United States District Court, D. New Jersey
K.N. and J.N., on behalf of J.N., Plaintiffs,
GLOUCESTER CITY BOARD OF EDUCATION, Defendant.
CATHERINE MERINO REISMAN REISMAN CAROLLA GRAN & ZUBA LLP
19 CHESTNUT STREET HADDONFIELD, N.J. 08033-1810 Attorney for
Plaintiffs K.N. and J.N, on behalf of J.N.
E.J. GORMAN PARKER MCCAY PA 9000 MIDLANTIC DRIVE. LAUREL,
N.J. 08054 Attorney for Defendant Gloucester City Board of
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
case concerns the appeal of a decision of an administrative
law judge (“ALJ”) finding no violations of
federal and state anti-discrimination laws. The Defendant
school district provides services for an autistic child, J.N,
through an after-school program (“ASP”).
Presently before the Court are Defendant's Motion for
Reconsideration and Motion to Certify an Issue for
Interlocutory Appeal (the “Motion to Certify”
and, collectively, the “Motions”). As described
herein, the Court will deny Defendant's Motion for
Reconsideration and deny Defendant's Motion to Certify.
Court will rely upon the facts stated in its March 29, 2019
Opinion and will only restate those facts as necessary to the
disposition of the Motions. Since this Court filed its March
29, 2019 Opinion and Order, Defendant filed its Motions for
Reconsideration and to Certify an Issue for Interlocutory
Appeal. The Motions have been fully briefed by the parties
and are ripe for adjudication.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1367.
Motion for Reconsideration Standard
Rule 7.1(i) allows a party to file a motion with the Court
requesting the Court to reconsider the “matter or
controlling decisions which the party believes the Judge or
Magistrate Judge has overlooked.” Under Local Rule
7.1(i), the moving party must demonstrate “‘the
need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent
manifest injustice.'” Andreyko v. Sunrise Sr.
Living, Inc., 993 F.Supp.2d 475, 478 (D.N.J. 2014)
(citations omitted). In doing so, the moving party must show
the “‘dispositive factual matter or controlling
decisions of law'” it believes the court overlooked
in its initial decision. Mitchell, 913 F.Supp.2d at
78 (citation omitted). A mere disagreement with the Court
will not suffice to show that the Court overlooked relevant
facts or controlling law. United States v. Compaction
Sys. Corp., 88 F.Supp.2d 339, 345 (D.N.J. 1999).
Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration
moves for reconsideration of the Court's decision to
grant summary judgment as to Plaintiff's New Jersey Law
Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) claim.
Defendant's argument is threefold. First, Defendant
argues Plaintiffs were required to commence a proceeding
before the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights
(“NJDCR”) or file their NJLAD claim directly in
New Jersey Superior Court. A failure to do so, according to
Defendant, requires dismissal on procedural grounds. Second,
Defendant argues that even if the NJLAD claim may remain
before this Court, Defendant should be given an opportunity
to engage in discovery and present the claim before a jury,
assuming a genuine issue of material fact remains. Plaintiffs
disagree on both points, arguing that it was proper to bring
the NJLAD claim first in federal district court and that
Defendant has affirmatively waived its right to a jury trial
or further discovery in this case. Third, Defendant argues
the differing burdens at the administrative and district
court level require the Court to reconsider its decision.
Court will first address the question of whether
administrative exhaustion before the NJDCR is required.
Plaintiffs argue that “NJLAD complainants, in the
ordinary course, are entitled to proceed directly to court
without exhausting administrative remedies anywhere.”
(Pls.' Opp'n Br. 4.) “[T]he NJLAD does not have
an exhaustion of remedies requirement.” Weisberg v.
Realogy Corp., No. 12-30 (JLL), 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
38931, at *7 (D.N.J. Mar. 22, 2012). Defendant's argument
admits this much, saying “[i]nstead of the
above-discussed proceedings before the [N]DCR] . . . a
complainant may file a complaint in the Superior
Court of New ...