August 10, 2007
DAVID J. MORAN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT, AND DEIRDRE DIMASCIO MORAN, PLAINTIFF,
TOWNSHIP OF NUTLEY, TOWNSHIP OF NUTLEY POLICE DEPARTMENT, ROBERT DELITTA, CARMEN A. ORECHIO, AND PAUL MASCOLO, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS, AND PETER SCARPELLI, JOANNE COCCHIOLA, MAURO TUCCI AND GARY FURNARI, DEFENDANTS.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Civil Part, Hudson County, L-2239-04.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued: February 27, 2007
Before Judges Kestin, Weissbard and Payne.
Plaintiff David J. Moran appeals*fn1 from a single feature of orders granting the motions of all remaining defendants*fn2 for summary judgment and dismissing the complaint. Judge Messano explained the reasons for his rulings in an extensive and comprehensive opinion attached to the orders.
A fifteen-count complaint had alleged various causes of action, some of which had been abandoned by the time the motions for summary judgment were considered. Plaintiff's surviving claims alleged violations of the Law Against Discrimination (LAD), N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 to -42, his civil rights under State law, his civil rights under federal law, intentional infliction of emotional distress, harassment, and invasion of privacy.
Plaintiff had been a Nutley Police Officer. The claims arose from the posting of three cartoons for several weeks in the men's locker room of the Nutley Police Department. The cartoons were sexually explicit and depicted plaintiff and his wife in crude fashion.
The trial court, on summary judgment, dismissed all remaining claims against all remaining defendants on a variety of grounds. The only issue raised on appeal asserts error in only one ruling, dismissing the LAD-based claim of a hostile work environment/sexual harassment. Plaintiff argues that Judge Messano "misapplied applicable case law by erroneously holding that the but-for element of the Lehmann*fn3 test is not automatically satisfied when the conduct is sexual in nature."
We have studied the record in the light of the written and oral arguments advanced by the parties and prevailing standards of law, and are in substantial agreement with the reasoning and analysis Judge Messano employed in concluding that the conduct alleged here was not actionable under the LAD. See Lehmann, supra, 132 N.J. at 603-05; Herman v. Coastal Corp., 348 N.J. Super. 1, 20-21 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 174 N.J. 363 (2002).