Discrimination Suit Filed Against The New Jersey State Bar Association

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ, October 15, 2021 – The Law Office of Rajeh A. Saadeh, L.L.C., filed a discrimination lawsuit today against the New Jersey State Bar Association in the Superior Court of New Jersey in Middlesex County. A copy of the complaint is found here: https://www.rajehsaadeh.com/news/

The action alleges the plaintiff was subjected to discrimination and civil rights violations based on race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, and disability in his eligibility for positions in the NJSBA’s governing body, Nominating Committee, and Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee. In support of these allegations, the plaintiff provided writings and communications from the NJSBA showing that he is excluded from certain seats and positions due to his identity while others are included for being members of certain races, genders, sexual orientations, and other identifying categories.

According to the complaint, these discriminatory policies have been in place since at least 2015. The complaint also indicates that individuals, including NJSBA trustees, managers, and employees, are also liable for their roles in establishing, promoting, and furthering the discrimination and civil rights violations.

The plaintiff is represented by Lindsay A. McKillop of The Law Office of Rajeh A. Saadeh, L.L.C.

According to the complaint, the NJSBA precludes the plaintiff from obtaining certain positions in its governing body because of his identity while others are eligible for said seats because of their colors, races, genders, and other characteristics. The complaint also explains that plaintiff is eligible for other positions in the NJSBA’s governing body, Nominating Committee, and Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee only if he is also a member of certain diversity bar associations, while other people with certain identities are eligible for such positions without having to be members of any other bar association.

“The NJSBA claims that it supports diversity and inclusion. But in reality, based on its own policies, decisions, and documents, it prohibits the plaintiff from obtaining important positions because of his identity, no matter his qualifications. That is not inclusion; it’s exclusion, and it’s illegal,” said Ms. McKillop.

The NJSBA’s governing body is called the Board of Trustees, according to the complaint. The Nominating Committee effectively selects almost all members of the Board of Trustees, including the NJSBA president, and one of the powers of the NJSBA president is to select many members of the Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee, which vets state judicial and prosecutorial nominees and opines to the Governor whether they are qualified for such positions.

The plaintiff endured humiliation, emotional distress, mental anguish, pain, and suffering due to the discrimination he faced, the complaint alleges. And, considering all circumstances according to the complaint, including the public interest and impact the NJSBA has on the appointment of state prosecutors, judges, and Supreme Court justices, the complaint states that the NJSBA’s actions are “particularly egregious and outrageous.”

“We admire the plaintiff for his courage in standing up to the NJSBA, an 18,000-plus member organization of mostly lawyers, for its system of unlawful discrimination and civil rights violations,” said Ms. McKillop. “He put his career, livelihood, and professional relationships at risk for the sake of equality, fairness, and the public’s interest and confidence in the justice system. We look forward to a jury’s verdict.”

The action alleges the NJSBA violated the Law Against Discrimination. In addition to a declaration that the NJSBA violated said law, the lawsuit seeks to stop the NJSBA from continuing to do so, including by vacating any positions filled under discriminatory criteria and compelling the NJSBA to make its policies lawful, in addition to unspecified monetary damages, punitive damages, and an award of attorney fees and other legal costs and expenses.

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