United States District Court, D. New Jersey
DENARD C. TRAPP, Plaintiff,
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, et al.,. Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
SHERIDAN, U.S.D. JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on a motion to dismiss brought on
behalf of Defendants, the State of New Jersey and the
Honorable Patricia Del Buono Cleary, P.J. Ch. (ECF No. 11).
case arises from Plaintiffs dissatisfaction with Mortgage
Foreclosure proceedings that took place in state court. In
brief, On April 5, 2013, a Mortgage Foreclosure Complaint,
Docket No. F-011243-13, was filed by GDBTI Trust 2011-1
("GDBT") in the Monmouth County Superior Court,
Chancery Division, against Plaintiff Denard Trapp
("Trapp") regarding a property located in Monmouth
County, NJ. (ECF No. 1 "Complaint" pg.l, 3). An
order granting summary judgment in favor of GDBT was filed on
November 21, 2013, by Judge Cleary - a named Defendant in
this matter. (Def. Br. Ex. B). The action was then returned
to the Office of Foreclosure to proceed uncontested.
(Id. Ex. F).
April 30, 2014, Trapp filed a complaint with this Court
(Civil Action No. 3:14-cv-02746-PGS-DEA) seeking to quiet
title with respect to the property that was the subject of
GDBT's foreclosure. (Id. Ex. G). Thereafter,
GDBT filed a motion to dismiss which was heard on March 26,
2015 and granted based on the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine. (Id. Ex. D). An order issued on March 27,
2015, dismissed the matter with prejudice. (Id. Ex.
E). The order was appealed to the Third Circuit which
affirmed this Court's decision. (See Trapp v. AMS
Servicing LLC, 616 Fed.Appx. 46 (3d Cir.2015).
filed a new complaint with this Court on September 26, 2015,
against GDBT, arising from the same Superior Court
foreclosure. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss which this
Court granted on December 20, 2016. (Def. Br. Ex. I). Prior
to disposition by this Court, on April 13, 2016, Judge Cleary
heard oral argument on an "emergent application for stay
of removal of applicant" filed by Trapp in the Superior
Court foreclosure action. (Id. Ex. H). At the
hearing, Trapp argued that GDBT "could not be the holder
in due course of [his] mortgage because [... ] they are not
licensed or registered to do business in the State of New
Jersey." [Ex. H, 4:17]. He also argued that GDBT
doesn't "have access to any [New Jersey] courts. So
how could GDBT do any foreclosures, have any mortgages, or be
the holding in good standing of [his] mortgage" [Ex. H,
5:4-7]. GDBT counsel did not respond to Trapp's argument.
[Ex. H, 5:18].
... this is at least the third time that Mr. Trapp has come
here seeking to stay the eviction .... So I find that Mr.
Trapp has had numerous opportunities to object to this
judgment of foreclosure. He never asked for a reconsideration
of the order granting summary judgment. His argument first
time was standing. Then he has changed his argument. I find
that there is no reason at this time to stay the eviction. I
will deny the application.
filed this action on September 27, 2016, requesting review of
the jurisdiction of the Superior Court of New Jersey,
Monmouth Vicinage, with respect to the Superior Court
mortgage foreclosure action. (Compl. pg. 1). Plaintiff also
argues that Judge Cleary acted outside the scope of her
authority and jurisdiction by allowing GDBT to use the courts
of New Jersey. As this Court understands it, Plaintiff
alleges that by reviewing and deciding a case over which it
had no jurisdiction, both the State and Judge Cleary violated
his due process rights. (Compl. pg. 5). Though the property
being foreclosed is located in Monmouth Court, Plaintiff
argues that GDBT is not registered with the State of New
Jersey, and does not do business in the state, which
according to Plaintiff would deny GDBT access to any property
in Monmouth County, in the State of New Jersey, also barring
them from accessing the courts of New Jersey. (Id.
pg. 3). Plaintiff raised the same argument at the hearing
held on April 13, 2016 before Judge Cleary, at which time
counsel for GDBT did not respond to the argument. Plaintiff
contends that counsel's failure to reply, should be
interpreted as "acquiescence" to the court's
lack of jurisdiction. (Compl. pg. 4). Plaintiff argues that
Judge Cleary should have dismissed this matter after hearing
the attorney's failure to respond or rebut to Plaintiffs
questions. (Id.). On May 26, 2017, Defendants filed
a motion to dismiss arguing that Plaintiffs claims are barred
by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine and that Judge Cleary
is protected by Judicial Immunity. [ECF No. 11]. The motion
the Court notes that Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, and for
that reason "we construe his complaint in the way most
favorable to him." Can v. Sharp, 454 F.2d 271,
272 (3d Cir. 1971).
we review Defendant's motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule
12(b)(1). Defendant argues that this claim is barred by the
Rooker-Feldman Doctrine which prevents this Court
from exercising subject matter jurisdiction over the case.
This doctrine takes its name from two cases in which the
Supreme Court has applied it to defeat federal subject-matter
jurisdiction: Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S.
413, 44 S.Ct. 149, 68 L.Ed. 362 (1923), and District of
Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462
(1983). Rooker-Feldman is a "narrow
doctrine" that "applies only in limited
circumstances." Lance v. Dennis, 546 U.S. 459,
Supreme Court held that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine
is confined to 'is confined to cases of the kind from
which the doctrine acquired its name: cases brought by
state-court losers complaining of injuries caused by
state-court judgments rendered before the district court
proceedings commenced and inviting district court review and
rejection of those judgments."' Great Western
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