Vol. II (Santiago 12/20/1998 Dep.) at 175-78.
Following the relevant events in this case, Santiago
surreptitiously tape-recorded conversations that he had with
various police officers who refer to D'Augostine as a "treacherous
motherf_____." See Pl.'s Exs. Vol. I (Transcript of Conversation
with T. Zatzariny) at 2. Santiago also claims that at the time
the Vineland police received the information from "Manny," the
confidential informant, he was under indictment for receiving
stolen property, and therefore cannot be regarded as "reliable."
See Pl.'s Exs. Vol. I (Certified Judgment of Conviction, dated
March 11, 1996) at 1. "Manny" received a probationary sentence
and was ordered to pay restitution. See id.*fn4
On October 14, 1997, Santiago filed a Complaint in this
Court, and, after seeking and receiving leave to file an amended
complaint, filed an Amended Complaint on April 15, 1999. See
Compl. (filed Oct. 14, 1997); Fourth Am. Scheduling Order (filed
April 7, 1999); Am. Compl. (filed April 15, 1999). In his Amended
Complaint, filed against the City of Vineland, Joseph Romano, the
former Mayor of the City of Vineland, John P. Gallo, the former
Director of Public Safety of the City of Vineland, Mario Brunetta,
Jr., the Chief of Police of the City of Vineland, Paul Letizia,
John Fresne, and Dennis D'Augostine, sergeants in the Vineland
Police Department at all times relevant to the Amended Complaint,
and John Does 1-50, Santiago alleges the following claims: (1)
race discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. (Count One); (2) race
discrimination in violation of the New Jersey Law Against
Discrimination, N.J.S.A. 10:5-1, et seq. ("NJLAD") (Count Two); (3)
deprivation of his rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth
and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, in
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981, 1983, 1985, 1986 and 1988 (Count
Three); (4) discrimination based upon a perceived disability in
violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12111,
et seq., and the N.J.LAD (Count Four); (5) false arrest and
malicious prosecution (Count Five); (6) retaliation in violation
of Title VII, the ADA and the N.J.LAD (Count Six); (7) breach of
contract (Count Seven); (8) intentional interference with his
contractual relationship (Count Eight); and (9) the tort of
"outrage" (Count Nine). The Defendants have moved for summary
judgment of the entire Amended Complaint.
As will be apparent from the analysis set forth below, the
task of this Court in deciding these motions for summary judgment
was needlessly complicated by the appallingly poor quality of
advocacy demonstrated by the attorneys in this case. Given the
disarray of the moving and opposing papers submitted by counsel,
this Court has struggled mightily to sort out the issues
presented. The briefs are poorly written and poorly researched.
Legal analysis is frequently absent. Instead, the Court has been
presented with conclusory generalizations supported by
intellectual laziness. Counsel have disserved their clients'
interests, wasted the Court's time, and needlessly protracted
II. LEGAL STANDARD GOVERNING A MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
"On a motion for summary judgment, the court must determine
whether the evidence shows that `there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter
of law.'" Abraham v. Raso, 183 F.3d 279, 287 (3d Cir. 1999)
(citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). "Any factual dispute invoked by the
nonmoving party to resist summary judgment must be both material
in the sense of bearing on an essential element of the plaintiff's
claim and genuine in the sense that a reasonable jury could find
in favor of the nonmoving party." Id. (citing Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-251 (1986)). "In opposing summary
judgment, a party `must do more than simply show that there is
some metaphysical doubt as to material facts,' Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986),
but a court should not prevent a case from reaching a jury simply
because the court favors one of several reasonable views of the
evidence." Abraham, 183 F.3d at 287. "[T]he judge's function
is not himself to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of
the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for
trial." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249; see also Abraham, 183 F.3d at
287. "Thus, while the nonmoving party must present enough evidence
to demonstrate a dispute is genuine, all inferences in interpreting
the evidence presented by the parties should be drawn in favor of
the nonmoving party." Abraham, 183 F.3d at 287 (citing Boyle v.
County of Allegheny Pa., 139 F.3d 386, 393 (3d Cir. 1998)).
