Ivan v. County of Middlesex, No. 03-1703 (WHW).

CourtUnited States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
Writing for the CourtWalls
Citation595 F.Supp.2d 425
Decision Date21 January 2009
Docket NumberNo. 03-1703 (WHW).
PartiesJoan IVAN and Angel Jazikoff, Plaintiffs, v. COUNTY OF MIDDLESEX; Middlesex County Sheriff's Department; Sheriff Joseph C. Spicuzzo, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff of the Middlesex County Sheriff's Department; Undersheriff Angelo Falcone, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff's Officer of the Middlesex County Sheriff's Department; Lieutenant Donald Blount, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff's Officer of the Middlesex County Sheriff's Department; Sergeant Bruce Allen, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff's Officer of the Middlesex County Sheriff's Department; Officer Robert Landis, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff's Officer of the Middlesex County Sheriff's Department; Officer Alexander Pepenella, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff's Officer of the Middlesex County Sheriff's Department and John Does 1-10 (fictitious names) individually and in their official capacities as Sheriff's Officers of the Middlesex County Sheriff's Department, Defendants.
595 F.Supp.2d 425
Joan IVAN and Angel Jazikoff, Plaintiffs,
v.
COUNTY OF MIDDLESEX; Middlesex County Sheriff's Department; Sheriff Joseph C. Spicuzzo, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff of the Middlesex County Sheriff's Department; Undersheriff Angelo Falcone, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff's Officer of the Middlesex County Sheriff's Department; Lieutenant Donald Blount, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff's Officer of the Middlesex County Sheriff's Department; Sergeant Bruce Allen, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff's Officer of the Middlesex County Sheriff's Department; Officer Robert Landis, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff's Officer of the Middlesex County Sheriff's Department; Officer Alexander Pepenella, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff's Officer of the Middlesex County Sheriff's Department and John Does 1-10 (fictitious names) individually and in their official capacities as Sheriff's Officers of the Middlesex County Sheriff's Department, Defendants.
Civil Action No. 03-1703 (WHW).
United States District Court, D. New Jersey.
January 21, 2009.

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Peter Ciolino, Esq., Harwood Loyd, Hackensack, NJ, for Mediator.

Jeffrey G. Garrigan, Esq., John P. Nulty, Jr., Esq., Cammarata, Nulty & Garrigan, L.L.C., Jersey City, NJ, and for Plaintiffs Joan Ivan and Angel Jazikoff.

Joseph V. Biancamano, Esq., Lawrence F. Citro, Esq., Biancamano & Di Stefano, Edison, NJ, Patrick J. Bradshaw, Esq., Kelso & Bradshaw, Esqs., New Brunswick, NJ, for Defendants Count of Middlesex, Middlesex County Sheriff's Department.

Craig L. Corson, Esq., Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst & Doukas, Llp, New Brunswick, NJ, for Defendant Undersheriff Angelo Falcone.

Lori A. Dvorak, Esq., Marc D. Mory, Esq., Dvorak & Associates, Llc, New Brunswick, NJ, for Defendant Lieutenant Donald Blount.

Michael John Stone, Esq., The Stone Law Group, Warren, NJ, for Defendant Sergeant Bruce Allen.

Clark W. Convery, Esq., Convery, Convery & Shihar, Edison, NJ, for Defendant Officer Robert Landis.

George A. Spadoro, Esq., Keyana Capri Laws, Esq., Wolff & Samson PC, Offices at Crystal Lake, West Orange, NJ, for Defendant Officer Alexander Pepenella.

OPINION

WALLS, Senior District Judge.


Both plaintiffs and defendants move for summary judgment. Defendants' motions are granted in part and denied in part. Plaintiffs' motion is denied.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

This matter arises from allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the Middlesex County Sheriff's Department (the "Department"), where plaintiffs Joan Ivan and Angel Jazikoff served

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as sheriff's officers. Plaintiffs charge they were subjected to specific instances of sexual harassment, Ivan by Sergeant Bruce Allen and Jazikoff by sheriff's officer Robert Landis, sheriff's officer Alexander Pepenella and Lieutenant Donald Blount. Both plaintiffs also claim that written policies and customs of the Department constitute unlawful gender discrimination under state and federal law. The relevant facts are as follows.1

Ivan

Ivan was hired in January of 1999 and served as a sheriff's officer until her termination on October 14, 2003. Allen was a sergeant in the Department and, for a time, Ivan's direct supervisor. Allen's harassment often took the form of verbal abuse. Between August and November of 1999 Allen on several occasions, upon observing Ivan smoking on her break, commented as to how "disgusting" Ivan looked, (Certification of John P. Nulty, Jr. (Dkt. No. 150 (filed Apr. 15, 2008)) ("Nulty Cert."), Ex. C, Ivan Dep. 89:6 to 89:13., Dec. 8, 2004.), and requested that she wear her hair up. (Certification of Patrick J. Bradshaw ("Bradshaw Cert."), Ex. I, Ivan Dep. 83:18-84:5.) Although County procedures did require hair to be "neat and clean," (Bradshaw Cert., Ex. I, Ivan Dep. 84:16-21.), Allen added that it was "no wonder [Ivan did not] have a date." (Nulty Cert., Ex. C, Ivan Dep. 92:11 to 92:24.) Ivan never reported these incidents. Another sheriff's officer testified that Allen, in the presence of Ivan, said that Ivan needed a "good stiff fucking," was "sucking her way to the top" and commented that females were useless and had no place in the department. (Nulty Cert., Ex. E, Netta Dep. 44:45-46:15; 48:18-19.)

