NEW YORK, May 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- County of Hudson failed to convince a judge that racial discrimination lawsuit filed by its former employee under 42 U.S.C. Section 1981 has to be dismissed for failure to comply with statute of limitations and pleading requirements.
Citing issues of fact, New Jersey District Judge Jose Linares on April 23, 2015 denied a summary judgment motion filed by the County of Hudson in Novielli v County of Hudson, et. al., 10-cv-2830 (N.J.D. 2010).
Plaintiff Giacomo Novielli, who is represented by Ms. Alena Shautsova, a former corrections officer, had filed his lawsuit alleging discrimination more than five years after his termination in 2005. With the four years statute of limitations governing actions brought under 42 U.S.C. section 1981, Mr. Novielli had to show that he was a victim of continuous discrimination in order for his lawsuit to proceed in court.
Previously, Defendant County of Hudson had filed a motion to dismiss Mr. Novielli's case arguing that the action was time barred. The court, however, rejected this argument explaining that on motion to dismiss stage it had to accept as true Mr. Novielli's allegations that the County kept discriminating against him after his termination. According to Novielli, County's attorney Daniel Sexton ordered Mr. Novielli's witnesses who were at that time employed by the County, not to appear for Mr. Novielli's administrative hearings.
Now, the County filed a new motion citing the same argument. This time the Court rejected it again stating that "Defendants now essentially renew this Motion to Dismiss only formulates it as a Motion for Summary Judgment..." The court ruled that "In light of the certification submitted by Michael Prins (plaintiff's co-worker at that time), Plaintiff's explanation that many of the other witnesses served to appear at the hearing were ordered not to appear as they were still employed by Defendant, Hudson County Correctional, and the fact that these witnesses did not appear, a genuine issue to be decided by the jury is present, which the Court will not decide at this juncture."
To rebut County's argument that Plaintiff, a white male of Italian origin, cannot demonstrate discrimination by the County, Plaintiff, among other things, pointed out that approximately 62 African American officers had extensive absences far greater than the alleged absences by Plaintiff of five days or 40 hours, many of whom are still employed with Defendants. Additionally, Plaintiff offered evidence that Defendants routinely negotiated or disposed of charges by way of "Settlement Agreements" where Defendants offer non-Caucasian officers "time served," but Plaintiff was never offered such an agreement.
The Court held that "Having performed the employment discrimination burden-shifting analysis, the Court finds that Plaintiff has met his burden and summary judgment in favor of Defendants is inappropriate at this time. The fact finder will have the task to determine whether discrimination was the reason behind Plaintiffs termination."
SOURCE Alena Shautsova