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Frederick Carlton "Carl v. Secretary of State Kim

September 6, 2011

FREDERICK CARLTON "CARL"
LEWIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SECRETARY OF STATE KIM
GUADAGNO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hillman, District Judge

OPINION

Plaintiff, Frederick Carlton "Carl" Lewis, has brought suit against Defendants, New Jersey Secretary of State Kim Guadagno, New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow, Camden County Clerk Joseph Ripa, Burlington County Clerk Timothy Tyler, and Atlantic County Clerk Edward P. McGettigan, alleging, inter alia, that his constitutional right to equal protection will be violated if he is prohibited from running as a candidate for New Jersey State Senate. On appeal, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals preliminarily enjoined Defendants from removing Plaintiff's name from the ballot, thereby permitting Plaintiff's name to appear on the primary election ballot as a Democratic candidate for New Jersey State Senate in the 8th Legislative District. Moreover, the Third Circuit remanded the matter to this Court, instructing the Court to consider Plaintiff's as-applied equal protection claim.

Secretary of State Guadagno and Attorney General Dow (or, "Defendants") and Intervenors-Defendants, William Layton and Ted Costa (or, "Intervenors") have moved for summary judgment against Plaintiff's claims, asserting that Plaintiff's name should not appear on the ballot for New Jersey's upcoming general election. Plaintiff cross-moves for summary judgment in favor of his claims.

For the following reasons, the Motions for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants and Intervenors will be granted. Further, Plaintiff's Cross-motion for Summary Judgment will be denied.

I. JURISDICTION

Plaintiff has brought federal constitutional claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as a claim under New Jersey law. This Court has jurisdiction over Plaintiff's federal claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's related state law claim under 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

II. BACKGROUND

On April 11, 2011, Plaintiff, Frederick Carlton "Carl" Lewis,*fn1 in accordance with New Jersey election law, filed his nomination petition seeking to have his name placed on the ballot for the June 7, 2011 Democratic Party Primary Election for the office of New Jersey State Senate, 8th Legislative District. Several days later, William Layton and Ted Costa, intervenors in this action, contested the validity of Plaintiff's candidacy. They specifically argued that Plaintiff did not meet the New Jersey Constitution's four-year durational residency requirement for the office of state senator. After a hearing on April 20, 2011, an administrative law judge determined the challengers of Plaintiff's candidacy failed to prove that Lewis did not meet the residency requirement. Several days later, on April 26, 2011, Defendant, Secretary of State Kim Guadagno,*fn2 reversed the decision of the administrative law judge and concluded that Plaintiff was not a resident of the State of New Jersey for the constitutionally prescribed time period. Thus, Plaintiff's name was ordered removed from the ballot.

Plaintiff appealed Secretary of State Guadagno's decision to the Appellate Division of New Jersey. On May 2, 2011, the Appellate Division affirmed the Secretary's decision to bar Plaintiff's name from appearing on the primary ballot. The next day, Plaintiff moved before the Supreme Court of New Jersey for a stay and sought certification to appeal the appellate panel's decision. The Supreme Court denied the stay and the petition for certification.

During the course of those proceedings, Plaintiff filed a Verified Complaint before this Court alleging that Secretary of State Guadagno's decision violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the New Jersey Civil Rights Act. Plaintiff additionally filed a Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Order to Show Cause Why a Preliminary Injunction Should Not be Entered. After a hearing and oral argument on April 28, 2011, the Court denied Plaintiff's motion. The Court supplemented its decision in its Opinion dated May 3, 2011.

Plaintiff appealed the Court's decision to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. In its Order dated May 5, 2011, the Third Circuit entered a preliminary injunction mandating that Plaintiff's name be included on the ballots, and remanded the case to this Court for purposes of analyzing Plaintiff's as-applied equal protection claim.*fn3 On May 10, 2011, Plaintiff filed an Amended Verified Complaint.

