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Paul D. Mclemore v. Eunice Samuels Lewis

July 5, 2012

PAUL D. MCLEMORE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
EUNICE SAMUELS LEWIS, LOUIS S. SANCINITO, JANE FEIGENBAUM AND DOUGLAS H. PALMER, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS. PAUL D. MCLEMORE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
CITY OF TRENTON, AND DOUGLAS H. PALMER, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Docket Nos. L-10097-07 and L-2890-08.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued March 27, 2012 --

Before Judges Yannotti and Kennedy.

Plaintiff Paul D. McLemore (McLemore) appeals from an order entered by the Law Division on May 20, 2011, which denied his motion for reconsideration of a previously-entered order granting summary judgment to defendants Eunice Samuels Lewis (Lewis), Louis S. Sancinito (Sancinito), Jane Feigenbaum (Feigenbaum), and Douglas H. Palmer (Palmer). We affirm.

I.

This matter arises out of plaintiff's former employment as a part-time municipal court judge in the City of Trenton (City). On September 8, 2005, plaintiff filed a complaint against the City in which he alleged that he was entitled to be paid as a full-time municipal court judge. The case was removed to the United States District Court, because plaintiff had asserted a claim under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983.

The District Court granted summary judgment to the City on the federal claim and refused to consider plaintiff's state law claims, which were remanded to the state court for further proceedings. On remand, plaintiff amended his complaint to add Palmer, the City's Mayor, as an additional defendant. Plaintiff claimed that Palmer's failure to appoint him as chief municipal court judge constituted unlawful retaliation and age discrimination in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 to -49.

On October 12, 2007, plaintiff commenced another action in the trial court in which he named Lewis, the administrator of the City's municipal court, and Sancinito, the City's chief municipal court judge, as defendants. Plaintiff later filed an amended complaint but it was not served upon Lewis and Sancinito. Plaintiff then filed a second amended complaint, in which he added Feigenbaum, who was then the City's business administrator, as a defendant. Thereafter, plaintiff filed a third amended complaint, which added Palmer as a defendant.

In the first count of his third amended complaint, plaintiff claimed that Lewis had unlawfully interfered with the "emoluments" of his employment, allegedly in "wanton and callous disregard of [his] constitutional property rights." In the second count, plaintiff claimed that Sancinito and Lewis wrongfully changed his salary, in violation of the New Jersey Civil Rights Act (NJCRA), N.J.S.A. 10:6-2(c).

In count three, plaintiff alleged that defendants conspired to deprive him of his constitutionally protected property rights without due process of law in violation of the NJCRA. In the fourth count, plaintiff claimed that Palmer "approved or otherwise sanctioned" the change in his salary and the retroactive reduction in his accrued sick and vacation leave time, without due process of law in violation of the NJCRA. In count five, plaintiff alleged that, by approving or otherwise sanctioning the change in his salary and the reduction in his accrued sick and vacation leave time, Palmer had retaliated against him in violation of the NJLAD.

After the completion of discovery, defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. The trial court heard oral argument on the motion on February 18, 2011. The court thereafter filed a written opinion dated March 3, 2011, in which it concluded that plaintiff's claims were without merit and defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

The court determined that plaintiff had not presented sufficient evidence to support his claim under the NJLAD based on Palmer's failure to appoint him as chief municipal court judge. The court also determined that plaintiff's claim to the salary as a full-time municipal court judge was time-barred, not supported by the City's ordinances, and not cognizable under the NJCRA. In addition, the court decided that plaintiff's NJLAD retaliation claims failed as a matter of law.

The court entered an order dated March 3, 2011, granting defendants' summary judgment motion. On March 22, 2011, plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration. The court issued a written opinion dated May 20, 2011, in which it concluded that plaintiff had not provided a basis to reconsider the order granting summary judgment to defendants. The ...


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