Christian V. McOmber, Peter D. Valenzano, and Tiffany M. Yacullo represent Jonathan Silva in a whistleblower retaliation claim against Triple Five Group, owners of the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Named defendants in the lawsuit include Mr. Silva’s supervisors during employment, Anthony Scarmardella and Athanasios (Tommy) Karathomas.
The Complaint alleges Silva was terminated as a Dispatch Sergeant with American Dream Mall upon complaining of egregious safety violations after a life-threatening active shooter situation on April 7, 2022. During this situation, Mr. Silva observed a lack of security staffing and faulty communication system at American Dream, which prolonged the institution of a lockdown. Mr. Silva also observed employees of American Dream mishandling and contaminating evidence at the crime scene prior to police arrival.
The Complaint further alleges Mr. Silva voiced these safety violations in a meeting the next day with American Dream’s security leadership. These leaders, being Mr. Scarmardella and Mr. Karathomas, failed to seriously consider Silva’s concerns or take corrective action. Instead, they immediately berated Silva, placing all blame on him for the delayed implementation of American Dream’s shooter lockdown.
Thereafter, American Dream viciously retaliated against Mr. Silva by intentionally isolating him from all communication with supervisors and employees. Then, only forty-one days later, American Dream unlawfully terminated Silva by falsely accusing him of “insubordination or other disrespectful conduct” during the shooter incident. The Complaint alleges this termination was a direct result of Silva voicing concern about poor safety protocols and attempting to address it with management.
This lawsuit, which is filed in Bergen County Superior Court, alleges violations of New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act. Mr. Silva seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs.
This is not the first complaint filed against American Dream Mall for its unlawful employment practices. This firm also represents a former female employee in a disability discrimination and retaliation case against American Dream, and represents a former female employee who fell victim to sexual harassment at American Dream who was later fired upon complaining to the mall’s management.
“As alleged in this Complaint, American Dream utterly disregarded its clear duty under New Jersey Law to abide by well-established security and safety standards. When our client responsibly objected to obvious violations of law and regulation, America Dream scapegoated Mr. Silva who became the target of retaliation and ultimate termination. We stand united with our client in exposing American Dream’s outrageous and unlawful behavior.” Peter D. Valenzano, Esq.