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El-Hewie v. Paterson Public School District

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

March 24, 2014

MOHAMED F. EL-HEWIE, Plaintiff,
v.
PATERSON PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al. Defendants.

OPINION

KEVIN McNULTY, District Judge.

Plaintiff Mohamed F. El-Hewie, appearing pro se, brings this action alleging that some two dozen known defendants violated his rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 623(a); the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq., and the equal-access protections contained in 42 U.S.C. § 1981. This suit concerns a series of terminations of employment and denials of applications for employment.

Now before the Court are two motions to dismiss the Complaint, brought by: (a) Defendant Commissioner of Education of the State of New Jersey ("Commissioner" or "Commissioner of Education"); and (b) Defendant Bergen County Vocational School District, and individual defendants affiliated with it - Robert J. Aloia, Thomas Klein, Richard Panicucci, Patricia T. Cosgrove, Russell Davis, Dennis Montone, Joseph Holbrook, Linda Eickmeyer and Linda Theos. (For convenience, "Bergen Vocational" or the "Bergen Vocational Defendants.") For the reasons expressed below, the Complaint will be dismissed in its entirety as to the moving defendants.

Factual Background

I glean this factual summary from El-Hewie's complaint and the documents attached to it.[1] I take judicial notice of other actions brought by this plaintiff, and of facts found by the Superior Court of New Jersey in a previous litigation involving some of the same parties, insofar as they are relevant to defenses such as res judicata.

Bergen Vocational

In November 2005, Bergen Vocational employed El-Hewie as a provisional teacher at Bergen County Academy. (Pltf's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Charge Concerning Paterson at A.2, attached to Complaint (ECF No. 1-1, p. 15)). The Complaint essentially alleges that the Bergen Vocational Defendants "engaged in 20 years of deception and corruption entailing cheating Plaintiff of completing the Provisional Teacher Program." (ECF 1-1 at ¶¶ 22-24)

From other litigation, I note the following. El-Hewie held advanced degrees in engineering, but lacked teaching experience. He simultaneously registered for the State of New Jersey's Alternate Route Program (ARP), with the goal of obtaining a teaching certificate. (Opinion of Appellate Division in El-Hewie v. Board of Educ. Voc. Sch. Dist., 2009 N.J.Super. Unpub. LEXIS 3116, *2-3 (App. Div. Dec. 24, 2009)). El-Hewie's employment was governed by a ten-month non-tenured contract stating that either party could terminate the agreement upon sixty days' notice. ( Id. ) El-Hewie taught two calculus classes and three statistics classes. ( Id. )

Within a few weeks of hiring El-Hewie, Bergen Vocational received extensive complaints regarding his teaching aptitude and methods. In December 2005, he was observed by the district supervisor, and he then received mentorship support from an experienced teacher. ( Id. at *3-5). By February 2006, Bergen Vocational decided to part ways with El-Hewie, and began a process of reassigning his classes to other teachers. This discharge resulted in his discharge from the ARP as well. ( Id. ).

Ridgewood

After losing his provisional teaching job at Bergen County Academy, El-Hewie began applying for positions offered by defendant Ridgewood Board of Education ("Ridgewood"). (Complaint at ¶¶ 1, 15).

El-Hewie applied five times for jobs with Ridgewood. He initially received no response. He then "warned [the manager of human resources of] his violation of the state and federal laws against discrimination, " and received an interview in 2012. The interview did not result in an offer. ( Id. at ¶¶ 1-4). El-Hewie alleges that he fell victim to an "institution of racial discrimination in Ridgewood Public Schools, " which was "masterminded" by the manager of human resources (named as a party here), who allegedly conspired with the Mayor of the Village of Ridgewood, the Superintendent of Ridgewood, and the Principal of Ridgewood's High School (all named as parties) to exclude Christians and Muslims from employment and to promote a "racial biased Zionist culture of Chosen People of God."' ( Id. at ¶¶ 10-14).

El-Hewie was also employed for a time as a substitute teacher in Ridgewood. In his EEOC Charge Against Ridgewood, El-Hewie states that he worked in Ridgewood as a substitute teacher beginning in November 2007. It appears that Ridgewood terminated him in early 2013. (Pltf's EEOC Charge Concerning Ridgewood at ¶¶ 1, (L), attached to Complaint (ECF No. 1-1, pp. 50, 70)).

Paterson

El-Hewie was for a time employed by Paterson as a substitute teacher. His complaint gives no starting date, but the attached EEOC charge indicates that it occurred sometime after his challenge to his termination by Bergen Vocational. (Pltf's EEOC Charge Concerning Paterson at ¶ A.1 (ECF No. 1-1, p. 17). El-Hewie alleges that Paterson terminated him in December 2012. (Complaint ¶ 19). I assume for purposes of this motion that he was employed by Paterson as a substitute teacher, perhaps for a period of years. ( Id. at D.6).

El-Hewie also alleges that he also applied for ten jobs in Paterson and received at least two interviews, but was not hired. I take this to refer to full-time positions, as opposed to the substitute teacher position described in the preceding paragraph. The Complaint alleges that "outsiders with less experience and education" obtained at least two of the positions that El-Hewie sought. ( Id. at ¶¶ 15-20). El-Hewie does not allege that these denials of his applications for employment were discriminatory. ( See id. ; see also Affidavit No. 1, exhibit thereto (El-Hewie's EEOC Charge Against Paterson)).

Allegations regarding the Commissioner of Education

Finally, El-Hewie alleges that defendant Commissioner of Education of the State of New Jersey "never bothered to rectify" the defendants' "pervasive violation of law; was aware that "plaintiff was cheated" and of "pervasive corruptions in local boards of education"; "disregarded the 20 years of corruption in Bergen [Vocational]... and the twenty years of worse corruption in Paterson []... which left this Plaintiff to suffer from pervasive injustice in employment." (Complaint at ¶¶ 25-27).

Prior Actions

El-Hewie has already litigated against the Bergen Vocational Defendants. After his employment ended, he commenced an administrative action and received a hearing before New Jersey Administrative Law Judge Margaret M. Monaco. ( See Opinion of Appellate Division, 2009 N.J.Super. Unpub. LEXIS 3116 at *1). This culminated in a February 27, 2008 decision, subsequently adopted by the Commissioner of Education, that El-Hewie was lawfully terminated and that he failed to prove any claim of discrimination. ( Id. ).

El-Hewie appealed that administrative determination to the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, continuing to claim that his discharge was without cause and racially motivated. He also specifically claimed that the mentorship and training offered by Bergen Vocational was insufficient and fell short of ARP requirements. ( Id. at *6-7). The Appellate Division affirmed the administrative determination in a substantial written opinion finding that a) Bergen Vocational provided "extensive assistance and mentoring, " such that "the failure to strictly comply with statutory procedures does not require petitioner's reinstatement, and b) "the ALJ properly found that [El-Hewie] failed to ...


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