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King v. Cape May County Board of Freeholders

January 31, 2007

ANTOINETTE KING, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CAPE MAY COUNTY BOARD OF FREEHOLDERS, ET AL. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Simandle, District Judge

OPINION

This matter comes before the Court on the Motion for Reconsideration by Defendant Gary Schaffer ("Schaffer") of the Court's September 29, 2006 Opinion and Order, King v. Cape May Count Bd. of Freeholders, No. 04-4243 (JBS), 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73606 (D.N.J. Sept. 29, 2006) ("the September Opinion"), which denied Schaffer's Motion for Summary Judgment.*fn1 For the reasons explained, the Court shall grant the motion for reconsideration and vacate its determination as to the viability of Plaintiff's gender discrimination claims. However, the Court will not enter summary judgment for Schaffer as the issue was not properly presented on that motion. Rather, Schaffer may move for summary judgment again and the parties may fully brief, with evidence from the record, whether there is a material issue of fact as to Plaintiff Antoinette King's claims of gender discrimination.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Antoinette King ("King" or "Plaintiff") sued Schaffer for his role in her withdrawal from the Cape May County Police Academy's Special Law Enforcement Class ("the Academy"). King alleges that Schaffer, the Director of the Academy, discriminated against her on the basis of her age and gender by repeatedly and vociferously pressuring her to withdraw from the Academy and ultimately causing her employer, Defendant Bridgeton Board of Education, to withdraw Plaintiff from the Academy. Plaintiff alleges that Schaffer's conduct violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("NJLAD"), N.J. Stat. Ann. § 10:5-1 et seq., as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Defendant Schaffer moved for summary judgment [Docket Item 13] on several grounds:

(1) Plaintiff failed to establish a valid constitutional claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 because she was not employed by Cape May, there was no evidence of a due process violation, and because all females were treated alike;

(2) The NJLAD claims must fail because Defendant Schaffer was not her employer and the Police Academy was not a place of public accommodation;

(3) All NJLAD claims against Schaffer must fail because Plaintiff was illegally enrolled in the Police Academy;

(4) The NJLAD claims must fail because Schaffer could not be considered her employer as a matter of law; and

(5) Punitive damages claims against Schaffer must be dismissed. (Schaffer Summ. J. Br.)

Notably, Schaffer did not argue that the record failed to provide evidence that he was motivated by Plaintiff's gender when he criticized her, when he told her to withdraw from the Academy, or when he effectuated her withdrawal. Furthermore, Schaffer did not argue that the record showed that his adverse actions against Plaintiff were motivated by her illegal enrollment in the Academy. Furthermore, neither Schaffer nor Plaintiff provided the Court with a statement of undisputed material facts, as Local Civil Rule 56.1 requires. Therefore, it is unclear whether the parties agree on the material facts or Schaffer's motivations for his conduct.

II. STANDARD FOR RECONSIDERATION

Local Civil Rule 7.1(i) of the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, governs the instant motion for reconsideration. That rule requires that the moving party set forth the factual matters or controlling legal authority that it believes the court overlooked when rendering its initial decision. L. Civ. R. 7.1(i). Whether to grant reconsideration is a matter within the district court's discretion, but it should only be granted where such facts or legal authority were indeed presented but overlooked. DeLong Corp. v. Raymond Int'l Inc., 622 F.2d 1135, 1140 (3d Cir. 1980), overruled on other grounds by Croker v. Boeing Co., 662 F.2d 975 (3d Cir.1981); Williams v. Sullivan, 818 F. Supp. 92, 93 (D.N.J. 1993). "A party seeking reconsideration must show more than a disagreement with the court's decision, and recapitulation of the cases and arguments considered by the court before rendering its original decision fails to carry the moving party's burden." Panna v. Firstrust Sav. Bank, 760 F. Supp. 432, 435 (D.N.J. 1991) (internal citations omitted). Instead, "the party seeking reconsideration [must show] at least one of the following grounds: (1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence that was not available . . . ; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice." Max's Seafood Café ex rel. Lou-Ann, Inc. v. ...


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