C.E. v. Elizabeth Public Sch. Dist.

The New Jersey Appellate Division dealt with an Open Public Records Act request that, in the words of the trial court, was about leveling the playing field so parents of special needs children can know what has been provided in similar cases so that their child is protected. The plaintiffs requested each case activity sheet or docket sheet that showed an entry of activity in cases in which the Elizabeth Board of Education was a party. The Office of Administrative Law identified twenty special education cases for the relevant period and provided a caption of the case, a docket number, and a notation of the matter’s disposition. The defendants appealed, claiming the OPRA request should have been denied and that the trial court should not have awarded counsel fees because the plaintiffs were not a prevailing party. The Appellate Division disagreed and affirmed the trial court’s orders.

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