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United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
January 18, 2019, Decided; January 18, 2019, Filed
Civ. No. 18-5359 (KM) (SCM)
KEVIN MCNULTY, U.S.D.J.:
This matter comes before the Court on defendants' motion to dismiss the Complaint. Plaintiff Sirrano Keith Baldeo is the founder of a newspaper, the New Jersey Pulse, which focuses on local issues in Paterson, New Jersey. Defendant City of Paterson is a municipality that legislates through a city council. The remaining defendants are members of the city council, the city attorney, and [*2] the city business administrator.
Mr. Baldeo, a vocal critic of the elected council members, publicly opposed their re-election. As a result, he claims, various council members retaliated against him and engaged in conduct that resulted in a deprivation of his First Amendment rights. He further alleges that some of the incidents were tortious.
For the reasons stated below, the Complaint's tort claims are dismissed in their entirety, with prejudice, because the plaintiffs have failed to file a notice of tort claim under the New Jersey Tort Claims Act. The tort claims dismissed on these grounds are the third count (breach of fiduciary duty); fifth count (battery); sixth count (assault); seventh count (civil conspiracy); and eighth count (aiding and abetting).
The fourth count, plaintiffs' claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3), is also dismissed. The Complaint does not sufficiently plead the existence of a conspiracy amongst the defendants that was motivated by a racial or class-based discriminatory animus. This dismissal is without prejudice.
As to plaintiff Stacey Baldeo's claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the New Jersey Civil Rights Act ("NJCRA"), the motion to dismiss is granted, without prejudice. Ms. Baldeo sues based on the constitutional [*3] deprivations allegedly suffered by her husband, plaintiff Sirrano Baldeo. The Complaint does not allege that she independently suffered any constitutional deprivation. As to plaintiff Sirrano Baldeo's claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the NJCRA, the defendants' motion to dismiss is granted in part and denied in part. The motion to dismiss the first count (§ 1983) and second count (NJCRA) is granted insofar as those claims are asserted against defendants Romina M. Pasqual and Nelli Pou. As to all other defendants (i.e., the City and its council members), the motion is denied.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9636 *; 2019 WL 277600
SIRRANO KEITH BALDEO, and STACEY BALDEO, husband and wife, Plaintiffs, v. CITY OF PATERSON, COUNCILMAN WILLIAM "BILL" MCKOY, COUNCILWOMAN RUBY N. COTTON, COUNCILWOMAN MARITZA DAVILA, COUNCILMAN MICHAEL "MIKE" JACKSON, COUNCILMAN DOMINGO "ALEX" MENDEZ, COUNCILMAN KENNETH M. MORRIS, JR., COUNCILMAN ANDRE SAYEGH, COUNCILMAN LUIS VELEZ, COUNCILMAN SHAHIN KHALIQUE, COUNCILMAN MOHAMMAED AKHTARUZZAMAN, COUNCILMAN JULIO TAVAREZ, ROMINA M. PASQUAL, ESQ. - CITY ATTORNEY, NELLI POU - BUSINESS ADMINISTRATOR, and JOHN DOES A-Z, Defendants.
Subsequent History: Summary judgment granted by Baldeo v. City of Paterson, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 245341, 2020 WL 7778084 (D.N.J., Dec. 31, 2020)
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