"Cases that turn crucially on the credibility of witnesses' testimony
in particular should not be resolved on summary judgment." Id.
If the nonmoving party fails to oppose the motion by
written objection, memorandum, affidavits and other evidence, the
Court "will accept as true all material facts set forth by the
moving party with appropriate record support." Anchorage Assocs.
v. Virgin Islands Bd. of Tax Rev., 922 F.2d 168, 175 (3d Cir.
1990) (quoting Jaroma v. Massey, 873 F.2d 17, 21 (1st Cir. 1989)).
Even where the non-moving party has failed to establish a triable
issue of fact, summary judgment will not be granted unless
"appropriate." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); see Anchorage Assocs., 922
F.2d at 175. Rule 56(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
requires that the case be evaluated on its merits, with summary
judgment being granted for the movants only if they are entitled
to a judgment as a matter of law. See Anchorage Assocs., 922
F.2d at 175.
The Defendants raise a myriad of arguments in support of
their motions for summary judgment. This Court shall address the
two summary judgment motions in the following order: (A) Failure
to Exhaust Administrative Remedies; (B) Santiago's Discrimination
Claims on Grounds of Race, Disability and Retaliation; (C)
42 U.S.C. § 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986 and 1988; (D) False Arrest;
(E) Malicious Prosecution; (F) Common Law Breach of Contract and
Intentional Interference with Contractual Relationship; (G) The
Tort of "Outrage;" and (H) Santiago's Claims for Punitive Damages.
A. Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies: Title VII
In support of their motions for summary judgment, the
Defendants first contend that Santiago failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies with respect to his claim of race
discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Specifically, the Defendants argue that Santiago failed to submit
his claim first to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5 (1994). Because Santiago failed
to oppose the motions for summary judgment on this ground, I shall
grant summary judgment, with respect to Santiago's Title VII race
discrimination claim, only if "appropriate." See Fed.R.Civ.P.
Before instituting an action under Title VII, a plaintiff
must timely file his claim with the EEOC and obtain a right to sue
letter from the agency. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5 (1994). Such
conditions precedent are statutory, rather than jurisdictional,
prerequisites, comparable to a statute of limitations. See Zipes
v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 455 U.S. 385, 393, 102 S.Ct. 1127,
1132, 71 L.Ed.2d 234 (1982); Angelino v. The New York Times Co.,
200 F.3d 73, 87 (3d Cir. 1999). Accordingly, claims under Title
VII can be dismissed for failure to exhaust such administrative
remedies. See Angelino, 200 F.3d at 87-88; Knoll v. Springfield
Township Sch. Dist., 699 F.2d 137, 145 (3d Cir. 1983), vacated on
other grounds, 471 U.S. 288, 105 S.Ct. 2065, 85 L.Ed.2d 275
A plaintiff is excused from exhausting his administrative
remedies when "the acts alleged in the subsequent . . . suit are
fairly within the scope of the prior EEOC complaint, or the
investigation arising therefrom." Antol v. Perry, 82 F.3d 1291,
1295 (3d Cir. 1996) (quoting Waiters v. Parsons, 729 F.2d 233, 237
(3d Cir. 1984) (per curiam)); see also Howze v. Jones & Laughlin
Steel Corp., 750 F.2d 1208, 1212 (3d Cir. 1984) (quoting
Ostapowicz v. Johnson Bronze Co., 541 F.2d 394, 398-99 (3d Cir.
In this case, Santiago filed a charge of disability
discrimination with the EEOC alleging that the City of Vineland
Police Department and Chief Mario Brunetta, Jr. discriminated
against him, by terminating his employment as a special law
enforcement officer and refusing to hire him as a police officer,
based upon his "[p]erceived [d]isability" of drug involvement.
