United States District Court, D. New Jersey
October 17, 2005.
SHEILA HOBSON, Plaintiff,
DONALD C. CAMPOLO, et al, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: DENNIS CAVANAUGH, District Judge
This matter comes before the Court upon motion by Donald C.
Campola, Robert D. Laurino, Lewis Becker, Paul Ortalani, James
Gold, Louis Portella, Vincent Byron, Kenneth Reed, and Joseph
Socci ("the Defendants"), for partial summary judgment pursuant
to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on all courts
of the Complaint filed by Sheila Hobson ("Plaintiff"), except
Plaintiff's assault claim against Kenneth Reed. No oral argument
was heard pursuant to Rule 78 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion is
granted in part and denied part.
Plaintiff brought this action against Defendants, her former
employer and co-workers, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e ("Title VII"); the Age Discrimination
in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621 ("ADEA"); the New Jersey Law
Against Discrimination ("LAD"), N.J. Stat. Ann. § 10:5-2.1; and
common law. (Plaintiff's Amended Complaint ("Pl. Am. Comp.") at 2).
Plaintiff is an African-American female, born July 28, 1946.
(Plaintiff's Certification in Opposition to Defendants' Motion
for Summary Judgment ("Pl. R. 56(e) Stmt.) at 4). Plaintiff began
working for the Essex Country Prosecutor's Department in May,
1990. (Id. at 1). In 1996, Plaintiff became the first female
investigator to work in the homicide department. (Id.)
Plaintiff worked in this department for about three years until
she was promoted to Acting Lieutenant in January, 1999. (Id. at
4). Plaintiff alleges co-workers harassed her during her time in
the homicide department due to her race, sex, and age. (Id. at
1-2). Plaintiff states the harassment continued even after her
promotion. (Id. at 3).
On December 1, 1999, Defendants served Plaintiff with
disciplinary charges regarding an incident that occurred during
the surveillance of a male probation officer. (Id. at 5). On
January 14, 2000, Plaintiff was again served with disciplinary
papers, which notified her that her title of Acting Lieutenant
was suspended. (Id.) After her title was suspended, Plaintiff
was reassigned to the Criminal Judicial Processing Unit. (Id.)
The Internal Affairs Department of the Essex County
Prosecutor's Office conducted an investigation through February
and March 2000 addressing Plaintiff's conduct during the
surveillance and the disciplinary charges. (Id.) On October 17,
2000, the Prosecutor issued a decision. (Defendant's Statement of
Facts ("Def. 56.1 Stmt.") No. 38). The charge of unfavorable
conduct was sustained, but the charges of insubordination and
false statement were dismissed. (Id.) As a result, Plaintiff
was assigned to the position of Investigator retroactive to
November 29, 1999. (Pl. R. 56(e) Stmt. at 6).
On July 14, 2000, Plaintiff filed a charge with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") claiming Defendants discriminated against her
due to her sex and age. (Id. at Ex. A). In her charge,
Plaintiff claimed she received a discipline notice because she
rejected advances made by her male superior. (Id..). Plaintiff
also stated she believed she was "denied the same terms and
conditions of employment" offered to her male counterparts and
she was denied the opportunity to become a permanent Lieutenant.
On July 26, 2000, Plaintiff retired from the Essex Country
Prosecutor's Office, which she alleges was constructive
discharge. (Id. at 1). Plaintiff filed another charge with the
EEOC on April 11, 2001, alleging that in addition to her sex and
age, she was also discriminated against because of her race.
(Id. at Ex. C). Plaintiff claimed she was demoted to
Investigator for unsubstantiated reasons and that she was
assaulted by one of her superiors. (Id.) The EEOC dismissed
Plaintiff's complaints on October 26, 2001, stating it was unable
to conclude Defendants violated any statutes. (Id. at Ex. D).
Plaintiff then filed a Complaint before this Court on January 24,
A. Standard for Summary Judgment
Summary judgment is granted only if all probative materials of
record, viewed with all inferences in favor of the non-moving
party, demonstrate that there is no genuine issue of material
fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 330 (1986). The moving party bears the burden of showing
either (1) there is no genuine issue of fact and it must prevail
as a matter of law; or (2) that the non-moving party has not
shown facts relating to an essential element of the issue for
which he bears the burden. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 331. If either
showing is made then the burden shifts to the non-moving party, who must demonstrate facts that
support each element for which he bears the burden and must
establish the existence of genuine issues of material fact. Id.
The non-moving party "may not rest upon the mere allegations or
denials of his pleading" to satisfy this burden, Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(e), but must produce sufficient evidence to support a jury
verdict in his favor. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574 (1986).
B. Quid Pro Quo Claim under Title VII
Title VII makes it unlawful for employers to "discriminate
against any individual with respect to her compensation, terms,
conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such
individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin."
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). The United States Supreme Court has
interpreted this language as evidencing Congress' intent to
"strike at the entire spectrum of disparate treatment of men and
women" in employment context, which includes sexual harassment.
Meritor Savings Bank, FSB v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57, 64 (1986). A
plaintiff may establish her employer violated Title VII by
bringing either a quid pro quo claim or a hostile work
environment claim. Burlington Indus., Inc. V. Ellerth,
524 U.S. 742, 753 (1998).
In order for a plaintiff-employee to bring a successful quid
pro quo claim, he or she must show they either (1) submitted to
sexual advances of an alleged harasser, or (2) suffered any
tangible employment effects as a consequence of refusing such
advances. Id. at 754. If a plaintiff can not prove either (1)
or (2), they may not bring a quid pro quo claim. Id. If a
plaintiff does not have a quid pro claim, she may file a
hostile work environment claim to show her employer violated
Title VII. Id. Here, Plaintiff does not claim she submitted to
sexual advances, nor does she claim she suffered from any
tangible effects from refusing sexual advances. (See Pl. Comp.) Plaintiff therefore fails to assert a
successful quid pro quo claim under Title VII and her quid pro
quo claim is dismissed.
C. Plaintiff's Remaining Claims
Issues of material fact exist as to Plaintiff's remaining
claims. Defendant's request for summary judgment regarding those
claims is therefore denied.
For the reasons stated, it is the finding of this Court that
Defendants' motion for partial summary judgment is granted in
part and denied in part. An appropriate Order accompanies this
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