Sch. Dist., Civ. No. 14-2106, 2016 U.S. Dist. Lexis 26675, (D.N.J. March 1, 2016).

District Court granted board’s motion for summary judgment against a pro se teacher who alleged age, race, gender, and retaliatory discrimination in adverse employment actions imposed against him. Teacher failed to exhaust the administrative remedies attendant to his Title VII claims before the EEOC. With regard to his NJLAD claims, teacher failed to establish a link between any protected characteristic and an adverse employment action. Holmes v. Newark Public Schools, Et Al., Civil No. 13-765, 2016 U.S. Dist. Lexis 68494 (D.N.J. May 25, 2016).

Rules of Procedure District Court determined that special education parents pled sufficient facts to amend a complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 15, which provides that the Court “should freely give leave when justice so requires.” An amendment must be permitted in the absence of undue delay, bad faith, dilatory motive, unfair prejudice, or futility of amendment. The Court further clarified that amendment of the complaint is futile if the amendment will not cure the deficiency in the original complaint or if the amended complaint cannot withstand a renewed motion to dismiss. Here, plaintiff demonstrated that amendment would not be futile because once a school district opens a preschool for the disabled, it is required, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:44-1, to admit nondisabled peers, thus allowing disabled preschool students to be educated with their nondisabled peers. A.S. v. Harrison Twp. Bd. of Educ., Civil No. 14-147, 2015 U.S. Dist. Lexis 132036, (Sept. 29, 2015)

District Court granted parents’ motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction where school district filed appeal of appealed ALJ’s sufficiency determination and order requiring the district to complete an initial evaluation of student who was registered in the district, but was not attending district schools. RE: Hopewell Valley Reg’l. Bd. of Ed. v. J.R., Civil No. 3:15-cv-8477, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28888, (D.N.J., March 7, 2016). See also,Hopewell Valley Reg’l Bd. of Ed. v. J.R., Civil No. 3:15-cv-8477, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58392, (D.N.J., May 3, 2016), motion for reconsideration denied.