On November 3, 1999, Ivan expressed interest in attending a military birthday party for veterans who served in the Department. Allen grumbled, "[I] forgot they allow bimbos in the Navy now." Notwithstanding this missive, Ivan insisted that she planned to attend. In response, Allen asserted, "Mark my words. No, you will not." (Nulty Cert., Ex. C, Ivan Dep. 113:21 to 121:14.) Ivan reported this incident to Sgt. Orpen and Lt. Sathan but was advised to simply try to ignore it. (Nulty Cert., Ex. G at ¶¶ 3-4.) On the morning of the party, Ivan was transferred to Transportation Division and Allen chided, "... told you you're not going to be here." (Nulty Cert., Ex. C, Ivan Dep. 116:9-117:8.)

After such transfer Ivan had only limited contact with Allen. (Bradshaw Cert., Ex. I, Ivan Dep. 125:10-20; 127:19-23; 125-1:12.). Ivan testified that she could not recall any harassment occurring between November, 1999 until August, 2000,

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(Id., Ivan Dep. 244:21-245:23.), when, after a party to celebrate the retirement of another officer, (hereinafter, the "Galway Retirement Party"), Allen touched Ivan's buttocks and said "Come on baby. You're a tease. Come on. You know you want this. You know you want me." (Nulty Cert., Ex. C, Ivan Dep. 270:19-271:22.) When Ivan failed to respond to these overtures, Allen added "You really are a bitch!" "You aren't a cop, you are a tease!" "Your looks aren't going to get you anywhere in this department!" and "You females are worthless!" (Second Am. Compl. ¶ 64.) Although Ivan was severely distressed by this incident, turning to several officers nearby for assistance in restraining Allen, (Bradshaw Cert., Ivan, Ex. I 283:22-25.), she did not report this incident for over a year, until April 16, 2001.

In December, 2000 or January, 2001, Ivan clashed with Allen again while delivering a prisoner to the criminal courthouse. Transportation officers were not allowed above the basement level but, because the basement women's bathroom was closed by flooding, Ivan went to the first floor to use the bathroom. (Bradshaw Cert., Ex. I, Ivan Dep. 369:6-370:9.) Allen encountered Ivan on the first floor, blocked access to the bathroom and told her to "hold it and get out of his building." (Nulty Cert., Ex. C 383:9-383:16.) Ivan did not report this incident.

On April 16, 2001, Allen witnessed Ivan behind a lieutenant's desk and offered "that's where you should be, behind the desk like a secretary." (Second Am. Compl. ¶ 71.) Later, upon learning that Ivan planned to take her son to Disneyland, Allen offered, "Oh, I can't believe you could reproduce ... he must be a poor kid to have a mother like you." (Nulty Cert., Ex. C 476:13 to 477:3.) In response to Ivan's request that he stop, Allen retorted "What? I thought you were one of the guys. What, you can't take it?" (Compl. ¶ 75.)

After this incident Ivan complained about Allen's behavior and on, May 3, 2001, Undersheriff Falcone ordered that there be no contact between the two. (Bradshaw Cert., Ex. I, Ivan Dep. 525:17-22.) Ivan was prohibited from working at the criminal courthouse and was required to notify Allen whenever her other duties required her to be there. (Second Am. Compl. ¶ 83.) Ivan initially expressed satisfaction with this solution but ultimately felt that the policy stigmatized her. (Bradshaw Cert., Ex. I, Ivan Dep. 526:13-18, 593:8-14.) In a final act of harassment, on November 16, 2001, Alteria and Ivan reported to the courthouse to transfer a prisoner and Allen shouted derogatory and gender-based comments across the parking lot in Ivan's direction. (Compl. ¶ 89-92; Nulty Cert., Ex. YY.)

Allen also made other troubling comments, although they were not directed toward Ivan specifically. Sheriff's officer Villegas testified that Allen said "broads don't belong here." (Nulty Cert., Villegas, Ex. F 68:19 to 69:10.) According to the testimony of Sheriff's Officer Alteria, Allen was "more harsh, more critical" of female officers, stated that female officers should not be in law enforcement, and would make comments about the appearance of female officers, including officer Ivan, suggesting that "he would like to see them out of their uniform[s]." (Nulty Cert., Ex. D, Alteria Dep. 69:5-69:14; 69:24-70:7; 70:25-71:15; 74:8-74:22; 220:18-222:11.)

