New Jersey Appellate Division affirms dismissal of plaintiff’s gender discrimination and workers’ comp retaliation claims.
Our defense team was successful before the New Jersey Appellate Division. The plaintiff is a former employee of a non-profit agency that provides services to disabled individuals. She filed suit against her former employer and its manager, alleging gender discrimination and retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. As discovery progressed, thousands of pages of discovery were exchanged, which demonstrated that legitimate, long-standing performance deficiencies were the actual basis for her termination. The defendants filed for summary judgment prior to the end of the discovery period, and the Law Division granted the motion, finding no reason not to grant the immediate dismissal, especially as the plaintiff failed to even respond to the statement of material facts. On appeal to the Appellate Division, the court affirmed the dismissal, rejecting the plaintiff’s arguments that the motion judge engaged in a subjective analysis of the facts and thereby made factual findings on disputed issues, and that the motion judge erred by granting the motion before discovery was complete. The court found that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate, with any degree of particularity, that further discovery would supply the missing elements to her cause of action. The court further found that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate a prima facie case of gender discrimination or workers’ compensation retaliation given the unrebutted facts provided by the defendants.