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Stephenson v. McWilliams

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


November 23, 2010

JOAN STEPHENSON, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
JULIE MCWILLIAMS, JOANNA REED, ELEANOR CARDUCCI, ANITA ULESKY, BRAD GOTTFRIED, SUSSEX COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE, SUSSEX COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE ADJUNCT FACULTY FEDERATION, CLAUDIA OLIVO, HANK POMERANTZ, CHARLES CANNY, BILL WAITE, SUSSEX COUNTY BOARD OF CHOSEN FREEHOLDERS, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Sussex County, Docket No. L-583-04.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted November 5, 2009

Decided February 26, 2010.

Motion for reconsideration granted.

Resubmitted September 7, 2010

Before Judges Cuff and Waugh.

This matter is before us on a motion for reconsideration filed by defendants Sussex County Community College and certain of its individually named officers and employees (collectively "College defendants"). In our February 26, 2010 merits opinion, which we incorporate herein by reference, we reversed the dismissal of plaintiff Joan Stephenson's claims against the College defendants to the extent they were based upon the LAD, N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 to -49, ADEA, 29 U.S.C.A. § 623(a)(1), and CEPA, N.J.S.A. 34:19-1 to -14. The College defendants moved for reconsideration, arguing that the CEPA claim had been dismissed by the Law Division on the grounds that Stephenson filed her CEPA claim after the running of CEPA's one year statute of limitations, N.J.S.A. 34:19-5, rather than for failure to state a claim.

We granted the application for reconsideration, and invited Stephenson to submit any response she had on the merits. We have now had the opportunity to review the submissions of the College defendants and Stephenson. Our review reveals that the CEPA claim was dismissed on statute of limitations grounds because the complaint was filed more than one year after the cause of action. However, none of the parties argued the statute of limitations issue in their original merits briefs.

N.J.S.A. 34:19-5 requires a CEPA claim to be brought within one year. Stephenson's employment was terminated no later than May 2003, and her complaint was filed on September 30, 2004. Stephenson argues that, despite the late filing, her claim should be treated as timely, relying on her assertion that she did not know she had a claim. In addition, she contends that the late filing was a result of ill health.

In granting the College defendants' motion to dismiss on statute of limitations grounds, the judge concluded, as set forth in the statement of reasons annexed to her February 2, 2005, order of dismissal, that neither of those reasons warranted the late filing of the complaint or an extension of the period of limitations. Having reviewed the record on the original appeal and on the application for reconsideration, we find Stephenson's arguments to be without merit and not warranting discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E).

Consequently, we modify our February 26, 2010, opinion to affirm the dismissal of the CEPA claim. On remand, the Law Division need only consider Stephenson's claims against the College defendants to the extent they are based upon the LAD and ADEA.

20101123

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