Court Discusses Amendment of Pleadings in New Jersey Discrimination Cases

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It is not uncommon for an employee who is treated unjustly at work to set forth more than one claim against his or her employer in an employment-related lawsuit. While an employee who has faced adverse employment action is permitted to assert multiple causes of action in a single lawsuit he must do so in a timely manner. This was shown in a recent case decided by the appellate division of the Superior Court of New Jersey, in which the court denied the plaintiff’s motion for leave to amend the complaint to add age-related discrimination claims, due to the untimeliness of the proposed amendment. If your employer discriminated against you based on age it is critical to meet with a New Jersey employment discrimination attorney as soon as possible to avoid waiving your right to pursue damages.

Factual Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was a detective sergeant with the defendant police force. In 2014, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging three counts of violation of the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act. The plaintiff’s complaint specifically alleged that the defendant violated the promotional standards of the New Jersey State Police by promoting favored employees over qualified employees. Further, he alleged that his 2013 performance evaluation was not considered during a 2014 promotional event and that the promotional list was unjustly manipulated so that newer candidates were promoted over him.

The defendants moved for summary judgment, shortly before trial. In turn, the plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint setting forth claims of age discrimination in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion and he appealed.

Leave to Amend a Complaint Under New Jersey Law

Under New Jersey law, after an answer to a complaint has been filed, the plaintiff may only amend the complaint with the written consent of the adverse party or leave of court. While motions for leave to amend are granted liberally, it is within the discretion of the court to determine if the individual facts of the case warrant granting leave.

In evaluating whether leave should be granted the court should consider if the amendment will be prejudicial to the non-moving party and whether granting the amendment would be futile. Thus, while a motion for leave to amend should be considered without weighing the merits of the amendment, a court may deny leave where the new claim the plaintiff seeks to assert is not sustainable as a matter of law.

In the subject case, the court found that the trial court rightfully denied plaintiff’s proposed amendment. Specifically, the proposed age discrimination claims were barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Further, the plaintiff waited until the eve of trial to propose the amendment, despite having evidence of the alleged discrimination long before he filed his motion for leave. As such, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Consult a Skilled New Jersey Employment Discrimination Attorney

If your employment was adversely affected due to your employer’s discriminatory practices you may be entitled to compensation and you should consult a skilled New Jersey employment discrimination attorney to discuss your case. The trusted New Jersey employment discrimination attorneys of the Jaffe Glenn Law Group will analyze the facts of your case and help you develop persuasive arguments in favor of your recovery. You can reach us at 201-687-9977 or through our form online to schedule a confidential and free meeting.