Charter School Representation

We provide a range of legal services unique to Utah charter schools including civil claims defense, internal investigations, employment issues, and more

Civil Claims Defense

Because of the special relationship between a school and its students, charter schools can be subject to various claims.  Our team of charter school lawyers in Utah, have extensive experience defending individuals and businesses against these claims.  This includes work injuries, defective premises, teacher/employee negligence, civil rights, public records, and other claims that often apply to charter schools. We are frequently retained by clients or their insurance carriers relating to an alleged fault.

An initial step in any such liability defense is to carefully review the facts of the case. Given the unique status of charter schools, we are familiar with the importance of conducting a thorough investigation and review. We engage experts as needed to assess alleged damages and injuries. We work with our clients and insurance companies to develop a defense strategy in the client’s best interest. Our firm’s extensive litigation experience helps when conflicts cannot be resolved outside the courtroom.  We are well positioned and ready to take matters to trial if needed, although we make every effort to reconcile the situation before it reaches that point.

We represent governmental entities throughout the State of Utah involving a wide range of issues, including business transactions and litigation.  In many cases, governmental immunity prevents people and entities from suing a government as well as government employees and officials, which can include charter schools under certain circumstances.  We understand the nuances of these complex laws and were active in the bipartisan working group that drafted the Reenacted 2004 Governmental Immunity Act (which clarified governmental immunity law following a Utah Supreme Court case that had restricted immunity).

For more information about our charter schools civil claims defense work, please contact Heather S. White.

 

Internal Investigations

Internal investigations are most commonly triggered by leading information suggesting the school and/or its employees engaged in serious misconduct.  This information can originate from several sources including past or present employees, students, or their parents.  While not every allegation of serious wrongdoing warrants an internal investigation, most do.  Federal and state regulatory agencies typically look favorably upon charter schools that engage in self-policing through internal investigations.

A charter school owes certain duties to its employees and its students.  When an allegation of wrongdoing is made by a student and/or an employee, the school has a duty to inform themselves regarding the underlying conduct at issue and to take whatever steps are necessary to protect the interests of the school, its employees, and its students.  An internal investigation, conducted by outside counsel, will uncover the relevant facts and at the same time give school administrators protection from claims of tampering or self-dealing.  Our objective in conducting an internal investigation is to gather as much information as possible and to then make recommendations on the appropriate course of action.  This action is focused on aiding the school’s administration in their decision making while also protecting the school and the its administrators.

Our Utah charter school lawyers include a former Assistant United States Attorney who, among other skills, is uniquely qualified to conduct internal investigations.  There are many issues involved when conducting an internal investigation including attorney-client privilege matters, rights of employees, and what and when should disclosures be made to government officials.  Our legal team has conducted multiple internal investigations and will help guide your school through the process.

For more information about our charter schools internal investigations work, please contact Nathan A. Crane.

 

Employer Defense

With our extensive background and successful track record defending Utah private and public employers, we are a natural fit for representation of charter schools on employment law issues. These issues may include allegations of wrongful employment practices, including claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination and demotion, or alleged violations of state and federal statutes, such as the Family Medical Leave Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, Title VII, OSHA, and the Utah Protection of Public Employees Act. We represent charter school clients in court and before administrative bodies.

Our team of employment attorneys also assist with adopting well-written handbooks and policies, advising on proper employee training, and assisting with prompt and thorough investigation of complaints. Much of our practice is focused on helping employers take proactive steps to minimize potential disputes and litigation. This includes helping our employer clients maintain thorough and updated policy and guidebook development and implementing proper investigative and employee review procedures.

We are also experienced in representing charter schools in relation to their contracts with employees. This includes preparing employment contracts and advising charter schools on interpretation of those contracts.

For more information about our charter schools employer defense work, please contact Nathan R. Skeen.

Practice Contacts

Heather S. White

Dani N. Cepernich

Nathan A. Crane

Rachel E. Phillips

Nathan R. Skeen