On remand, Intervenors moved for summary judgment against Plaintiff's claims on June 3, 2011. Days later, Defendants also moved for summary judgment. Along with his opposition to Defendants and Intervenors' motions, on August 29, 2011, Plaintiff cross-moved for summary judgment.*fn4 With this procedural history in mind, the Court turns to the following facts set forth by the parties as part of their motions for summary judgment and that are relevant to the analysis here.*fn5

Plaintiff first moved to the State of New Jersey while an infant in 1963. Until 1979, Plaintiff resided with his parents in Willingboro.*fn6 He attended school in Willingboro, competed as a track and field athlete in school and as a member of the Willingboro Track Club, and ultimately, in 1979, graduated from Willingboro High School. Thereafter, beginning in 1979, Plaintiff accepted a scholarship and competed as a collegiate track and field athlete at the University of Houston, in Houston, Texas. He continued to reside in the State of Texas until approximately 1999, when he moved to the State of California. In 1999, he purchased a home in California. As of November 8, 2007, Lewis owned three homes in California, for which he paid taxes and utilities. Also, at that time, Lewis was registered to vote in California, a right he exercised thrice in 2008 and once in 2009. Between 2002 and 2008, and possibly including 2009, Plaintiff paid income taxes in California. Plaintiff maintained a business, the Carl Lewis Foundation, in California where it had been incorporated in 2001.*fn7 In September 2010, he filed an annual report indicating that his foundation continued to pay taxes in California. In May 2008, Plaintiff executed an amended deed on his New Jersey property in which he identified his address in California.

In addition to his contacts with the State of California, Plaintiff has also maintained significant connections with the State of New Jersey. Throughout his collegiate career at the University of Houston and during his professional athletic career, Plaintiff returned repeatedly to New Jersey to visit and stay with his parents in Willingboro, as well as to attend track meets in the area. In 1997, after he retired from professional competition, Plaintiff continued to frequent his former home state. In 1999, he participated in an event to celebrate the millennium in Willingboro. In 2000 and 2001, Plaintiff assisted in community fund-raising efforts to save Willingboro High School's track, known as Carl Lewis Stadium. Pursuant to Plaintiff's request, the athletic apparel company, Nike, contributed a significant amount of money to renovate and resurface the track. Plaintiff appeared in Willingboro in support of the campaign. Thereafter, in 2003 and 2004, Plaintiff visited every public school in Willingboro to speak with students, an endeavor he continues to pursue to this day.

In 2005, Plaintiff purchased two condominiums in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, one for his mother and the other for himself. Ever since then, he has paid property taxes and utilities for his condominium and property taxes for his mother's condominium.

With the intent to permanently reside in New Jersey, Plaintiff began to move his vehicles, personal belongings, and other things from California to New Jersey in October 2005. Also in or around that time, Plaintiff purchased a vehicle in New Jersey to use in the State; he sold his home in Texas; and in 2006, he obtained a New Jersey driver's license. In August 2007, Plaintiff bought a home in Medford, New Jersey, and transferred his belongings from his condominium in Mount Laurel to his new residence in Medford. Plaintiff continues to reside in the Medford home, for which he pays property taxes and utilities, while renting the Mount Laurel condominium. In the autumn of 2007, Plaintiff started to relocate his Carl Lewis Foundation to New Jersey, with its office and principal functions now situated in Willingboro.

Also during 2007, Plaintiff became a volunteer assistant track coach at Willingboro High School. He has regularly attended practices and track meets. During the subsequent years, he has been actively involved with Willingboro High School, speaking with and mentoring students, establishing and presenting scholarships, and appearing at and arranging student events. Beginning in May 2009, for example, he hosted the annual Carl Lewis Relay Championships, which are held at Carl Lewis Stadium in Willingboro.

Since 2009, Plaintiff has attended church in Camden, New Jersey. In 2009, he also established in New Jersey a chapter of an organization called Best Buddies, which encourages volunteerism and opportunities for mentally and physically disabled people. That same year, Plaintiff was elected into the New Jersey Hall ...


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