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Sluka v. Landau Uniforms, Inc.

United States District Court for the District of New Jersey

August 15, 2005, Decided

CIVIL ACTION NO. 04-2987 (JEI)

Opinion

 [*651]  OPINION

IRENAS, Senior District Judge:

This action, removed from state court, stems from Defendant Landau Uniforms, Inc.'s ("Landau") termination of Plaintiff Carl Sluka's employment. Landau is a Tennessee corporation with its principle place of business in Olive Branch, Mississippi, and Plaintiff is a citizen of the State of New Jersey. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over all counts under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Although the Fifth Count asserts a federal cause of action, the removal petition was based solely of diversity of citizenship. Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. 1391(a) and (c). 1

 [**2]  Plaintiff's Complaint contains five counts: (I) material breach of the Employment Agreement; (II) material breach of the implied covenant of "good faith and fair dealing;" (III) violation of the New Jersey Wage Payment Law, N.J.S.A. 34:11-4.1 et seq. ("NJ WPL"); (IV) age discrimination in violation of New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A 10:5-1 et seq. ("NJ LAD"); and (V) failure to provide Plaintiff with notice pursuant to Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 1161 ("COBRA"). Both parties filed motions for summary judgment; each motion will be considered in turn.

Plaintiff seeks summary judgment on Count I, his breach of contract claim, and on Count V, his COBRA notice claim. Plaintiff claims that the express terms of his Employment Agreement entitle him to two year-end payments that Landau has failed to issue. In addition, as to Count V, Plaintiff argues that he is entitled to statutory penalties, attorney's fees and costs based on Landau's untimely delivered COBRA notice.

Landau seeks summary judgment on all five counts. Landau contends that Plaintiff was not entitled [**3]  to the two "bonuses," under the Employment Agreement after he was fired, that he was paid his regular salary and that he was terminated for performance issues. Finally, Landau argues that it should not be held liable for the late COBRA notice because there is no proof of damages.

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383 F. Supp. 2d 649 *; 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17227 **

CARL SLUKA, Plaintiff, v. LANDAU UNIFORMS, INC., and John Does 1-50, inclusive, fictitiously named defendants, jointly, severally and in the alternative, Defendants.

CORE TERMS

summary judgment, employment agreement, termination, sales, parties, notice, net sales, costs, statutory penalty, prima facie case, bonuses, attorney's fees, year-end, counts, bad faith, per day, undisputed, Territory, customers, damages, reasons, argues, bonus, performance issue, impose a penalty, district court, base salary, year-over-year, articulated, coverage

Civil Procedure, Federal & State Interrelationships, Choice of Law, General Overview, Labor & Employment Law, Employment Relationships, Employment Contracts, Breaches, Wage & Hour Laws, Defenses, Good Faith Defenses, Summary Judgment, Supporting Materials, Discovery Materials, Discovery, Methods of Discovery, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Appropriateness, Genuine Disputes, Legal Entitlement, Materiality of Facts, Opposing Materials, Burdens of Proof, Motions for Summary Judgment, Contracts Law, Ambiguities & Mistakes, Contract Interpretation, Trials, Jury Trials, Province of Court & Jury, Contract Interpretation, Ambiguities & Contra Proferentem, Business & Corporate Compliance, Labor & Employment Law, Wage Payments, Conditions & Terms, Discrimination, Actionable Discrimination, Evidence, Burden Shifting, Insurance Law, Claim, Contract & Practice Issues, Group Policies, Employment Termination, Pensions & Benefits Law, Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, Qualifying Events, Pensions & Benefits Law, Enforcement, Civil Litigation, Causes of Action, Failures to Respond, Attorney Fees & Expenses, Basis of Recovery, Statutory Awards, Damages, Costs & Attorney Fees, Court Costs, Remedies, Discretionary Fees