On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Docket No. L-2646-07.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Rodríguez and Reisner.
Plaintiff Cheryl D. Jones appeals from the June 20, 2008 summary judgment in favor of defendant Englewood Housing Authority (Authority), dismissing her complaint with prejudice. We affirm.
Jones filed a Complaint and Jury Demand on November 5, 2007, against the Authority alleging that it:
[l]eft me homeless, living on the streets. Plaintiff applied for housing [and] received no response in the mail. Upon calling to inquire as to the status of the application, she learned that it was denied. [Jones] was further advised that the period for filing an appeal was over and no recourse was possible.
Thus, she alleged that she was wrongfully denied Section 8 housing assistance by the Authority. This in turn led to her becoming homeless and being separated from her family. The Authority alleges it denied Jones's Section 8 housing subsidy by letter dated October 18, 2006. We have not been provided with a copy of the letter nor the reason for the denial.
The Authority moved for summary judgment for non-compliance with the New Jersey Tort Claims Act (TCA), N.J.S.A. 59:1-1 to -12-3. The judge granted summary judgment for failing to file a timely Notice of Claim or Notice of Late Claim pursuant to N.J.S.A. 59:8-3 and 8-9.
On appeal, Jones entire argument is:
I was denied city housing because I am also a caregiver and they said I had a criminal background and I hold the town responsible for stating, insinuating, and accusing me of things that were not true because of the police department.
This contention does not persuade us.
However, we do not agree with the Authority that this claim is governed by the TCA. According to the TCA, "[i]njury means death, injury to a person, damage to or loss of property or any other injury that a person may suffer that would be actionable if inflicted by a private person." N.J.S.A. 59:1-3. Broadly construed, the allegations set forth in the complaint do not come within the definition of an injury. At best, Jones claims that she applied for housing assistance, which was denied. This is not a "loss of property." Nor does her complaint allege any cause of action that could be characterized as a tort.
Nonetheless, we dismiss the appeal because the complaint fails to state a cause of action. A motion for failure to state a claim requires the judge to search the pleading in depth and with liberality in order to determine whether a cause of action is suggested. Printing Mart-Morristown v. Sharp Electronics Corp., 116 N.J. 739, 746 (1989). In addressing such a motion, the court must "accept as true all factual assertions in the complaint." Smith v. SBC Communications, Inc., 178 N.J. 265, 268-69 ...