Fogarty & Hara provides a variety of services to our school district clients, including, but not limited to: drafting and reviewing contracts, shared services agreements and bid specifications; preparing policies, regulations and resolutions; drafting legal documents and opinion letters; interpreting the impact of various state and/or federal laws and regulations on local policies; conducting inservice for administrators and other employees; and defending claims filed against our school districts or litigating cases on behalf of those entities.
The firm advises its school districts on how to comply and to implement policies consistent with major areas of law such as:
- MANAGEMENT OF SCHOOLS
- STAFF PERSONNEL
- OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT
- OPEN PUBLIC RECORDS ACT
- PUBLIC SCHOOL CONTRACTS LAW
- SCHOOL BUDGETS
- SCHOOL ELECTIONS
- SCHOOL LANDS AND BUILDINGS
- STUDENT DISCIPLINARY MATTERS
- ATTENDANCE AND TRANSPORTATION
- TORT CLAIMS ACT
EMPLOYMENT AND LABOR LAW
Fogarty & Hara provides a broad range of services in this area, including, but not limited to: contract negotiations, administration of labor agreements, disciplinary procedures/hearings; grievance and public sector interest arbitrations; policy formulation and counseling (substance abuse, psychological testing, employee training; termination procedures, family leave legislation and absence control procedures).
We appear on behalf of our clients before various agencies such as the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Division on Civil Rights, Department of Personnel and federal and state courts. Fogarty & Hara counsels its public clients on major laws affecting many aspects of the employer-employee relationship such as the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), Family Leave Act (FLA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The firm has negotiated collective bargaining agreements with police, fire, administrative, supervisory and teacher unions, in addition to individual employment contracts.
SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW
Fogarty & Hara counsels boards of education and litigates over the ever expanding issues arising under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the federal and state regulations promulgated thereunder, including but not limited to: eligibility for special education, determination of free and appropriate education, evaluation, individualized education program, placement, related services, least restrictive environment, inclusion, preschool handicapped programs, monitoring and compliance complaints, student discipline, parental status, pupil records, residency, due process procedures, accessibility requirements, assistive technology and attorneys' fees.
Fogarty & Hara provides construction-related legal services to the vast majority of the boards of education for which we serve as general counsel, which include services for issues arising before, during and after a construction project. Prior to the award of a construction contract, these services typically include, but are not limited to, preparing bid documents, drafting contracts with the architect and/or construction manager, reviewing bids received to ensure they satisfy all legal requirements, and drafting the contract with the successful bidder. The firm has also represented our clients when a bidder challenges the award of a construction contract, either before the Commissioner of Education or in the Superior Court of New Jersey.
Once a board of education awards a construction contract, we provide a variety of services to our clients upon request. These services may include: meeting with the boards’ administrators, design professionals, and/or construction contractors in an attempt to resolve any disputes that have arisen between the parties; reviewing liens filed on the project to determine their legality and to counsel our clients as to how they should respond to the same; and consulting with our clients as to the legal options available to them when a construction contractor is not performing its obligations set forth it the contract. When necessary, we have provided legal counsel to our clients to terminate construction contracts, negotiate with the contractor’s bonding company, and drafted takeover agreements with the bonding company to complete and close out the construction project.
Finally, we have represented our clients in mediation, arbitration and litigation when disputes have arisen over the termination of the contract between the parties, damages for delays to the project and/or defects in the work provided by the contractor.
Fogarty & Hara has litigated matters involving all of the above major areas of law in federal and state courts, including, the United States Supreme Court, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the Federal District Court, the New Jersey Supreme Court, and the Superior Court Appellate Division, Law Division and Chancery Division. The firm has also litigated these matters before various federal and state agencies, including, the Office of Administrative Law, the Commissioner of Education, State Board of Education, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Division on Civil Rights, the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC), the Division of Pensions and the Department of Personnel.