Co-Managing Partner Lance J. Kalik provided commentary to the New Jersey Law Journal on November 7, 2018 regarding a case currently before the New Jersey Superior Court, Mercer County, that seeks fee-shifting for violations of the Open Public Meetings Act. The plaintiff in the case is pursuing a ruling that a violation of the state’s Open Public Meetings Act should provide for attorney’s fees for the complainant pursuant to the state’s Civil Rights Act’s fee-shifting provision. While fee-shifting is available for violations of the Open Public Records Act, there is no statutory fee-shifting provision in the Open Public Meetings Act, and therefore the complainant is seeking that remedy under the Civil Rights Act. The case at issue involves a Trenton school board meeting that the complainant claims violated the Open Public Meetings Act.
Lance Kalik, who practices in the Firm’s Litigation, Insurance Law, and School Law practice groups, said that the plaintiff was “attempting to bootstrap the Open Public Meetings Act onto the Civil Rights Act.” Lance suggested that the Legislature would be “the best body to determine whether there should be fee-shifting in OPMA cases.”
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