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McGrath v. City of Jersey City

New Jersey Supreme Court


Decided: June 29, 1962.

JAMES P. MCGRATH, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
CITY OF JERSEY CITY, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

For affirmance -- Chief Justice Weintraub, and Justices Jacobs, Francis, Proctor, Hall, Schettino and Haneman. For reversal -- None.

Per Curiam

[38 NJ Page 32]

We affirm for the reasons expressed by the Law Division in McGrath v. Jersey City, 70 N.J. Super. 143 (1961), which in turn followed D'Elia v. Jersey City, 57 N.J. Super. 466 (App. Div. 1959).

In D'Elia the Appellate Division held that under N.J.S.A. 40:46-34, a municipal employee who had been illegally suspended and then reinstated was entitled to his back pay without mitigation. In reaching its conclusion the court properly stressed the unequivocal language of the statute and its forceful history. It is worthy of note that, in furtherance of the public interest, Congress and many state legislatures have made suitable provision for mitigation and this court has repeatedly suggested that legislation dealing comprehensively with the subject should be considered by the New Jersey Legislature. See Graham v. Asbury Park, 37 N.J. 166, 167 (1962); Lowenstein v. Newark Bd. of Education, 35 N.J. 94, 124 (1961); Miele v. McGuire, 31 N.J. 339, 351 (1960); De Marco v. Bd. of Chosen Freeholders of Bergen County, 21 N.J. 136, 147 (1956); cf. 5 U.S.C. § 652 b) (1948); Cal. Gov't Code § 19584; N.Y. Civ. Serv. Law §§ 77, 75(3); O'Brien v. United States, 151 F. Supp. 282, 138 Ct. Cl. 296 (Ct. Cl. 1957); Mullane v. McKenzie, 269 N.Y. 369, 199 N.E. 624, 103 A.L.R. 758 (Ct. App. 1936), reargument denied 270 N.Y. 563, 200 N.E. 319 (Ct. App. 1936); see also Iowa Code Ann. § 365.27 (Supp. 1961); 2 N.M. Stat. Ann. § 5-4-40 (Supp. 1961); Pa. Stat. Ann. tit. 53, § 12638 (1957); Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 41.08.090, 41.12.090 (1961). No such legislation has been adopted and the judicial function in the instant matter is but to apply the pertinent terms of N.J.S.A. 40:46-34. We are satisfied that the Law Division applied the statute properly and that its allowance of interest from the date of reinstatement did not exceed its discretionary power. See Agnew Co. v. Paterson Bd. of Education, 83 N.J. Eq. 49, 67 (Ch. 1914), aff'd 83 N.J. Eq. 336, 339 (E. & A. 1914);

[38 NJ Page 33]

Deerhurst Estates v. Meadow Homes, Inc., 64 N.J. Super. 134, 155 (App. Div. 1960), certif. denied 34 N.J. 66 (1961); cf. Consolidated Police, &c., Pension Fund Commn. v. Passaic, 23 N.J. 645, 652 (1957); Hankin v. Hamilton Twp. Bd. of Education, 47 N.J. Super. 70, 84 (App. Div. 1957), certif. denied 25 N.J. 489 (1957).

19620629


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