Torrey v. State of New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, 120717 FED3, 17-2052

Docket Nº:17-2052
Opinion Judge:AMBRO, CIRCUIT JUDGE
Party Name:JOHN O. TORREY, Appellant v. STATE OF NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Division of Criminal Justice; STEPHEN J. TAYLOR, individually, and in his official capacity of Director of the Division of Criminal Justice; PAUL MORRIS, individually, and in his official capacity as the chief of investigations, Division of Criminal Justice; S...
Judge Panel:Before: AMBRO, KRAUSE, and RENDELL, Circuit Judges
Case Date:December 07, 2017
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

JOHN O. TORREY, Appellant

v.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Division of Criminal Justice; STEPHEN J. TAYLOR, individually, and in his official capacity of Director of the Division of Criminal Justice; PAUL MORRIS, individually, and in his official capacity as the chief of investigations, Division of Criminal Justice; STANLEY BEET, individually, and in his official capacity; DERMOT P. O'GRADY, Esq. in his individual and his official capacity; JOHN AND JANE DOES 1 TO 25, individually and in their official capacities

No. 17-2052

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

December 7, 2017

NOT PRECEDENTIAL

Submitted Under Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) November 13, 2017

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (D.C. Civil Action No. 3-13-cv-01192) District Judge: Honorable Peter G. Sheridan

Before: AMBRO, KRAUSE, and RENDELL, Circuit Judges

OPINION [*]

AMBRO, CIRCUIT JUDGE

John Torrey is a former law enforcement officer who was employed by the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Criminal Justice ("DCJ"). While there he was the target of an internal investigation involving allegations of sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and other misconduct. Following the investigation, he was terminated and began applying for other law enforcement positions, including positions at the Mercer County Sheriff's Office and the Camden County Police Department.

To facilitate routine background checks in connection with his applications, Torrey signed and notarized consent forms authorizing the DCJ to share its personnel files relating to him, including those produced by the internal investigation. After receiving these forms, the DCJ allowed investigators from both the Mercer and Camden County offices to review Torrey's files. He was not hired.

Torrey sued the DCJ and individual, state-employee defendants, alleging a deprivation of a liberty interest in reputation under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and defamation, false light, and tortious interference with economic advantage under New Jersey law.1 The District Court entered summary judgment for the defendants and dismissed his claims. It found that there were no genuine issues of material fact about whether the DCJ's internal files contained false and inaccurate information. It also concluded that the consent forms signed by Torrey were not void as against public...

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