There is some evidence that Allen did not reserve his boorish behavior for his female coworkers. An investigative report concluded that Allen "appear[ed] to have a command management style that ha[d] been variously described as being tough, strong, nasty, bullying, condescending, arrogant,

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intimidating, that at times [could] be petty, arbitrary or capricious." It also "appear[ed] that he generally treat[ed] male and female officers alike with his abrasive style." (Bradshaw Cert., Ex. F at 10.)

However, on March 26, 2002, Director of Personnel for the County, J. Thomas Cross wrote to Sheriff Spicuzzo indicating his initial finding that Allen's conduct towards Ivan had violated the County's sexual harassment policy. Director Cross recommended that Allen receive sensitivity training and a written reprimand. Despite this recommendation, Allen was...

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107 practice notes
  • Castillo-Perez v. City of Elizabeth, Civ. No. 2:11-6958 (KM) (CLW)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • April 21, 2014
    ...(1983)). "A claim for conspiratorial liability 'must . . . contain supportive factual allegations.'" Ivan v. Cnty. of Middlesex, 595 F. Supp. 2d 425, 484 (D.N.J. 2009) (quoting Rose v. Bartle, 871 F.2d 331, 366 (3d Cir. 1989)). To state a claim, "[t]he factual allegations supporting the con......
  • Fitzgerald v. Shore Mem'l Hosp., Civil No. 12–6221 JBS/AMD.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • March 12, 2015
    ...F.3d at 169 ; Robbins v. U.S. Foodserv. Inc., 2012 WL 3781258, at *4 (D.N.J. Aug. 30, 2012) (Simandle, J.); Ivan v. Cnty. of Middlesex, 595 F.Supp.2d 425, 474 (D.N.J.2009). Judicial proceedings may accord preclusive effect to arbitrations that have adjudicated the same claims or defenses. R......
  • Morro v. DGMB Casino LLC, Civil No. 13–cv–5530 (JBS/JS).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • June 30, 2015
    ...taken against him or her; and (4) that the whistle-blowing activity caused such adverse employment action. Ivan v. County of Middlesex, 595 F.Supp.2d 425, 468 (D.N.J.2009) (citing Kolb v. Burns, 320 N.J.Super. 467, 727 A.2d 525, 530 (N.J.Super.Ct.App.Div.1999) ). Once plaintiff has establis......
  • Goodall-Gaillard v. N.J. Dep't of Corr., Civ. No. 2:09-00954 (KM)(MAH)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • June 24, 2014
    ...part of a pattern and at least one of those acts occurred within the statutory limitations period." Ivan v. Cnty. ofPage 56Middlesex, 595 F. Supp. 2d 425, 448 (D.N.J. 2009) (citing Shepherd v. Hunterdon Developmental Ctr., 174 N.J. 1, 6-7, 803 A.2d 611 (2002); West v. Philadelphia Elec. Co.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
107 cases
  • Castillo-Perez v. City of Elizabeth, Civ. No. 2:11-6958 (KM) (CLW)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • April 21, 2014
    ...(1983)). "A claim for conspiratorial liability 'must . . . contain supportive factual allegations.'" Ivan v. Cnty. of Middlesex, 595 F. Supp. 2d 425, 484 (D.N.J. 2009) (quoting Rose v. Bartle, 871 F.2d 331, 366 (3d Cir. 1989)). To state a claim, "[t]he factual allegations supporting the con......
  • Fitzgerald v. Shore Mem'l Hosp., Civil No. 12–6221 JBS/AMD.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • March 12, 2015
    ...F.3d at 169 ; Robbins v. U.S. Foodserv. Inc., 2012 WL 3781258, at *4 (D.N.J. Aug. 30, 2012) (Simandle, J.); Ivan v. Cnty. of Middlesex, 595 F.Supp.2d 425, 474 (D.N.J.2009). Judicial proceedings may accord preclusive effect to arbitrations that have adjudicated the same claims or defenses. R......
  • Morro v. DGMB Casino LLC, Civil No. 13–cv–5530 (JBS/JS).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • June 30, 2015
    ...taken against him or her; and (4) that the whistle-blowing activity caused such adverse employment action. Ivan v. County of Middlesex, 595 F.Supp.2d 425, 468 (D.N.J.2009) (citing Kolb v. Burns, 320 N.J.Super. 467, 727 A.2d 525, 530 (N.J.Super.Ct.App.Div.1999) ). Once plaintiff has establis......
  • Goodall-Gaillard v. N.J. Dep't of Corr., Civ. No. 2:09-00954 (KM)(MAH)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • June 24, 2014
    ...part of a pattern and at least one of those acts occurred within the statutory limitations period." Ivan v. Cnty. ofPage 56Middlesex, 595 F. Supp. 2d 425, 448 (D.N.J. 2009) (citing Shepherd v. Hunterdon Developmental Ctr., 174 N.J. 1, 6-7, 803 A.2d 611 (2002); West v. Philadelphia Elec. Co.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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