Sunday, March 19, 2017
BRIAN SULLIVAN VS. THE PORT AUTHORITY OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY, ET AL. A-3506-14T1
BRIAN SULLIVAN VS. THE PORT AUTHORITY OF NEW YORK AND
NEW JERSEY, ET AL.
Plaintiff filed a complaint against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and individual Port Authority employees, alleging retaliation and civil conspiracy in violation of the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), N.J.S.A. 34:19-1 to -14. We affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment based on a finding that the Port Authority is not subject to suit under CEPA.
The Port Authority is a bi-state agency created by a compact that prohibits unilateral action by one state without express authorization in the compact or the concurrence of the legislature of the other state. The corollary to this proposition is that the Port Authority may be subject to complementary or parallel state legislation. Under the complementary or parallel legislation principle, one compact state's law can be applied to the bi-state agency if it is substantially similar to the legislation of the other state. If there is no complementary legislation, then it must be determined whether the bi-state agency impliedly consented to unilateral state regulation.
We determined that the compact did not expressly provide for application of CEPA against the Port Authority. We then compared CEPA to the New York Whistleblower Law, N.Y. Lab. Law § 740, and held they were not substantially similar so as to alter the compact. We also held that the clear and unambiguous language in the state legislations creating the Port Authority and the lack of complementary and parallel whistleblower statutes confirmed that New York and New Jersey did not mutually intend to consent to suit against the Port Authority under CEPA.