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Wykowski v. Berse

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 21, 2015

WIESLAW WYKOWSKI, Plaintiff,
v.
JENNY BERSE ESQ. AND HON. MAUREEN SOGLUIZZO, Defendants.

OPINION

KEVIN McNULTY, District Judge.

Plaintiff Wieslaw Wykowksi, appearing pro se, brought this action following a palimony and child support proceeding in the Family Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey. Defendant Maureen Sogluizzo ("Judge Sogluizzo") is the judge who presided over that proceeding. Defendant Jenny Berse is the attorney who represented Wykowski's former partner. Wykowski alleges that certain of the orders entered by Judge Sogluizzo were erroneous and that both defendants violated his due process rights. Now before the Court are the defendants' motions to dismiss the Complaint. For the reasons set forth below, the motions are granted and the Complaint will be dismissed.

I. BACKGROUND

Wykowski's former partner, Grazyna Kozikowska, commenced a palimony and child support proceeding against him in the Family Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey (the "state court action"). The matter was tried over the course of eight days in front of Judge Sogluizzo. (Dkt. No. 15-2, at 197) On June 30, 2010, Judge Sogluizzo entered an order and judgment requiring Wykowski, inter alia, to pay a lump sum award of $640, 633 to Kozikowska and to make weekly payments to support their two children. (Id. at 197-98)

The order permitted Wykowski to offset the lump sum award by transferring certain real property to Kozikowska. (Id. at 198) The real property in question was an apartment building in Bayonne, New Jersey, that had an appraised value of $450, 000. Wykowski owned and resided in the building; he also managed the property as a landlord and collected rent from its tenants. The order provided that Defendant Berse, Kozikowska's attorney, would be appointed attorney-in-fact "for the specific purpose of signing the Deed, Affidavit of Consideration... and all other documents required to transfer title and ownership" of the property. (Id. ) If Wykowski elected to transfer the property, the palimony award would be reduced to $190, 633, which he was required to pay within 30 days of the order. (Id. at 199) Wykowski appears to have elected the transfer option, but he did not pay the balance of the lump sum award within the time specified by the court.

On October 26, 2010, Judge Sogluizzo entered an order revising the manner in which the June 30, 2010 judgment was to be executed. Wykowski was ordered to immediately post a $190, 633 bond. Until that sum was paid in full, he was required to make monthly payments to Kozikowska in the amount of $2, 200. (Dkt. No. 1, at 39) The order provided that Berse would hold the deed to the apartment building in escrow until the judgment was satisfied.

On February 7, 2011, Judge Sogluizzo entered another order requiring Wykowski to pay $26, 373.60. (Id. at 32) This order is not included in the record; it is unclear how this sum relates to the payments specified in the two prior orders.

On February 22, 2011, Judge Sogluizzo entered a fourth order requiring Wykowski to vacate his apartment building. (Id. at 22) The order formally transferred ownership of the building to Kozikowska and instructed Wykowski to inform the building's tenants that all rents should now be paid to her. (Id. ) The order also required Wykowski to turn over to Berse the titles and keys to any automobiles that he owned. Berse was again "appointed attorney-in-fact to sign any and all Titles for the above cars so that plaintiff can sell said cars." (Id. at 23)

On February 26, 2011, Wykowksi was arrested for failing to make the $26, 373.60 payment required by the February 7, 2011 order. (Id. ) Wykowksi says that he paid this amount on September 10, 2011, but there is no supporting documentation to corroborate this assertion. (Id. at 14) He also alleges that the warrant for his arrest, which was signed by Judge Sogluizzo, contained several inaccuracies, including erroneous descriptions of his social security number, date of birth, and height. Wykowksi was imprisoned for one month before he was released. (Id. at 15). It is unclear from the record whether he ever made the $26, 373.60 payment.

Wykowski alleges that while he was in prison, Berse forged his signature in order to transfer the deed to his apartment building to Kozikowska. (Id. at 17). He further alleges that although his apartment "was supposed to be sealed, " all of his personal property was discarded by the time he returned. (Id. at 16). Wykowski also claims that his three automobiles were "taken" by Kozikowska. (Id. ) All told, he estimates that his lost property was worth $85, 200. (Id. )

Wykowski appealed the June 30, 2010 judgment to Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court. While that appeal was pending, he filed a prior action in this Court that purported to "seek[] an appeal" of the state court judgment.[1] On May 29, 2012, Judge William J. Martini of this Court sua sponte dismissed the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for failure to state a claim.[2] Judge Martini stated: "[Wykowski] has failed to allege any violation of federal law or provide any other grounds for this Court's subject jurisdiction. Further, it is black letter law that a federal district court cannot act as a court of appeal for a state court decision."

On September 26, 2012, the Appellate Division rejected Wykowski's appeal and affirmed the judgment.

On June 21, 2013, Judge Sogluizzo entered another order stating that Wykowski "continues to owe" the $190, 633 amount stated in the prior orders. (Id. at 35)

On December 27, 2013, Wykowski commenced this action by filing a one-page complaint. The complaint does not specify a cause of action. Wykowski alleges that the defendants committed an "injustice" by failing to provide him with a Polish-speaking interpreter during the child support proceedings and by taking his property. Wykowski states that he has been left homeless following the dispossession of his apartment, personal property, and automobiles. He relates that he was arrested "with the wrong description and the wrong social security." He also contests the award of child ...


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