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Thomas v. Borough of Monmouth Beach

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

June 11, 2013

JOSHUA THOMAS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
BOROUGH OF MONMOUTH BEACH, Defendant-Respondent.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued May 14, 2013.

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Monmouth County, Docket No. L-0956-10.

Craig L. Klafter argued the cause for appellant (Klafter & Mason, L.L.C., attorneys; Joshua Thomas, on the pro se briefs).

Dennis A. Collins argued the cause for respondent (Collins, Vella and Casello, L.L.C., attorneys; Mr. Collins, of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges Waugh and St. John.

PER CURIAM.

Plaintiff Joshua Thomas appeals the Law Division's orders of November 29, 2010, which denied his motion to amend and dismissed his complaint, and January 21, 2011, which denied his motion for reconsideration. We affirm.

I.

We discern the following facts and procedural history from the record on appeal.

In May 2007, the New Jersey Police Training Commission (Commission) certified Thomas to serve as a police officer. In April 2008, defendant Borough of Monmouth (Borough) hired Thomas as a part-time, Class II Special Police Officer. In January 2010, the Borough appointed Thomas as a Probationary Police Officer. The Borough terminated that employment on February 9, 2010, without a hearing.[1]

On February 18, 2010, Thomas filed an action in lieu of prerogative writs pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-150, which provides for review in the Superior Court of the termination of police officers in non-civil-service municipalities, such as the Borough. He also alleged that the Borough violated the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 to -21, because it failed to give public notice that his employment status would be considered at the February 9, 2010 council meeting.[2] The Borough subsequently filed its answer.

Following various procedural steps not relevant to this appeal, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The motion judge heard oral argument on November 12, 2010. He reserved decision. On November 15, while the summary-judgment motions were pending decision, Thomas made a motion for leave to file an amended complaint, in which he sought to add a third count alleging violation of the Veterans Tenure Act, N.J.S.A. 38:16-1 to -6, which requires a showing of cause for the termination of certain veterans.

The motion judge issued a detailed written opinion on November 18, setting forth his reasons for granting summary judgment to the Borough and dismissing Thomas's complaint with prejudice. The opinion also set forth the judge's reasons for declining to consider the motion to amend ...


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