Defs.' Ex. 21 at 1. In his Amended Complaint, however, Santiago
alleged, among other things, a claim of race discrimination under
It is clear that Santiago is not excused from exhausting his
administrative remedies with respect to his claim under Title VII
because his race discrimination claim is not within the scope of
either the EEOC charge or its reasonable investigation. In
Waiters v. Parsons, 729 F.2d 233 (3d Cir. 1984), the appellant
filed a general charge of retaliation with the EEOC and, following
her termination, subsequently alleged retaliatory discharge before
the District Court. See id. at 235-36. The District Court
dismissed the appellant's complaint because she had failed first
to file the retaliatory discharge claim with the EEOC. See id. at
236. The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed, holding
that the appellant's suit was not barred for failure to exhaust
administrative remedies because both "the core grievance —
retaliation — is the same" and, based upon the evidence in the
record, the retaliatory discharge claim had, in fact, fallen
within the scope of the EEOC's investigation. See id. at 238.
Subsequently, in Antol v. Perry, 82 F.3d 1291 (3d Cir. 1996),
the Third Circuit distinguished Waiters, holding that an
employee's gender discrimination claim was not subsumed within the
appellant's EEOC complaint based upon disability discrimination.
See id. at 1295. In so finding, the Court rejected the
appellant's argument that the disability charge encompassed the
gender claim because an EEOC investigation would have revealed the
gender issues. See id. at 1296. The Court held that "[t]he
investigation focused, quite properly . . . on the gravamen of
[appellant's] complaint — disability discrimination. Neither the
EEOC nor the [appellee] were put on notice of a gender
discrimination claim." Id.
Like the Court in Antol, I find that Santiago's Title VII
claim is not within the scope of his previously filed disability
charge or "the EEOC investigation which can reasonably be expected
to grow out of the charge of discrimination." Hicks v. ABT Assocs.,
Inc., 572 F.2d 960, 966-67 (3d Cir. 1978) (quoting Ostapowicz,
541 F.2d at 398-99); see also Robinson v. Dalton, 107 F.3d 1018,
1025-26 (3d Cir. 1997). Quite simply, the facts associated with
Santiago's racial identity are separate and distinct from those
associated with his "perceived disability" based upon his alleged
involvement with drugs. In addition, there are no allegations
set forth in the charge that would put the EEOC on notice that
Santiago was also the victim of discrimination based upon his
race. Santiago checked only the "Disability" box on the EEOC
charge and his allegations refer only to discrimination based upon
a "[p]erceived [d]isability." See Defs.' Ex. 21; see also Mullen
v. Topper's Salon and Health Spa, Inc., 99 F. Supp.2d 553, 556
(E.D.Pa. 2000). Consequently, a reasonable EEOC investigation would
not have included Santiago's Title VII claim. Accordingly, I find
that Santiago failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with
respect to his Title VII claim and, therefore, I shall grant
summary judgment on Count I of the Amended Complaint.*fn6
B. Santiago's Discrimination Claims on Grounds of Race,
Disability and Retaliation
Turning now to the merits of the Amended Complaint, Santiago
alleges that his discharge and the Defendants' continued refusal
to hire him as a Vineland Police Officer violated the Americans
with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and 1983, and the
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("NJLAD") because the
actions of the Defendants were impermissibly predicated upon his
race, a perceived disability, and were in retaliation for
Santiago's act of filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.
As a preliminary matter, the legal analysis governing claims
of discriminatory treatment in the employment context under these
federal and state statutes is the burden-shifting framework of
McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802, 93 S.Ct.
1817, 36 L.Ed.2d 668 (1973) and its progeny, Texas Dep't of
Community Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 252-53, 101 S.Ct.
1089, 1093, 67 L.Ed.2d 207 (1981) and St. Mary's Honor Ctr. v.
Hicks, 509 U.S. 502, 515, 113 S.Ct. 2742, 2752, 125 L.Ed.2d 407
(1993). See Shaner v. Synthes (USA), 204 F.3d 494, 500 (3d Cir.
