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Kant v. Seton Hall University

October 13, 2010

CHANDER KANT, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
SETON HALL UNIVERSITY, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Docket No. L-8638-07.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted: September 15, 2010

Before Judges Cuff, Fisher and Fasciale.

Plaintiff appeals from an October 23, 2009 order granting summary judgment to Seton Hall University (SHU) dismissing his complaint, an October 23, 2009 order denying his motion for partial summary judgment, orders dated September 11 and October 23, 2009 denying his motion to amend the complaint, and a December 18, 2009 order denying his motion for reconsideration.

Because plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case of employment discrimination or retaliation under the Law Against Discrimination (LAD), N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 to -49, we affirm.

I.

SHU hired plaintiff, a native of India, in 1989 as an assistant professor in its Department of Economics, and he was later promoted to associate professor with tenure. Dr. John Dall was the Chair of the Department of Economics, and Dr. Karen Boroff was the Dean of the School of Business. Both made employment decisions that plaintiff challenged. During the past ten years, plaintiff filed three lawsuits against SHU, alleging primarily that Dall and Boroff discriminated and retaliated against him because of his national origin in violation of the LAD.*fn1

Here, plaintiff contends that Dall and Boroff discriminated and retaliated against him in three separate areas. He alleges that (1) Boroff examined his request for travel expenses "minutely"; (2) Dall refused to switch summer courses in 2006; and (3) Boroff provided unfavorable employment evaluations.

The motion judge granted summary judgment to SHU on three grounds. First, he found that plaintiff's claims were barred by the entire controversy doctrine.*fn2 Second, he concluded that plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case of national origin discrimination and retaliation under the LAD. Third, he applied the statute of limitations and barred plaintiff's claim that his 2004-05 performance evaluation was conducted unlawfully.

On appeal, plaintiff contends that the judge failed to understand the difference between his request for travel funds and a request from another professor. He argues that the motion judge "incorrectly stated" that he failed to demonstrate how courses were assigned, and that an inference of retaliatory motive existed. Plaintiff also argues that the judge failed to recognize that Boroff misapplied performance evaluation criteria.

II.

Before turning to plaintiff's substantive arguments, we briefly describe the legal principles governing plaintiff's claims.

When reviewing a grant of summary judgment, we employ the same legal standards used by the motion judge. Spring Creek Holding Co. v. Shinnihon U.S.A. Co., 399 N.J. Super. 158, 180 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 196 N.J. 85 (2008); Prudential Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Boylan, 307 N.J. Super. 162, 167 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 154 N.J. 608 (1998). First, we determine whether the moving party has demonstrated that there were no genuine disputes as to material facts, and then we decide whether the motion judge's application of the law was correct. Atl. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Hillside Bottling Co., 387 N.J. Super. 224, 230-31 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 189 N.J. 104 (2006). We view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and analyze whether the moving party was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Brill v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 142 N.J. 520, 523, 529 (1995).

We accord no deference to the motion judge's conclusions on issues of law, Manalapan Realty, L.P. v. Township Committee of Manalapan, 140 N.J. 366, 378 (1995), which we review de novo. Spring Creek, supra, 399 N.J. Super. at 180; Dep't of ...


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