United States District Court, D. New Jersey
WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.
Luis Ocasio brings this action against the County of Hudson
(“County”), its Department of Corrections
(“DOC”), and four County officials (collectively
“Defendants”), alleging multiple violations of
state and federal law, in connection with Defendants'
harassment of Plaintiff during his employment at the DOC.
This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Aviles'
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). There was no oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b). For
the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion to
dismiss is GRANTED in part and
DENIED in part.
worked at the Hudson County DOC as a Corrections Officer and
served as President of the Policemen's Benevolent
Association (“PBA”) during all relevant times.
Second Am. Compl. (“2d Compl.”) ¶ 3, ECF No.
68. Defendant Aviles worked as the Director of the DOC during
all relevant times. Id. ¶ 8. On February 7,
2014, Plaintiff and four others filed a complaint against
Defendants, alleging multiple violations of state and federal
law. ECF No. 1. On September 9, 2016, the parties agreed to
dismiss the case without prejudice, pending the outcome of
parallel criminal proceedings. ECF No. 66. On September 7,
2017, Plaintiff refiled his complaint
(“Complaint”) with an amendment. The other four
plaintiffs filed a new complaint under a separate docket
number. See 2d Compl. ¶ 2. All Defendants
except for Aviles have answered Plaintiff's Complaint in
lieu of filing motions to dismiss. See ECF Nos. 70
Complaint alleges the following facts. In 2011, the PBA began
investigating the titles of top administrators at the DOC and
their entitlement to remain in the PBA's pension system,
including Defendants Eady and Aviles. See 2d Compl.
¶ 21. The investigation uncovered that Defendants Eady
and Aviles, among others, held civilian titles but remained
in the pension system. Id. ¶ 22. Subsequently,
Plaintiff and others began receiving threatening phone calls
from Eady. Id. ¶ 25. The PBA filed a formal
grievance with Director Aviles in March 2012, in which it
outlined multiple retaliatory measures undertaken by Eady.
Id. ¶¶ 27-30. The PBA sent a follow-up
letter to Aviles shortly thereafter seeking immediate
intervention but none of its correspondence resulted in
corrective action by the DOC. Id. ¶ 31.
that month, Aviles changed the DOC's disciplinary policy
to enable Eady to issue disciplinary charges and impose
discipline against DOC employees. Id. ¶ 36. In
May 2012, Plaintiff learned that Eady planned to retaliate
further against him, which caused him to fear for his career.
Id. ¶¶ 37-38. Director Aviles again
learned of threats made by Eady to Plaintiff and others and
he again did nothing. See id. ¶¶ 41-42. In
June 2012, a confidential informant working with the FBI and
close friend of Eady's (the “Informant”)
informed Plaintiff that Eady had been recording phone
conversations between Plaintiff and other PBA officials, at
which point Plaintiff notified the FBI. Id.
¶¶ 47-52. The Informant advised Plaintiff of other
threats made by Eady against Plaintiff and others.
Id. ¶¶ 53-60. Eady undertook other
retaliatory measures against Plaintiff for reporting an
incident of sexual harassment to Internal Affairs that
involved Eady's friend. Id. ¶¶ 63-76.
October 19, 2012, Plaintiff suffered an anxiety attack and
was put on medical leave because of the stress caused by
Eady's retaliation. Id. ¶ 77. Plaintiff did
not return to work until the end of February 2013.
Id. ¶ 80. On January 14, 2014, Eady was
arrested on one count of illegal wiretapping. Id.
¶ 85. Plaintiff alleges that Eady used a website called
“Evil Operator” to record his phone conversations
while he was President of the PBA, in an effort to obtain an
unfair advantage and to learn privileged, sensitive and
confidential information about officer discipline and union
contract negotiations, among other things. See id.
Second Amended Complaint asserts 13 causes of action:
(1) Count 1: unlawful interception of
Plaintiff's wire communication under 18 U.S.C. §
2511(1)(a), see id. ¶¶ 108-11;
(2) Count 2: unlawful disclosure and use of
Plaintiff's wire communication under 18 U.S.C.
§§ 2511(c) and (d), see id. ¶¶
(3) Count 3: violation of the New Jersey wiretapping
statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:156-1, see id. ¶¶
(4) Count 4: invasion of privacy by intrusion upon
seclusion, see id. ¶¶ 120-25;
(5) Count 5: violation of Plaintiff's privacy
rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, N.J.S.A. 10:6-1, the
Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and Article I,
Paragraph 1 of the N.J. Constitution, see id.
(6) Count 6: violation of Plaintiff's free
speech and association rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
N.J.S.A. 10:6-1, the First Amendment of the U.S.
Constitution, and Article I, Paragraph 6 of the ...