Anda di halaman 1dari 12

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY




J OHN DRISCOLL : CIVIL ACTION
:
Plaintiff, : NO. 09-CV-
:
vs. :
: COMPLAINT AND J URY DEMAND
GLOUCESTER CITY, :
WILLIAM G. CROTHERS, in his :
capacity as Chief of Police, :
MICHAEL J . KAYE, in his capacity :
As Deputy Chief, and J EAN KAYE, :
Former Councilwoman, individually :
and in capacity as Councilwoman :
:
Defendant. :


COMES NOW, J ohn Driscoll, Plaintiff herein, and file this, his Complaint for
damages as follows:
1. INTRODUCTION
1. Plaintiff, J ohn Driscoll, brings this action for damages against Gloucester
City, his employer, Chief William G. Crothers, Deputy Chief Michael J . Kaye, and J ean
Kaye, Councilwoman, for irrational and arbitrary treatment in the terms and conditions of
his employment, all in violation of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause
of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which constitutes violations of 42
U.S.C. 1983, the Family and Medical Leave Act, for violations of the Conscientious
Employee Protection Act, the New J ersey Law Against Discrimination (NJ LAD) and
state common law claims, over which this court has ancillary jurisdiction. Plaintiff seeks
1
Case 1:09-cv-00754-RBK-AMD Document 1 Filed 02/19/09 Page 1 of 11 PageID: 1
an award of compensatory damages against Defendants and rescission of any discipline
Plaintiff has been subjected to, back pay and equitable relief including liquidated
damages and reimbursement for all costs and attorneys fees incurred in the prosecution of
this litigation. Plaintiff also seeks punitive damages against Defendant for the claims
under 42 U.S.C. 1983, and CEPA and the NJ LAD.
II. JURISDICTION AND VENUE
2. This action is initiated pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983. This Court may
Properly maintain personal jurisdiction over Defendant because Defendants contacts
with this state and this judicial district are sufficient for the exercise of jurisdiction over
Defendant to comply with traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice,
satisfying the standard set forth by the United States Supreme Court in International Shoe
Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310 (1945) and its progeny.
3. The United States District Court for the District of New J ersey may
properly maintain original subject matter jurisdiction over the instant action pursuant to
28 U.S.C. 1331 and 1343(a)(4) because it arises under the laws of the United States
and seeks redress for violations of civil rights. The Court may also maintain
supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims set forth herein pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
1367(a) and Rule 18(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure because they are
sufficiently related to the claim(s) within the Courts original jurisdiction that they form
part of the same case or controversy.
4. Venue is properly laid in the New J ersey District Court 28 U.S.C.
1391(b)(1) and (b)(2), because all Defendants reside in and/or conduct business in this
judicial district and because a substantial part of the acts and/or omissions giving rise to
2
Case 1:09-cv-00754-RBK-AMD Document 1 Filed 02/19/09 Page 2 of 11 PageID: 2
the claims set forth herein occurred in this judicial district. Plaintiff was working in the
New J ersey District at the time of the illegal actions set forth herein.
III. PARTIES
5. Plaintiff, J ohn Driscoll, is an adult individual residing in the County of
Gloucester, State of New J ersey and is subject to the jurisdiction of this Court.
6. Defendant, Gloucester City, (Camden County), is a political subdivision of
the State of New J ersey and is subject to the jurisdiction of this Court.
IV. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
7. In March, 2000, Plaintiff was appointed to a position of Police Officer by
Gloucester City.
8. In early August of 2006, Plaintiff told Former Deputy Chief J ames that he
would make a good candidate for town counsel. On or about August of 2006, Plaintiff
received a telephone call from Defendant, Councilwoman, J ean Kaye, who threatened
him for supporting opposing council candidates. She threatened to put him on night
work.
9. On August 18, 2006 Plaintiff was injured on duty in a motor vehicle
accident causing injuries to Plaintiffs back. Defendant, Chief Crothers, called Plaintiff
into the Chiefs Office and tried to force a disability pension upon the Plaintiff. Chief
Crothers then removed the Plaintiff from community policing and patrol where Plaintiff
was a DARE officer in which he had taken classes and then taught what he had learned to
citizens including child safety seat classes, bike rodeos for kids which included giving out
helmets, went on fishing trips with the troubled youths, worked the senior police
academy and did accreditations, and then placed the Plaintiff into patrol work.
3
Case 1:09-cv-00754-RBK-AMD Document 1 Filed 02/19/09 Page 3 of 11 PageID: 3
10. On or about February of 2007 the Chief switched the Plaintiffs Injured
On Duty days to sick days after approving Injured On Duty status when injury occurred.
11. On or about August, 2006, the Defendants violated the department drug
testing policy by subjecting Plaintiff to testing while off duty. Plaintiff should have been
tested upon return to duty.
12. While recovering from the August, 2006 injury, Plaintiff wore black
leather shoes with special support to avoid back discomfort. The Defendant, Chief
Crothers, sent Plaintiff home to change into other shoes for no legitimate reason.
13. On or about September of 2006, Plaintiff received a written reprimand for
the J une, 2006 accident. Plaintiff was required to attend a driving course on his day off
and was uncompensated for his appearance. This was the only time in the department
history that a member received this punishment.
14. On or about April of 2007, Plaintiff was threatened with suspension and
screamed by the Chief after asking questions of Lt. Berglund.
15. On or about May 9, 2007 the Defendant, Chief Crothers, changed the
Plaintiffs shift against preference to 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. shift in place of an officer with the
least amount of seniority. This was in response to being nominated for President of Local
PBA Union on May 7, 2007.
16. After being nominated to PBA President, Plaintiffs vehicle was switched
to a vehicle documented as Life Support.
17. Defendants were all informed that the 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. shift was
detrimental to Plaintiffs family life on or about May of 2007.
4
Case 1:09-cv-00754-RBK-AMD Document 1 Filed 02/19/09 Page 4 of 11 PageID: 4
18. On J une 9, 2007 Plaintiffs autistic child received a skull fracture during
the time which Plaintiff would have been home if on his previous shift.
19. Defendant, Deputy Chief Kaye, sent an email on or about December of
2007 telling all officers Plaintiff had received agenda against the department as the PBA
President.
20. On or about December of 2007, Defendants, Deputy Chief Kaye and
Chief Crothers, demanded the Union to pay for their contract negotiation to get them a
good retirement contract. The Union refused and explained the illegibility of
representation.
21. After Petitioner denied the Defendants Chief Crothers and Deputy Chief
Kayes request with regard to the retirement contract, Plaintiff received another shift
change.
22. Petitioner was assigned, by Defendant Chief Crothers, to a newly created
shift as penalty for not negotiating Defendants, Chief Crothers and Deputy Chief Kayes
contract. The new shift was 7:10 p.m. to 3:30 a.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Plaintiff
was the only officer in the department to work this shift while others had 12 hour shift
with every other weekend off.
23. On or about J anuary, 2008, Plaintiff applied for FMLA.
24. Gloucester City Council approved FMLA and granted request to return to
original day shift to accommodate child care needs.
25. Defendant, Chief Crothers, did not implement FMLA request until J une
18, 2008.
5
Case 1:09-cv-00754-RBK-AMD Document 1 Filed 02/19/09 Page 5 of 11 PageID: 5
26. Prior to Defendants Deputy Chief Kaye and Chief Crothers taking over the
department, Plaintiff was the City Employee of the Month, recipient of the Chiefs
Award and several other meritorious awards.
27. On repeated occasions, the Defendant Chief Crothers and Deputy Chief
Kaye violated FMLA rules and forced Plaintiff to use sick days in lieu of vacation days.
28. Plaintiff has been repeatedly denied educational classes for no non-
discriminatory reason. Other officers receive on average four (4) classes a year. Plaintiff
was denied every request.
29. Following Plaintiffs actions, Plaintiff was subjected to further malicious
and arbitrary treatment in the terms and conditions of his employment, including but not
limited to:
a. Unwarranted disciplinary actions;
b. Removal and reassignment to different posts within the
Department;
c. Denial of leave requests;
d. Circulating information relative to the issues in this case;
e. Threatening to discipline Plaintiff for legitimate union activity.
30. Defendant has not complied with CEPAs requirement to provide annual
notice to employees regarding their right to be free from retaliation for refusing to
commit a fraudulent act.
COUNT I
VIOLATION OF PLAINTIFFS RIGHT TO EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER
THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT CLASS OF ONE
AGAINST DEFENDANT IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY
PURSUANT TO 42 U.S.C. 1983
6
Case 1:09-cv-00754-RBK-AMD Document 1 Filed 02/19/09 Page 6 of 11 PageID: 6