2000) (finding the Title VII McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting
rules applicable in the ADA context); Stewart v. Rutgers, The
State University, 120 F.3d 426, 432 (3d Cir. 1997) (citing
Patterson v. McLean Credit Union, 491 U.S. 164, 186
(1989)) (finding McDonnell Douglas-Burdine framework applicable to
claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and 1983); Lawrence v. National
Westminster Bank New Jersey, 98 F.3d 61, 70 (3d Cir. 1996) (stating
that the same standards and burdens of proof are applicable to
N.J.LAD claims as are applicable
to ADA claims); Cinelli v. U.S. Energy Partners, 77 F. Supp.2d 566,
573 (D.N.J. 1999) (Simandle, J.) (applying framework to claims
under ADA and N.J.LAD); Mogull v. CB Commercial Real Estate Group,
Inc., 162 N.J. 449, 462 (2000) (citing Peper v. Princeton Univ.
Bd. of Trustees, 77 N.J. 55 (1978)) (finding framework applicable
to claims under N.J.LAD).
Under the McDonnell Douglas framework, a plaintiff has the
initial burden of establishing a prima facie case either by
providing direct evidence of intentional discrimination or
circumstantial evidence that would raise the inference that the
defendant's conduct was motivated by discriminatory animus. See
Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 252-53, 101 S.Ct. 1089; see also, Reeves
v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., ___ U.S. ___, 120 S.Ct. 2097, 2106
(S.Ct. June 12, 2000). Generally, to establish a prima facie
case, the plaintiff must demonstrate that he: (1) belongs to a
protected class; (2) was qualified for the position; (3) was fired
or not offered the job; and (4) was replaced by a person outside
the protected group. See Hicks, 509 U.S. at 506, 113 S.Ct. 2742.
Once the prima facie case has been established, the burden
shifts to the defendant to produce a legitimate, nondiscriminatory
reason for the adverse employment action taken against the
plaintiff. See Reeves, 120 S.Ct. at 2106 (citing Burdine, 450
U.S. at 254, 101 S.Ct. 1089). This burden is one of production,
not persuasion. See id. (citing Hicks, 509 U.S. at 509, 113 S.Ct.
2742). The defendant satisfies this burden by introducing
evidence which, taken as true, would permit a trier of fact to
conclude that unlawful discrimination was not the reason for the
discharge or the failure to hire. See Burdine, at 254-56, 101
S.Ct. 1089. It is noteworthy that the defendant need not prove
that the proffered reason actually motivated its conduct. See id.
Rather, the evidence submitted by the defendant need only raise a
genuine issue of material fact as to whether it discriminated
against the plaintiff. See id. at 254 n. 7, 101 S.Ct. 1089.
If the defendant is successful in meeting this light burden,
the burden then rebounds to the plaintiff to prove, by a
preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant's proffered
explanation is a pretext for discrimination. See Hicks, 509 U.S.
at 507-508, 113 S.Ct. 2742; see also Reeves, 120 S.Ct. at 2106.
"[A]lthough the presumption of discrimination `drops out of the
picture' once the defendant meets the burden of production . . .
the trier of fact may still consider the evidence establishing the
plaintiff's prima facie case `and inferences properly drawn
therefrom . . . on the issue of whether the defendant's
explanation is pretextual.'" Reeves, 120 S.Ct. at 2106 (quoting
Hicks, 509 U.S. at 511, 113 S.Ct. 2742; Burdine, 450 U.S. at
255, n. 10, 101 S.Ct. 1089). The plaintiff must convince the
factfinder "`both that the reason was false, and that
discrimination was the real reason.'" Shaner, 204 F.3d at 501
(quoting Jones v. School Dist. Of Philadelphia, 198 F.3d 403,
412-13 (3d Cir. 1999) (internal citations omitted)). The Court of
Appeals for the Third Circuit has held that to discredit the
employer's proffered reason:
[T]he plaintiff cannot simply show that the employee's
decision was wrong or mistaken, since the factual
dispute at issue is whether discriminatory animus
motivated the employer, not whether the employer is
wise, shrewd, prudent, or competent. Rather, the
non-moving plaintiff must demonstrate such weaknesses,
implausibilities, inconsistencies, incoherences, or
contradictions in the employee's proffered legitimate
reasons for its action that a reasonable factfinder
could rationally find them "unworthy of credence" and
hence infer "that the employer did not act for [the
asserted] non-discriminatory reasons."