Third Circuit Revives Corrections Officer’s Retaliation Claims Against Hudson County

Retaliation Claims Against Hudson County

The Third Circuit revived claims Wednesday accusing Hudson County, New Jersey, its department of corrections, and three county employees of retaliating against a corrections officer due to his union activity. The federal appellate court found that a lower court judge dismissed the allegations prematurely.

In a nine-page opinion, the Third Circuit panel reversed U.S. District Judge William J. Martini’s decision to dismiss Hudson County, the county corrections department, and department director Oscar Aviles as defendants in Luis Ocasio’s case. The panel held that the jury could have found these parties liable for retaliation, as they did with Kirk Eady, the deputy director of the county corrections department.

“A reasonable jury could have found that Aviles was deliberately indifferent to Eady’s violations of Ocasio’s rights,” which would constitute retaliation, the Third Circuit stated. “A reasonable jury also could have found that the defendants’ revocation of Ocasio’s ‘full union release time’ … constituted an impermissible policy of retaliation.”