United States District Court, D. New Jersey
L. Cooper, Esq. LAW OFFICES OF CHERYL L. COOPER Attorney for
Christine O'Hearn, Esq. BROWN & CONNERY, LLP Attorney
for County Defendants.
Edward Rybeck, Esq., John C. Eastlack, Jr., Esq., Lilia
Londar, Esq., WEIR & PARTNERS Attorneys for City
HONORABLE NOEL L. HILLMAN JUDGE.
Anthony Carmichael (hereinafter, “Plaintiff”)
brought this employment action against Defendants City of
Camden, County of Camden, and John Scott Thomson, Orlando
Cuevas, Michael Lynch, Louis Vega, Joseph Wysocki, and J.L.
Williams, in their official capacities as employees of the
City of Camden, the County of Camden, or both (collectively,
“Defendants”). Plaintiff, formerly a Lieutenant
in the Camden City Police Department and now a Captain in the
Camden County Police Department, generally alleges that
Defendants engaged in retaliation against him based on
protected activity in violation of the New Jersey
Conscientious Employee Protection Act, the New Jersey Law
Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”), the New Jersey
State Constitution, the First Amendment of the United States
Constitution, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff also
alleges race discrimination in violation of NJLAD and §
Opinion addresses only Plaintiff's remaining claims
against Defendants County of Camden, County Police Chief
Thomson, Deputy Chief Cuevas, Deputy Chief Lynch, and Louis
Vega, in their capacity as employees of the County of Camden
and County of Camden Police Department (collectively,
“County Defendants”) for allegedly discriminating
against Plaintiff by failing to promote him to Captain during
or soon after the formation of the Camden County Police
Department in May 2013 and does not address any of
Plaintiff's claims against City Defendants.
matter comes before the Court on County Defendants'
motion for summary judgment on Counts Eleven and Twelve of
the First Amended Complaint. (Motion for Summary Judgment
(hereinafter “County Defs.' Mot.”) [Docket
principal issue remaining to be decided is, discovery having
been concluded, whether there are genuine issues of material
fact from which, giving all reasonable inferences to
Plaintiff, a jury could reasonably find that County
Defendants failed to promote Plaintiff to the rank of Captain
in the Camden County Police Department due to race
discrimination in violation of his First Amendment rights.
For the reasons discussed below, the motion for summary
judgment will be granted.
pending motion was filed by County Defendants and as noted
previously does not address any of Plaintiff's
allegations against City Defendants. (County Defendants'
Brief in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment (hereinafter
“County Br.”) [Docket Item 240-2], 1 n.1.)
Accordingly, the Court recounts only those portions of the
factual the procedural history relevant to Plaintiff's
failure-to-promote claims against County Defendants.
late Honorable Jerome B. Simandle thoroughly detailed the
factual background of this case in his Opinion addressing
County Defendants' prior motion for summary judgment,
(see Opinion [Docket Item 202], Sept. 27, 2018,
17-22), and the Court need not repeat that background here.
Simandle's Opinion addressing County Defendants'
prior motion for summary judgment also thoroughly addressed
the procedural history of this case, (see Opinion
[Docket Item 202], Sept. 27, 2018, 22-25), and the Court need
not recite that history, known to the parties, here.
Subsequent to that Opinion, Judge Simandle granted County
Defendants leave to file the present motion. (See
Opinion [Docket Item 236], Apr. 5, 2019; Order [Docket Item
237], Apr. 5, 2019.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
summary judgment, the moving party bears the initial burden
of demonstrating that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); accord Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once a properly
supported motion for summary judgment is made, the burden
shifts to the non-moving party, who must set forth specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250
(1986). In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the court
is required to examine the evidence in light most favorable
to the non-moving party, and resolve all reasonable
inferences in that party's favor. Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007); Halsey v.
Pfeiffer, 750 F.3d 273, 287 (3d Cir. 2014).
factual dispute is material when it “might affect the
outcome of the suit under the governing law, ” and
genuine when “the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. The non-moving party
“need not match, item for item, each piece of evidence
proffered by the movant, ” but must simply present more
than a “mere scintilla” of evidence on which a
jury could reasonably ...