Bayonne & ex-employee file dueling briefs over depositions in hostile work case


The City of Bayonne and a former City Hall employee filed dueling briefs last week over depositions, or lack thereof, in a hostile work environment case that is nearly four years old.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Counsel for Defendants indicates that Plaintiff’s opposition is ‘replete with inaccuracies, omissions, and misrepresentations regarding the Parties’ recent communications,’ to which Defendants will respond more fully in their anticipated reply brief,” Juan Cervantes, counsel for Sincerrae Ross, wrote in a September 2nd brief to Hudson County Superior Court Judge Anthony D’Elia.

“I am truly on the edge of my seat as I wait to see how our prior communications will be characterized. When reviewing Defendants’ reply brief, I ask the Court to consider the Exhibits submitted with the undersigned’s initial application and opposition to Defendants’ motion, which establish a clear record of the repeated transgressions of Defendants throughout the course of this litigation that have brought us to this point.”

He also called for the answer and affirmative defenses to be stricken with prejudice “because of their conduct,” continuing that he does not believe they will be able to explain their behavior with anything beyond “a total fabrication.”

As an example, he reminds the court that the city sought a protective order for Linda Vanderweeden, one of nearly two dozen defendants named, her certified statement “was factually different from the original” after Cervantes initially countered with an affidavit.

Stephen J. Boraske, counsel for the city and their employees, said in his own brief from the same day that Ross, through Cervantes, is again seeking motions to reinstate defendants’ answers and affirmative defenses and also strike them with prejudice.

Those initial motions were denied by the court on July 21st and Boraske claims that in the 10 weeks since then, seven scheduled depositions, including for Vanderweeden and Mayor Jimmy Davis, were cancelled on less than 24 hours notice without attempting to reschedule.

He also claims written and verbal communications to reschedule were ignored.

“Accordingly, since the Court’s 7/21/23 Order denying Plaintiff’s motion to strike with prejudice, the only new “facts” before the Court are: (1) Plaintiff’s bad faith cancellation of the 8/2 to 8/4 depositions; and (2) Plaintiff’s refusal to communicate with Defendants to reschedule any depositions or otherwise move this matter any closer to a resolution on the merits,” Boraske asserted.

“Plaintiff’s Motion to Strike should therefore be denied in its entirety because it is an out- of-time motion for reconsideration that was previously adjudicated by the Court … Plaintiff’s Opposition to Defendants’ Motion should not be considered by the Court given these demonstrated falsehoods and lack of candor contained therein. Defendants’ Motion should therefore be granted unopposed.”

While the motions were returnable for October 6th, the court docket does not have any ruling available as of Tuesday evening.

Also of note, Boraske filed a motion to reopen and extend discovery and adjourn the trial on Friday, October 6th.

Currently, the trial is scheduled to begin on October 24th and Hudson County Superior Court Judge Joseph Turula will tentatively hear Boraske’s motion on Friday, October 20th at 9 a.m.

Ross filed a lawsuit in December 2019 alleging that City Hall was “a sexually charged hostile work environment and a culture of sex within the work place.”

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