Madden & Madden PA
108 Kings Highway East
Haddonfield, NJ 08033

Phone: 856.428.9520
Fax: 856.428.7335

Latest News

Regina M. Philipps wins summary judgment on behalf of local Board of Ed. in federal action

- January 08, 2018

Madden & Madden Associate Regina M. Philipps successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of the Egg Harbor Township Board of Education and its Vice Principal (the “Board Defendants”) pursuant to a lengthy opinion issued on December 26, 2017 by The Honorable Jerome B. Simandle, United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey.

In Paredes v. EHT Bd. of Educ., the minor plaintiff, a student in the EHT School District (the “District”), brought suit against the Board Defendants and other EHT Police Officer defendants asserting various constitutional and common law tort claims arising out of plaintiff’s suspension for theft after plaintiff was found in possession of a fellow student’s stolen iPhone.

Plaintiff alleged that he “found” an iPhone in his bag on the school bus on his way home from school and flushed the SIM card down the toilet when he got home so that the phone could not be tracked. The iPhone’s owner, a student on plaintiff’s wrestling team, reported it stolen from his locker following wrestling practice, and his father tracked the phone’s location to plaintiff’s residence using the “Find my iPhone” app. The following day, the EHT High School vice principal met with plaintiff and also was advised by the EHT Police Department as to the circumstances surrounding the recovery of the iPhone from plaintiff’s residence pursuant to the existing Uniform Memorandum of Agreement between the EHT Police Department and the District. Plaintiff was suspended for four days for theft in accordance with the EHT High School Disciplinary Code.

Plaintiff alleged that the Board Defendants violated his constitutional rights by improperly suspending him without due process and sought an Order expunging his disciplinary record. Plaintiff additionally sought a declaratory judgment that the Uniform Memorandum of Agreement between the District and the EHT Police Department was “invalid.” The Court ultimately held that the District had a process in place that provided due process to students, that the process was followed by the Board Defendants, that plaintiff failed to take advantage of the processes available to appeal the suspension and/or seek expungement of the suspension, and that plaintiff’s constitutional claims failed as a matter of law. As set forth in Judge Simandle’s Opinion, “it would more likely ‘shock the conscience’ if the Board Defendants took no disciplinary action to suspend [p]laintiff…”

Additionally, the Court found no evidence that the Uniform Memorandum of Agreement was invalid or otherwise unlawful, and also dismissed plaintiff’s constitutional claims against the EHT Police Officers.

If you are faced with a constitutional issue, it is recommended that you seek experienced counsel immediately. Contact us .