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CAPOFERRI v. CAPOFERRI

July 1, 2005.

CANDACE J. CAPOFERRI, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT CAPOFERRI, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT KUGLER, Magistrate Judge

[EDITOR'S NOTE: This case is unpublished as indicated by the issuing court.] OPINION

In this diversity case, plaintiff Candace Capoferri ("Candace") sues her ex-husband, defendant Robert Capoferri ("Robert"), along with defendants Patricia Gatto,*fn1 Joseph Capoferri ("Joseph"), and Frank Comparri, for fraud, conversion, conspiracy, and accomplice liability. Candace's claims arise out of actions allegedly taken by the defendants during Candace and Robert's 1999 divorce. This matter comes before the Court upon (1) Robert's motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint and (2) Comparri's motion to join in Robert's motion.

Robert moves to dismiss the Amended Complaint on four grounds. First, Robert argues that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine precludes this Court from exercising jurisdiction over Candace's claims. Second, Robert argues that "domestic relations are governed by state law." Third, Robert argues that Candace has a remedy in the New Jersey courts. Fourth, Robert argues that the statute of limitations has expired on Candace's claims.

  For the reasons expressed in this opinion, (1) Comparri's motion to join in Robert's motion will be granted, and (2) Robert's motion to dismiss (in which Comparri joins) will be denied.

  I. AMENDED COMPLAINT

  The following factual allegations are taken from the Amended Complaint and the exhibits attached to Robert's motion to dismiss.

  Robert and Candace were married on August 12, 1995. Candace moved out of the marital home in late 1998. Robert filed for divorce on January 26, 1999.

  In early February 1999, the parties reconciled and Candace moved back into the marital home. Unbeknownst to Candace, though, Robert filed a motion for summary judgment in the divorce case on March 3, 1999. Robert's motion requested enforcement of a purported August 9, 1995 antenuptial agreement ("Agreement"). The Agreement substantially limited the assets to which Candace would otherwise be entitled under New Jersey law if the marriage ended. Although Robert certified that the Agreement had voluntarily been entered into by both parties, the signature on the Agreement was not Candace's. Candace never received notice of Robert's motion to enforce the Agreement.

  On April 27, 1999, Comparri — a friend of Robert's — filed an affidavit of service stating that he had served a summons and copy of the divorce complaint on Joan Demarco, Candace's mother, on April 21, 1999. However, neither Candace nor her mother ever received the papers.

  On May 13, 1999, having found that Candace had notice of the proceedings and that Candace and Robert had voluntarily entered into the Agreement, the Honorable Max A. Baker ordered that the Agreement was enforceable and would remain in full force and effect.

  On June 8, 1999, Robert requested that the Agreement be incorporated into a final judgment of divorce. Although Candace never received notice of the request, a return receipt for the notice was signed by Gatto, an employee of Robert, on June 9, 1999.

  On July 2, 1999, Judge Baker entered a final judgment of divorce. Judge Baker found that Candace had been served with the summons and complaint on April 21, 1999. Once more finding that Candace and Robert had freely and voluntarily entered into the Agreement, Judge Baker ordered that Candace and Robert were divorced and that the Agreement would be part of the final divorce judgment.

  Candace never received a copy of the final order of divorce. A return receipt for the final order was signed on August 3, 1999 by Joseph Capoferri, Robert's brother and employee.

  Candace learned for the first time that she was divorced, and that equitable distribution had been adjudicated, on July 19, 2001. She now argues that the defendants intentionally prevented her from receiving notice of the divorce proceedings and appearing therein to defend her financial interests. Further, she alleges, Robert intentionally caused a fraudulent antenuptial agreement to be incorporated into the final judgment of divorce. Candace ...


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