United States District Court, D. New Jersey
September 15, 2005.
JOSEPH GHANEM, Plaintiff,
SOMERSET COUNTY PROBATION DEPT.; DENISE GHANEM; CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT UNIT, STATE OF FLORIDA, DEPT. OF REVENUE, et al., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: ANNE THOMPSON, Senior District Judge
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to
Vacate the Court's dismissal of Defendant Denise Ghanem from this
action. The Court has decided this motion after reviewing the
submissions of the parties. Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 78, no
oral argument was heard. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's
motion is denied.
On December 7, 2004, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint
alleging that his former spouse, Denise Ghanem, knowingly
executed false affidavits against him for child support and
alimony arrears in the State of Florida. Plaintiff contends that
Defendant Ghanem's actions initiated a chain of events that
eventually led to Plaintiff's incarceration.
Specifically, Plaintiff's Amended Complaint sets forth causes
of action against Defendant Ghanem for violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, defamation, and abuse
of process. On April 8, 2005, Magistrate Judge John J. Hughes
issued an order to show cause why Defendant Ghanem should not be
dismissed from the action. Plaintiff did not respond to the order
to show cause, and on May 16, 2005, the Court dismissed Defendant
Ghanem from the case.*fn1 Plaintiff now moves to vacate the
Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows the
Court to vacate a final judgment for any one of several reasons,
including "(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable
neglect; . . . or (6) any other reason justifying relief from
operation of the judgment." Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b). The inquiry as
to whether relief should be granted is "equitable and requires
consideration of `all relevant circumstances surrounding the
party's omission.'" In re Cendant Corp. Prides Litig.,
157 F. Supp. 2d 376, 408 (D.N.J. 2001) (quoting Pioneer Inv. Servs. Co.
v. Brunswick Assocs. Ltd. P'ship, 507 U.S. 380, 395 (1993)). In
this case, Plaintiff asserts that the relief sought should be
granted because his case has merit and because Defendant Ghanem
will not be prejudiced if the Order is vacated. Neither of these
reasons constitutes excusable neglect or is an extraordinary
circumstance. See Pioneer Inv. Servs. Co., 507 U.S. at 393
(providing the standard under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)).
Even were the Court to vacate its prior order, the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine would prevent it from further adjudicating this matter. See Rooker
v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923); District of
Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983).
For these reasons,
It is on this 15th day of September 2005,
ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion to Vacate the Court's May 18,
2005 Order  is hereby DENIED.
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