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LONGORIA v. STATE OF NEW JERSEY

October 17, 2001

EMBLEZ LONGORIA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE OF NEW JERSEY; STATE OF NEW JERSEY — DIVISION OF STATE POLICE; JOHN J. FARMER, ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY; CARSON J. DUNBAR, SUPERINTENDENT, STATE OF NEW JERSEY — DIVISION OF STATE POLICE; PETER G. VERNIERO; CARL A. WILLIAMS, JR.; CAPTAIN JOSEPH SARNECKY; LIEUTENANT JOSEPH WATTAI; JOHN DOES 1 THROUGH 10, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stephen M. Orlofsky, United States District Judge

      ORDER

This matter having come before the Court on Defendants's motion for summary judgment and Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56, Benjamin Clarke, Esq., R. Brian McLaughlin, Esq., Robert A. Tandy, Esq., DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick, Gluck, & Cole, LLP, appearing on behalf of Defendants, and Philip J. Moran, Esq., appearing on behalf of Plaintiff, Emblez Longoria; and,

The Court having considered the papers submitted by counsel for Plaintiff and Defendants in support of their respective motions;

For the reasons stated in the Opinion issued herewith, IT IS, on this 17th day of October, 2001, hereby ORDERED that:

1. Defendants's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED on all of Plaintiff's claims under federal law, as set out in Count One of the Complaint; and,
2. This Court shall decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c) over Plaintiff's claims under the laws of New Jersey, as set forth in Count Two of the Complaint, without prejudice to his ability to pursue them in the courts of New Jersey; and,
3. Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED; and,
4. All of Plaintiff's claims asserted under federal law, as set forth in Count One of the Complaint, are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE; and,
5. Plaintiff's claims asserted under the laws of New Jersey, set forth in Count Two, are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

OPINION

INTRODUCTION

This case presents a footnote to the ongoing public scrutiny of the operations and employment practices of the New Jersey State Police. Plaintiff, a long-time New Jersey State Trooper, alleges that his employment prospects have been dimmed by a long-standing aura of racial hostility in the ranks of the State Police, as well as by antagonism directed at him as a result of his personal ties to a previous, successful, critic of the institution. He now seeks money damages and injunctive relief. His claims, if true, reflect badly on the character of the New Jersey State Police; ultimately, however, they do not constitute wrongs cognizable in this Court. The Defendants have moved for summary judgment, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. The Plaintiff has filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth more fully below, I shall shall grant the Defendants's motion on Plaintiff's federal claims, and, in the exercise of my discretionary power under 28 U.S.C. § 1367, dismiss the supplemental state law claims without prejudice. I shall also deny Plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The Plaintiff, Emblez Longoria ("Longoria"), an Hispanic male, has been a member of the New Jersey State Police since July 28, 1988. Def.'s R. 56.1 Statement ¶ 1.*fn1 During portions of 1997, Longoria was stationed at the State Police barracks in Hightstown, New Jersey. Longoria Depo. at 219.*fn2 While at Hightstown, Longoria was temporarily assigned to the Narcotics and Organized Crime Bureau ("NOCB"), another unit within the New Jersey State Police. Id. at 219-36. Longoria worked at the NOCB for approximately two months, id. at 246, garnering positive reviews. Id. at 238.
During Longoria's stay at the NOCB, the State Police posted a notice for a permanent position, essentially identical to the temporary position Longoria was then occupying. Id. at 236. Longoria applied for, but did not receive, that appointment. Id. at 237, 248. Instead, Longoria was given another temporary assignment with the NOCB. Id. at 247, 254-55. The assignment lasted "a few months." Id. at 262. Longoria was told his work during the second NOCB stint was "excellent." Id. at 270. Shortly thereafter, Longoria applied for a "very ...

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