31. The foregoing paragraphs are incorporated herein in their entirety as if set
forth in full.
32. Plaintiff has been treated differently in the terms and conditions of his
employment than other similarly situated employees.
33. The discipline Plaintiff has been subjected to was motivated by
Defendants ill will towards Plaintiff and is irrational and arbitrary and not based upon
enforcement of a legitimate governmental objective. Defendants ill will and malice
toward Plaintiff was generated in part by Plaintiffs failure to participate in a scheme to
commit a fraud by representing the Chief and Deputy Chief in contract negotiations.
34. There is no rational or legitimate basis for disciplining Plaintiff for his
legitimate actions.
35. As a result of Defendants actions, Plaintiff has suffered pecuniary losses,
and emotional pain and suffering, as set forth herein.
36. Defendant actions as complained of above were willful, wanton,
malicious, and/or were made in reckless disregard of Plaintiffs civil rights and Plaintiff
is entitled to receive an award of punitive damages.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff, respectfully requests that this Court enter a judgment in
his favor:
(a) awarding him back pay;
(b) awarding him compensatory damages;
(c) awarding him punitive damages;
(d) awarding him attorney fees and costs in this action; and
(e) granting other such relief as the Court deems necessary and appropriate.
7
Case 1:09-cv-00754-RBK-AMD Document 1 Filed 02/19/09 Page 7 of 11 PageID: 7
COUNT II
VIOLATION OF PLAINTIFFS FIRST AMENDMENT
RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH
UNDER 42 U.S.C. 1983
AGAINST DEFENDANT IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY

37. The foregoing paragraphs are incorporated herein in their entirety as if set
forth in full.
38. Plaintiffs actions of complaining about the harassment based upon
disability, about the unsafe equipment issued to him and about the malicious and arbitrary
enforcement of the rules and regulations dealt with a matter of public concern.
39. Plaintiffs interest in the speech outweighed any interest Defendant had in
promoting the efficiency of the public service it provides. Plaintiffs complaints
therefore constituted protected activity under the First Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution.
40. Defendants act of disciplining Plaintiff was motivated, at least in part, by
Plaintiffs protected activity.
41. Defendants actions were taken in deliberate indifference to Plaintiffs
well established rights under the law. Defendant knew or should have known that his
action of disciplining Plaintiff in retaliation for engaging in protected activity was illegal
and not reasonable under the law as established at the time they took said action. Their
action therefore constituted a violation of Plaintiffs rights under the First Amendment to
the U.S. Constitution and results in liability under 42 U.S.C. 1983.
42. Plaintiff suffered damages as a direct result of defendants unlawful
actions, including lost pay and emotional distress.
8
Case 1:09-cv-00754-RBK-AMD Document 1 Filed 02/19/09 Page 8 of 11 PageID: 8
43. Defendants actions as complained of above were willful, wanton,
malicious, and/or were made in reckless disregard of Plaintiffs civil rights and Plaintiff
is entitled to receive an award of punitive damages.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff, respectfully requests that this court enter a judgment in
his favor:
(a) awarding him back pay, front pay and/or reinstatement;
(b) awarding him compensatory damages;
(c) awarding him punitive damages;
(d) awarding him attorneys fees and costs of this action; and
(e) granting other such relief as the Court deems necessary and appropriate.
COUNT III
AGAINST ALL DEFENDANTS
CONSCIENTIOUS EMPLOYEE PROTECTION ACT (CEPA)
N.J.S.A. 34:19-3

44. The foregoing paragraphs are incorporated herein in their entirety as it set
forth in full.
45. Defendants retaliated against Plaintiff who objected to participating in an
activity, policy or practice which he reasonably believes is fraudulent.
46. Plaintiff engaged in conduct protected under CEPA.
47. Defendants retaliated against Plaintiff for Plaintiffs refusal to participate
in fraudulent conduct and for disclosing the conduct of other employees who had violated
the residency requirement and who were treated differently than Plaintiff.
48. Plaintiff suffered damages as a direct result of defendants unlawful
actions, including emotional distress.
9
Case 1:09-cv-00754-RBK-AMD Document 1 Filed 02/19/09 Page 9 of 11 PageID: 9
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff respectfully requests that this court enter a judgment in
his favor:
(a) awarding him back pay;
(b) awarding him compensatory damages;
(c) awarding him punitive damages;
(d) awarding him attorneys fees and costs of this action; and
(e) granting other such relief as the Court deems necessary and appropriate.
COUNT IV

VIOLATION OF NJLAD FOR RETALIATION
AGAINST DEFENDANTS

49. The foregoing paragraphs are incorporated herein in their entirety as if set
forth in full.
50. Plaintiffs internal complaint about the unlawful harassment of him based
upon his disability constituted protected activity.
51. The action of Defendants in instituting disciplinary action was taken
because of his protected activity and therefore constituted an intentional violation of the
NJ LAD.
52. Plaintiff suffered damages as a direct result of Defendants unlawful
actions, including emotional distress.
53. Defendants actions as complained of above were taken willfully,
wantonly, and/or with reckless disregard for plaintiffs rights and therefore Plaintiff is
entitled to receive an award of punitive damages.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff respectfully requests that this court enter a judgment in
his favor:
10
Case 1:09-cv-00754-RBK-AMD Document 1 Filed 02/19/09 Page 10 of 11 PageID: 10
11
(a) awarding him back pay;
(b) awarding him compensatory damages;
(c) awarding him punitive damages;
(d) awarding him attorneys fees and costs of this action; and
(e) granting such other relief as the court deems necessary and appropriate.
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that demand is hereby made by the Plaintiff for a Trial
by J ury as to all issues of this cause of action.
Alterman & Associates, LLC



Dated: 2-19-09 s/Christopher A. Gray______
Christopher A. Gray, Esquire








Case 1:09-cv-00754-RBK-AMD Document 1 Filed 02/19/09 Page 11 of 11 PageID: 11
Case 1:09-cv-00754-RBK-AMD Document 1-1 Filed 02/19/09 Page 1 of 1 PageID: 12