Initial Fairness Hearing
On November 22, 2011, the Court provisionally approved and entered the Consent Decree and scheduled an Initial Fairness Hearing for March 12, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. at the United States Courthouse, Martin Luther King Building, 50 Walnut Street, Newark, New Jersey 07101. The purpose of the Initial Fairness Hearing is to provide persons who may be affected by the terms of the decree with notice and an opportunity to object before the Court approves final entry of the decree.
Before the Initial Fairness Hearing, the State will send a letter containing a “Notice of Fairness Hearing” and other information regarding the decree to all New Jersey police officers in the jurisdictions listed in Attachment D and Attachment K, all police sergeants in jurisdictions that participate in the State’s civil service system and all potential Claimants for whom the State has a current address. The Notice will include instructions on how to file an objection to the terms of the decree.
At the Initial Fairness Hearing, the Court will consider any objections to the decree and any responses to those objections submitted by the United States and the State. Afterwards, if the Court determines that the terms of the decree are fair, reasonable, equitable and otherwise consistent with federal law, the Court will approve and enter the decree as final.
Steps Following Initial Fairness Hearing
After final approval and entry of the decree, the State will send a notice to potential Claimants that the decree has been entered and that they are considered to be preliminarily eligible for monetary relief and/or priority promotion. Along with the notice, the State will provide an “interest in relief” form, which potential Claimants must return to the United States to be considered for monetary relief and/or priority promotion. Upon receiving the interest in relief forms, the United States will create a preliminary relief awards list and notify potential Claimants of the United States’ preliminary determination of relief awards. The list will identify those individuals who the United States believes were injured by the State’s uses of the challenged exam and are therefore entitled to relief, along with the type of relief these individuals are entitled to receive. The notice will inform potential Claimants how to object to this preliminary determination if they disagree with the United States’ determination.
After all objections have been received, the Court will conduct a Fairness Hearing on Individual Relief to decide on individual relief awards and to resolve any objections filed regarding the United States’ individual relief determinations.