CASE SUMMARY: LFTG v. Shore Regional High School District

Case Name:  LFTG v. Shore Regional High School District, et al
Docket Number:  MON-L-003750-16
County / Vicinage:  Monmouth
Filing Date:  October 25, 2016
Presiding Judge:  Thornton, Lisa P.
Status:  Open



This lawsuit seeks to clarify:

• Whether the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) Section 10’s requirement that “an individual’s name, title, position, salary, payroll record, length of service, date of separation and the reason therefor, and the amount and type of any pension received shall be a government record” allows citizens to simply ask for that information or whether it requires them to specify government records that contain that information.

• How much information a public body is required to disclose about the reason why a particular employee was separated from his or her public employment. For example, is “Police Officer George Smith resigned” sufficient, or is the public body required to disclose that “Police Officer George Smith resigned because he was under investigation for credit card fraud”?

The lawsuit will also determine whether a request for

All correspondence, including e-mails, from any law enforcement agency or prosecutor, that a) were received by the Board or its agents during 2016 and b) regarded any allegations of wrongdoing pertaining to Mr. Kotch. If you have responsive records that you believe are exempt, please identify the records that you have.

is sufficiently specific or invalid as being “overly broad” as the defendant claims.

The lawsuit arose out a May 13, 2016 newspaper report that former Shore Regional High School District (Monmouth County) business administrator Dennis Kotch “resigned under the cloud of an investigation.” While the school district would not tell the newspaper exactly why Kotch resigned, it did attribute to anonymous sources that Kotch was “the subject of an investigation into the misuse of school funds.” The suit was filed after Shore Regional denied an OPRA request by Libertarians for Transparent Government (LFTG), a NJ nonprofit corporation, that sought to discover more information about Kotch’s resignation.


Case Documents:

Complaint and Brief