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C.P. v. New Jersey Department of Education

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

December 19, 2019

C.P., individually and on behalf of F.P., a minor child, et al. Plaintiffs,
v.
NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         WHEREAS on November 11, 2019, proposed amici curiae SPAN Parent Advocacy Network; Advocates for Children of New Jersey; Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates; Disability Rights New Jersey; Education Law Center; N.J. Special Education Practitioners; Volunteer Lawyers for Justice; Esther Canty-Barnes, Esq.; and Jennifer N. Rosen Valverde, Esq. (collectively, “Amici Curiae”), filed a motion for leave to appear as amici curiae and for leave to file their briefing as within time, in support of Plaintiffs' motions for class certification and for a preliminary injunction (ECF No. 39); and

         WHEREAS Amici Curiae represented to the Court that they “obtained consent for leave to file from Plaintiffs' Counsel . . . and obtained neither consent for nor objection to leave to file from Defendants' Counsel” (ECF No. 39 at 16); and

         WHEREAS the Court construed the representation of Amici Curiae as evincing a lack of opposition - by all parties - to their involvement in this action; and

         WHEREAS on that basis, and after conducting its own review, on November 12, 2019, this Court granted Amici Curiae's motion for leave to appear (ECF No. 40); and

         WHEREAS on November 25, 2019, despite Amici Curiae's representation, Defendants advised the Court of their opposition to Amici Curiae's involvement in this action (ECF No. 50); and

         WHEREAS in light of the circumstances and to avoid any prejudice, the Court vacated its Order granting Amici Curiae's motion for leave to appear (ECF No. 40) and provided Defendants an opportunity to file opposition to Amici Curiae's motion; and

         WHEREAS on December 13, 2019, Defendants did in fact file such opposition (ECF No. 59); and

         WHEREAS Defendants argue that Amici Curiae should not be granted leave to appear because the position they support is “already adequately represented” by Plaintiffs and their counsel (ECF No. 59 at 3); and

         WHEREAS further, Defendants argue that the Court should deny Amici Curiae's motion on the grounds that Amici Curiae “are merely attempting to appear as yet another advocate for Plaintiffs' position.” (ECF No. 59 at 4); and

         WHEREAS Defendants therefore conclude that “[b]ecause [Amici Curiae] are unable to serve as an objective resource to this Court due to their clear interest and bias, their participation is not necessary or appropriate and their motion for leave to appear should be denied.” (ECF No. 59 at 4-5); and

         WHEREAS Plaintiffs filed reply papers generally disputing Defendants' position (ECF No. 60); and

         WHEREAS Amici Curiae argue that their favoring one position over another does not render their involvement in this action inappropriate or unwarranted. Particularly, Amici Curiae argue that neither “the rules of federal court practice nor case precedent supports Defendant's [sic] erroneous proposition that an amicus curiae's support of a party's position is tantamount to a lack of neutrality or objectivity.” (ECF No. 61 at 6); and

         WHEREAS moreover, Amici Curiae aver that their involvement is not duplicative. Amici Curiae argue that they appear to inform the Court of the interests of ‚Äúvulnerable children with disabilities in the State, including those whose families are indigent or low income; those who are undocumented and/or have limited English proficiency; those whose parents, too, are disabled; those whose parents have limited educations; and those who are involved in the child welfare or juvenile justice ...


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