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Estate of Oliva v. State

December 18, 2008

ESTATE OF JOHN OLIVA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Joseph E. Irenas

OPINION

This matter comes before the Court on two motions by the only remaining Defendant in this case, Albert Waldron. In his Motion for Reconsideration, Waldron asks this Court to reconsider the portion of its previous decision wherein the Court denied summary judgment to Waldron on Plaintiff's retaliation claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and New Jersey's Conscientious Employee Protection Act ("CEPA"), N.J.S.A. 34:19-1 et. seq. In his "Supplemental Motion for Summary Judgment," Waldron asserts for the first time that Plaintiff's CEPA claim is barred by the statute of limitations.*fn1 For the reasons stated herein, the Motion for Reconsideration will be denied in part, and dismissed as moot in part. The Supplemental Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted.

I.

The facts relevant to the previous Motion for Summary Judgment, and by logical extension, the instant motions, are recounted in this Court's opinion, Estate of Oliva v. State of New Jersey, et al., 579 F. Supp. 2d 643 (D.N.J. 2008).

II.

A motion for reconsideration may only be granted on the ground that (1) an intervening change in the controlling law has occurred; (2) evidence not previously available has become available; or (3) that vacating the Order is necessary to correct a clear error of law or manifest injustice. North River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995).

The Court applies the same summary judgment standard stated in its previous opinion, Estate of Oliva, 579 F. Supp. 2d at 663-64.

III.

A.

Waldron's Supplemental Motion for Summary Judgment requires only a brief discussion before turning to the merits of the Motion for Reconsideration.

Waldron's alleged actions which form the basis of the retaliation claims took place in "April 2000." The original complaint, naming Waldron as a Defendant, was filed on May 11, 2001.*fn2 As CEPA's statute of limitations is one year, N.J.S.A. 34:19-5, Plaintiff's CEPA claim against Waldron is time-barred.

The Court rejects Plaintiff's argument that Waldron's conduct was part of a larger pattern of retaliation by the New Jersey State Police, and therefore the Court should look to the latest retaliatory act in the "pattern" of conduct. To hold as such would be to ignore the Court's earlier conclusions, not challenged here, that Plaintiff could not sustain retaliation claims against any of the other defendants, and that there was no conspiracy among the defendants.

No reasonable factfinder could conclude that Waldron's alleged actions were taken in the one ...


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