Hoboken Construction Code Official files lawsuit against City; names Mayor, Business Administrator, Assistant Corporation Counsel, and 15 "John Does" as defendants

Hoboken Construction Code Official files CEPA lawsuit against City; names Mayor, Business Administrator, Assistant Corporation Counsel, and 15 John Does as defendants.

January 17, 2012 - by Ed Mecka - edmecka.com

On December 23, 2011, embattled Hoboken Construction Code official ALFRED AREZZO filed a CEPA lawsuit in the Law-Civil Part division of the Hudson County Superior Court Docket # L 006490 "AREZZO VS THE CITY OF HOBOKEN NEW JERSEY ET AL".

Parties listed as DEFENDANTS in the case are;

City of Hoboken ET AL

Dawn Zimmer, Hoboken Mayor

Archibald Liston, Hoboken Business Administrator

Melissa Longo, Hoboken Assistant Corporation Counsel

John Does, 1-15

Plantiff Arezzo is being represented by CONNELL FOLEY LLP of Roseland, New JerseyDefendants have yet to enter representation.

CEPA - Conscientious Employee Protection Act
                                                                  (source: "Exhibit A" Greenbaum Rowe Smith Davis LLP)

In January 2006, the New Jersey State legislature significantly expanded employer liability under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”). By enacting amendments to both CEPA and the Punitive Damages Act, the legislature has paved the way for New Jersey whistleblowers to obtain large recoveries in their retaliation lawsuits against their employers. 

Prior to the amendments, CEPA protected from retaliation an employee who (a) discloses or threatens to disclose a practice of the employer or another employer that has a business relationship with the employer, that the employee reasonably believes is in violation of a law or public policy, is fraudulent, or is criminal; (b) provides information to a public body conducting an investigation into any violation of law by the employer or by another employer which has a business relationship with the employer; or (3) refuses to participate in any activity that the employee reasonably believes is a violation of a law, fraudulent, criminal or incompatible with public policy.

The CEPA amendments expand the scope of protected activity to include an employee’s reporting to a supervisor or a public body “any violation involving deception of, or misrepresentation to, any shareholder, investor, client, patient, customer, employee, former employee, retiree or pensioner of the employer or any government entity.”

CEPA also now requires Courts to provide certain relief to victorious CEPA plaintiffs that had previously been discretionary. This relief includes injunctions, reinstatement, lost wages and legal fees. The civil fines that may be awarded have increased in amount as well.

While punitive damages are still discretionary under CEPA, the impact of the amendments will perhaps be greatest in this area. In deciding whether to award punitive damages, jurors will be instructed to consider not only the amount of compensatory damages awarded to the employee, but the effect of the employer conduct on investors, shareholders, clients, patients, customers or other employees as well. In addition, the amendments to the Punitive Damages Act removed the cap on the amount of punitive damages an employee is permitted to obtain in a CEPA retaliation lawsuit. That cap had previously been set at the greater of $350,000 or five times compensatory damages.

Business Administration Resigns:

On January 5th, 2012, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer announced in a press release that Business Administrator ARCH LISTON was stepping down from his position and relocating back to South Jersey for family reasons.

Another Employee Case Continues:

In another closely watched Hoboken employee lawsuit, testimony continues in the case of William Campbell vs. City of Hoboken on February 9, 2012 at 9:00am in the Office of Administrative Law, 33 Washington Street, Newark, NJ, Judge JESSIE STRAUS presiding. 

Wm Campbell is represented by Cathy Elston, Esq. of C Elston & Associates LLC, Belmar, New Jersey.

City of Hoboken is represented by Margret Miller, Esq. of Weiner Lesniak LLP,  Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ.

Scheduled to testify are Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Business Administrator Arch Liston, and two of the Mayor's "statutory appointees" Juan Melli and Daniel Byran.


Transcript-Jan.3,2012Wm.Campbell - PENDING RELEASE

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