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Sadoh v. East Orange General Hospital

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


April 7, 2008

IRVING SADOH, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
EAST ORANGE GENERAL HOSPITAL, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, L-6531-04.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted March 11, 2008

Before Judges Coburn, Grall and Chambers.

In this wrongful discharge case, plaintiff Irving Sadoh appeals from the order of November 17, 2006, upholding summary judgment in favor of defendant East Orange General Hospital. Plaintiff, who was employed as an addictions counselor for defendant, was suspended after a complaint was received that he had harassed a nurse*fn1 for certain educational materials and that he was interpreting the blood work for patients. His employment was thereafter terminated when he was found to have threatened the nurse while the grievance process for the suspension was pending.

Plaintiff's complaint alleged breach of contract, breach of the defendant's policies and procedures, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defendant's motion for summary judgment was granted as an unopposed motion on March 31, 2006. Thereafter, plaintiff moved to vacate that order and for partial summary judgment. That motion was heard on the merits and was denied by an order dated November 17, 2006.

On remand from this court, the trial judge issued a written decision dated April 9, 2007. The trial judge found that plaintiff was an "at will employee." Plaintiff's employment application and defendant's personnel policy manual clearly stated that he could be terminated with or without cause at the defendant's sole discretion, and plaintiff at his deposition indicated that he understood that he could be terminated at any time. Further, the trial court found that plaintiff had been terminated for cause, that defendant had followed its grievance procedures in handling plaintiff's termination, and that the facts could not sustain a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

On appeal, plaintiff maintains that he had a contractual right to have the grievance procedure in defendant's personnel policy manual followed before he could be discharged, and he contends that the grievance procedure was not followed. He also maintains that defendant breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and that the doctrine of promissory estoppel bars defendant from enforcing its employment at will policy under the facts present here.

In reviewing an appeal from a decision on a summary judgment motion, this court employs the same standard applied by the trial court. Prudential Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Boylan, 307 N.J. Super. 162, 167 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 154 N.J. 608 (1998). Such a motion must be granted when there is "no genuine issue as to any material fact challenged and . . . the moving party is entitled to a judgment or order as a matter of law." R. 4:46-2(c); see Brill v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 142 N.J. 520, 540 (1995).

After a careful review of the record, we conclude that the arguments raised by plaintiff are not of sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E).

Affirmed.


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