In this action in lieu of prerogative writs certain defendants move to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted or, in the alternative, for summary judgment.
The complaint alleges that plaintiff Leonardo Colon is a migrant Puerto Rican farm worker who, in conjunction with
Camden Regional Legal Services, Inc. -- Farm Worker Division, a New Jersey nonprofit corporation, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, brings this action against various parties, the owner-lessor of a labor camp and others, including the Department of Labor and Industry, State of New Jersey; Ronald M. Heymann, individually and as Commissioner of that Department; Herbert Heilmann, individually and as Assistant Commissioner of Labor Relations and Work Place Standards, and, as such, Director of the Division of Labor; Gabriel Coll, individually and as Chief, Bureau of Migrant Labor in the Division of Labor; Leon Rennebaum, individually and as Supervisor, Bureau of Migrant Labor; Howard Winrow, individually and as Senior Inspector, Bureau of Migrant Labor, and John Krokos, individually and as Inspector, Bureau of Migrant Labor, for the purpose of obtaining an injunction and declaratory judgment. The foregoing named Department of Labor and Industry and the officers thereof are the moving parties herein and are referred to as defendants.
Insofar as this motion is concerned the complaint charges certain individuals in control of a migrant labor camp with permitting unsanitary conditions in their operation so that it constitutes a public nuisance. It charges defendants with a failure to act pursuant to law, to cause the conditions to be corrected or the camp disqualified and enjoined from operation.
The primary relief sought against the moving defendants is a judgment ordering them to initiate proceedings against the owning and operating individuals, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 34:9A-32, New Jersey Regulation 12:100-1(1), and N.J.S.A. 34:9A-21, to declare the camp to be a public nuisance, and for other relief under the applicable statute.
The Attorney General, in behalf of defendants, contends that they are entitled to summary relief from this action for three reasons:
First, this court lacks jurisdiction to order state officials to institute enforcement proceedings because, under the New Jersey Rules of Civil Procedure, only the Appellate Division has jurisdiction to review the action or inaction of state administrative agencies or officers.
Second, there is nothing in the present case to justify invocation of the extraordinary power of the courts to compel the exercise of discretionary authority by public officials.
Third, plaintiffs lack standing to seek the relief sought to prohibit the continued operation of the camp as a public nuisance.
I will deal with these points successively.
I -- The Superior Court, Appellate Division, has exclusive jurisdiction to review the action or inaction of state administrative agencies or officers.
The State relies upon R. 2:2-3(a)(2), which provides that appeals may be taken to the Appellate Division as of right to review final decisions or actions of any state administrative agency or officer thereof, or to review the validity of any rule promulgated by any such agency or officer, with one exception, not involved here.
R. 4:69-1 provides that review, hearing, and relief heretofore available by prerogative writs and not available under R. 2:2-3 shall be afforded by a civil action in the Law Division of the Superior Court.
Notwithstanding the language of R. 2:2-3(a)(2), which makes but one express exception (not applicable here), the courts have engrafted two exceptions, or have construed this rule in two cases to exclude from its applicability review of certain actions (or inactions) of state administrative agencies.