Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Weston v. Passaic County

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

July 7, 2014

JAMES WESTON, Plaintiff,
v.
PASSAIC COUNTY, and the OFFICE OF THE PASSAIC COUNTY SHERIFF, and RICHARD H. BERDNIK, in his professional and personal capacity, jointly and severally, Defendants.

OPINION

WILLIAM J. MARTINI, District Judge.

On May 20, 2014, the Court denied in part Defendant Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik's motion to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Sheriff Berdnik now moves for reconsideration of the Court's May 20, 2014 decision pursuant to Local Civil Rule 7.1(i). There was no oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b). For the reasons set forth below, the motion is DENIED.

On January 6, 2014, Plaintiff James Weston filed a Complaint seeking, inter alia, to impose liability on Sheriff Berdnik and others pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983"). In its May 20, 2014 opinion, the Court set forth the relevant factual allegations:

Since May 2002, Weston has served as a Sheriff's Officer in the Passaic County Sheriff's Office. Compl. ¶ 1, ECF No. 1. In 2010, Weston was the President of the Passaic County Sheriff's Officers Local 286 of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association ("the Local"). Id. ¶ 8. During a Local meeting held on October 11, 2010, a motion was made to endorse two Republican candidates for the position of Passaic County Freeholder. Id. Weston explained the "upsides and downsides" of endorsing Republican candidates, including Felix Garcia, who was running for Passaic County Sheriff against the Democratic candidate, Richard Berdnik. Id. ¶¶ 10-11, 13. The Local's membership decided to support the Republican Freeholder candidates, but their endorsement was never formalized. Id. ¶ 15.

After the October 11, 2010 meeting, Acting Passaic County Sheriff Charles S. Meyes sent the following email to Weston:

You guys endorsed Garcia?? Wtf???? Berdnik and Garcia are both PBA members! How are you going to pitch a case for promotion if/when Berdnik wins??

Id. ¶ 17. Berdnik went on to win the 2010 race for Passaic County Sheriff. Id. ¶ 19.

From October 2010 through September 2012, Weston was number two on a list of three officers on the Civil Service Sheriff's Officer eligibility list (the "List"). Id. ¶ 21. Pursuant to the "Rule of Three, " the any of these three people could have been promoted within the Sheriff's Office. Id. ¶ 22 (citing N.J.A.C. 11A:4-8). Sheriff Berdnik chose not to promote any of the three people on the List, even though the department needed the position filled. Id. ¶¶ 22, 35-36. Rather, Sheriff Berdnik waited until the List expired so that he would not have to promote Weston. Id. ¶ 36. After the List expired, Sheriff Berdnik was given a new List with new names, and he proceeded to promote individuals whose names were included on that new List. Id. ¶ 39.

On January 23, 2012, Weston was transferred from the Detective Bureau to probation, and his pay was decreased. Id. ¶ 24. Also in January 2012, Weston lost his ability to train with the SWAT team and to teach firearm classes. Id. ¶¶ 32-33. In June 2012, Weston was removed from the Tactical Pistol Course and Armorer's Course, even though others were allowed to attend. Id. ¶ 34.

Weston v. Passaic County, No. 14-62, 2014 WL 2094095, at *1 (D.N.J. May 20, 2014).

On April 4, 2014, Sheriff Berdnik (as well as the other Defendants named in the Complaint) moved to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). ECF No. 11. On May 20, 2014, the Court dismissed the Section 1983 claims against Sheriff Berdnik in his official capacity but not in his personal capacity. The Court explained:

To establish that Sheriff Berdnik is liable under Section 1983 in his personal capacity, Weston must allege that Sheriff Berdnik had "personal involvement in the alleged wrongs." Rode v. Dellarciprete, 845 F.2d 1195, 1207 (3d Cir. 1988). "Personal involvement can be shown through allegations of personal direction or of actual knowledge and acquiescence." Id. "Allegations of participation or actual knowledge and acquiescence, however, must be made with appropriate particularity." Id. Making all reasonable inferences in favor of Weston, the Complaint alleges that Sheriff Berdnik was personally involved in the alleged retaliation here.

Weston, 2014 WL 2094095 at *3.

On June 2, 2014, Sheriff Berdnik moved for reconsideration. ECF No. 20. On June 23, 2014, Weston filed his opposition. ECF No. 21. On June 25, 2014, Sheriff Berdnik filed his reply. ECF No. 22. Weston argues that Sheriff Berdnik's reply brief should not be considered because it was not filed with leave of the Court. Local Civil Rule 7.1(d)(3). ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.