United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Working Families United for N.J., New Jersey State AFL-CIO,
New Jersey State AFL-CIO Community Services Agency, and
Charles Wowkanech (the “Moving Defendants”) seek
partial dismissal of Plaintiff Edward Correa's Complaint
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (D.E. No.
24). Defendants Town of Dover and Mayor James P. Dodd
(together, the “Dover Defendants, ” and
collectively with the Moving Defendants,
“Defendants”) joined the present motion.
(See D.E. No. 25). The Court has jurisdiction under
28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1343, and 1367(a). Having
considered the submissions made in support of and in
opposition to Defendants' motion, the Court decides this
matter without oral argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
78(b). As set forth below, the Court GRANTS Defendants'
motion to dismiss Counts I and III.
resides in the Town of Dover. (D.E. No. 1
(“Compl.”) ¶ 5). As of February 11, 2014, he
was the Executive Director of Working Families United for New
Jersey (“Working Families United”). (Id.
¶¶ 14, 21). He was also the State Director of the
We-Are-One-New-Jersey project (the “One N.J.
Project”), a program of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO
Community Services Agency. (Id. ¶ 5). On May
13, 2015, Correa was terminated from both positions.
(Id. ¶¶ 5, 21).
asserts claims against six defendants: Working Families
United, the New Jersey State AFL-CIO, the New Jersey AFL-CIO
Community Services Agency, Charles Wowkanech, Town of Dover,
and Mayor Dodd. (See Compl. at 1).
Families United is a New Jersey private entity and
Correa's former employer. (Id. ¶¶
5-6). At all relevant times, Wowkanech was President of the
New Jersey State AFL-CIO (the parent entity, funder, and
Trustee of the Board of Working Families United).
(Id. ¶¶ 7, 9). Wowkanech was also
President of the New Jersey AFL-CIO Community Services
Agency, the fiscal agent and funder of the One N.J. Project.
(Id. ¶¶ 8-9). Correa resides in Dover,
where Mayor Dodd serves as mayor. (Id. ¶¶
12, 2015, Correa spoke during the “public comments
portion” of a Dover town hall meeting and criticized
Mayor Dodd's relationship with Dover's immigrant
community. (Id. ¶ 15). At the time, Correa was
serving as the Executive Director of Working Families United
and State Director of the One N.J. Project. (Id.
¶ 5). Correa alleges, however, that he spoke as a Dover
resident and taxpayer and “not in his official
capacity” as either the Executive Director of Working
Families United, State Director of the One N.J. Project, or
representative of any other organization. (Id.
after Correa's speech, Wowkanech called Correa to inform
him that Mayor Dodd had “made a complaint” about
what Correa said. (Id. ¶ 16). Wowkanech
explained that Mayor Dodd “was not happy” with
Correa's “behavior” and that the Mayor
“did not want to see him at the . . . Board of Aldermen
meetings or stepped [sic] into Town Hall.”
(Id. ¶ 17). Wowkanech then asked Correa to
resign. (Id. ¶ 18).
following day, on May 13, 2015, Wowkanech “stated that
[Correa] had a choice of resigning, being terminated, or
apologizing” to Mayor Dodd. (Id. ¶ 19).
Correa responded in a letter to Wowkanech that “he
would not resign or apologize” to the Mayor.
(Id. ¶ 20). Wowkanech and the New Jersey State
AFL-CIO then terminated Correa from his positions on the same
day. (Id. ¶ 21).
April 20, 2016, Correa filed a four-count Complaint alleging
retaliatory discharge against the Moving Defendants
(“Count I”); tortious interference with economic
advantage against the Dover Defendants (“Count
II”); breach of contract against the Moving Defendants
(Count III); and violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 through
suppression of his First Amendment rights against the Dover
Defendants (“Count IV”). (Id.
after Correa initiated this action, the Moving Defendants
filed a first motion to dismiss Counts I and III for failure
to state a claim. (D.E. No. 5). After the parties briefed the
Moving Defendants' motion, Magistrate Judge Dickson
entered a Text Order (i) directing the parties to exchange
written discovery “on the limited issue of whether
Plaintiff had an employment agreement”; and (ii)
administratively terminating the Moving ...