The opinion of the court was delivered by: Simandle, District Judge.
This matter is before the court on the motion of defendant, the
Delaware River Port Authority ("DRPA"), for summary judgment,
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(b). Plaintiff,
Joseph Moore, claims that the DRPA wrongfully discharged him from
employment in breach of its published Work Rules, which Moore
contends created an implied contract of employment. The DRPA
argues that, as a bi-state agency created by interstate compact
between the State of New Jersey and the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania pursuant to the Commerce Clause of Article I of the
Constitution, it is not subject to the common law of New Jersey
and, therefore, that it is entitled to summary judgment on
Moore's common law breach of contract and wrongful discharge
claims. The principal issue to be decided on this motion is
whether the common law of New Jersey regarding implied contracts
of employment is "substantially similar in nature" to that of
Pennsylvania so as to be enforceable against the DRPA. Because
the court finds that it is not, the DRPA cannot be subject to the
common law of New Jersey on this claim, and the court grants the
DRPA's motion for summary judgment and dismisses plaintiff's
The DRPA was created in 1931 when the State of New Jersey and
the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania entered into an interstate
compact ("the Compact") pursuant to the Compact Clause of Article
I of the Constitution to form the Delaware Joint Commission ("the
Joint Commission"). N.J.S.A. 32:3-1, et seq.; Pa. Stat. Ann.
Tit. 36 § 3503, et seq. Congress duly approved the Compact in
1932. Pub. Res. No. 26, Chapter 258, 47 Stat. 308 (1932).
The purpose of the Joint Commission was to construct, operate
and maintain interstate transportation routes between New Jersey
and Pennsylvania. See N.J.S.A. 32:3-2; Pa.Stat.Ann.Tit. 36 §
3501, Article I. The Joint Commission was authorized to build
bridges, establish connective roads and provide transportation
services within the Delaware Port District. Id.
In 1951, New Jersey and Pennsylvania agreed to change the name of
the Joint Commission to the Delaware River Port Authority.
In April 1976, the DRPA hired Moore as a union electrician. In
1986, the DRPA promoted Moore to the non-union supervisory
position of Assistant Foreman. Upon his promotion. Moore ceased
to be covered by the collective bargaining agreement between the
Electrician's Union and the DRPA. In 1993, the DRPA made Moore a
Foreman when it eliminated the position of Assistant Foreman.
Moore's duties as a Foreman in the Electrical Department
consisted of supervising electricians and assigning work. Except
for a relatively brief period from sometime in 1993 or 1994
through November or December of 1995, when Moore was assigned to
work at the Walt Whitman Bridge, Moore worked at the Ben Franklin
By letter dated March 12, 1997, the DRPA notified Moore that he
had been suspended with pay pending an internal investigation for
allegedly violating certain DRPA Work Rules. By letter dated
April 17, 1997, the DRPA detailed the allegations against Moore
and the factual findings of its investigation and notified Moore
that a pre-disciplinary hearing would be held on April 22, 1997.
Donald A. Piccoli, Manager of the Betsy Ross Bridge, presided
over the hearing on April 22, 1997, at which time Moore was
provided with a Notification and Explanation of Charges that
formally set forth the allegations against him and advised him of
his right to appeal any adverse employment determination in
accordance with the DRPA's Open Door Policy.
By letter dated May 7, 1997, the DRPA advised Moore that he had
been terminated from employment for violating certain DRPA Work
Rules, which were identified with particularity in the letter.
On August 7, 1997, Moore commenced this action by filing a
Complaint against the DRPA in the Superior Court of New Jersey,
Law Division, Burlington County. In Count One of the Complaint,
Moore alleges a wrongful discharge claim against the DRPA. In
Count Two of the Complaint, Moore alleges a breach of contract
claim against the DRPA. In Count Three of the Complaint, Moore
alleges that he is entitled to an award of punitive damages.
Moore seeks compensatory and punitive damages, interest,
attorney's fees and costs of suit, reinstatement with back wages
and benefits, and such other relief as the court deems
On September 25, 1997, the DRPA removed Moore's case to this
court under 28 U.S.C. § 1441 and 1446. The DRPA asserts the
existence of federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331
because the case involves the interpretation of a
Congressionally-approved interstate compact between the State of
New Jersey and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania under the Compact
Clause of Article I of the Constitution.
On November 6, 1997, Moore stipulated to dismissal of his claim
for punitive damages (Count Three). The DRPA now moves for
summary judgment on the remaining claims asserted in the
Complaint — Moore's common law wrongful discharge (Count One) and
breach of contract (Count Two) claims.