CASE SUMMARY: NJFOG v. Island Heights Board of Education

 

Case Name: NJFOG v. Island Heights Board of Education
Docket Number: OCN-L-703-14
County / Vicinage: Ocean
Filing Date: March 12, 2014
Presiding Judge:  Grasso, Vincent J.
Status: closed

 

Overview:

The complaint alleges multiple violations of the OPMA and OPRA. The Court found for the plaintiff. Court orders obtained.

Judge Grasso ruled on April 25, 2014 that the Island Heights school board had violated the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) because it attempted to justify heavy redactions to the Board’s closed session minutes by advising Plaintiff only that the redactions were warranted because the minutes dealt with “legal, student or personnel issues.” Judge Grasso held that OPRA required the redactions to be explained with specificity and that the Board’s invocation of “three different potential privileges” was not specific enough. He ordered the Board to properly redact the minutes and to provide an unredacted version to the Court for an in camera review.

Judge Grasso ruled on Aug. 26, 2014 that the Island Heights school board violated the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) in two ways. First, he found that the resolutions passed by the board prior to excluding the public from its meetings (i.e., before going into closed or executive session) were too vague to give the public any meaningful information regarding the topics the board was going to privately discuss. Second, he ruled that the board violated the OPMA by discussing matters in closed session that ought to have been discussed with the public present.

 

Case Documents:

Complaint, Brief, sample Order to Show Cause (unsigned), and sample Order (unsigned)
http://ogtf.lpcnj.org/2014/2014086PY/NJFOGvIHBOE.pdf

Judge Grasso’s Opinion Re OPRA counts
http://ogtf.lpcnj.org/2014/2014233oE/GrassoOPRA.pdf

Judge Grasso’s Opinion Re OPMA counts
http://njfog.org/files/2014/08/Island-Heights-8.26.14-OPINION-2.pdf

 

Press Release(s):

See related posts.

 

Related Posts / Articles:

Judge: Island Heights school board violated law
http://njfog.org/2014/09/03/judge-island-heights-school-board-violated-law/

Judge rules Island Heights school board violated public meetings law
http://njfog.org/2014/09/01/judge-rules-island-heights-school-board-violated-public-meetings-law/

NJFOG prevails over Island Heights Board of Ed on redactions
http://njfog.org/2014/07/02/njfog-prevails-island-heights-board-ed-redactions/

NJFOG vs. Island Heights Board of Education
http://njfog.org/2014/04/22/njfog-vs-island-heights-board-education/