United States District Court, D. New Jersey
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE, Judge
B. SIMANDLE U.S. District Judge.
matter is before the Court on the following motions:
(a) Motion by Plaintiff Keith Ashley for Default Judgment
[Docket Item 34]; and
(b) Motion by Defendants David Metelow, Tanya Stelz, and
Anthony Marrocco to set aside default and extend the time to
answer [Docket Item 39]; and
Court having considered the submissions of the parties,
including the Affidavit in Support of Motion to Set Aside
Default subscribed by Deputy Attorney General Suzanne Davies
[Docket Item 39-1], as to which no opposition has been
Several defendants (Metelow, Marrocco, and Stelz) were served
with process on May 10, 2017, and they requested
representation from the Attorney General's Office.
According to DAG Davies' Affidavit, another defendant
(Don Siebert) was retired from the Department of Corrections
prior to the May 10, 2017 service of process which the
Department of Corrections accepted on his behalf; Siebert has
not yet requested the representation of the Attorney General
on his behalf; the legality of service upon Siebert as a
retired employee is questionable but cannot be decided on the
the Attorney General's Office was anticipating
Siebert's request for representation (which never came),
the time for responding to the Complaint expired for
Defendants Metelow, Marrocco, and Stelz on May 31, 2017 with
no action taken, through inadvertence of the Attorney
Plaintiff's request, the Clerk of Court entered default
on July 17, 2017, pursuant to Rule 55(a), Fed. R. Civ. P., as
to Metelow, Siebert, Marrocco, and Stelz.
August 2, 2017, Plaintiff filed the present motion for
default judgment under Rule 55(b) [Docket Item 34], and
Defendants Marrocco, Metelow, and Stelz moved, through DAG
Davies, to set aside the default and to extend their time to
answer or otherwise plead.
Efforts on two occasions to serve another Defendant --Kenneth
Nelsen -- were unsuccessful and the Marshal returned the
USM-285 Forms unexecuted on May 3, 2017 [Docket Item 25] and
December 1, 2017 [Docket Item 42] as to Defendant Nelsen who
has still not been served.
unopposed motion of Defendants Marrocco, Metelow, and Stelz
to set aside entry of default will be granted. Through
excusable neglect, their attorney within the Attorney
General's Office failed to timely answer or otherwise
respond to the Complaint on their behalf. The defendants may
have a plausible defense on the merits and the case --
raising important issues of personal rights -- should go
forward rather than being ...