United States District Court, D. New Jersey
L. LINARES CHIEF JUDGE.
are three defendants remaining in this action: (1)
Christopher S. Porrino, who is named "in his official
capacity as Attorney General of New Jersey"; (2) the
Essex County Probation Department; and (3) the Hudson County
Probation Department (collectively hereinafter, "the
Remaining Defendants"). (ECF No. 1 at 1.) The claims
asserted against the defendants State of New Jersey, Office
of Child Support Services, Elizabeth Connolly, in her
official capacity as acting Commissioner of the Office of
Child Support Services, and Natasha Johnson, in her official
capacity as Director of the Division of Family Development
were dismissed on January 23, 2018 for the failure of the
plaintiff, SpaceAge Consulting Corp. (hereinafter,
"SpaceAge"), to comply with Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure (hereinafter, "Rule") 4(m). (ECF No. 11.)
Remaining Defendants now move pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) and
Rule 12(b)(6) to dismiss SpaceAge's claims that are
asserted against them. (ECF Nos. 13 through 13-3, 15.)
SpaceAge opposes the motion. (ECF Nos. 14 through 14-3.)
Court resolves the motion to dismiss upon a review of the
papers and without oral argument. See L. Civ. R.
78.1(b). For the following reasons, this Court grants the
Malhan is an employee and the sole shareholder of SpaceAge.
(ECF No. 1 at 2.) Malhan and his estranged spouse are
currently engaged in an ongoing matrimonial, child custody,
and child support dispute in a New Jersey state court in
Essex County. (Id. at 2-10.) Malhan has personally
brought several actions in the District of New Jersey wherein
the aforementioned state court dispute with his estranged
spouse is at issue, including the instant federal action.
See, e.g., Family Civil Liberties Union v. New
Jersey, D.N.J. No. 18-2597 (KM); Argen v.
Kessler, D.N.J. No. 18-963 (KM); Malhan v.
Porrino, D.N.J. No. 16-8889 (KM); Malhan v.
Tillerson, D.N.J. No. 16-8495 (CCC); Edelglass v.
State of New Jersey, D.N.J. No. 14-760 (FLW).
reasons that have not been made clear by the parties in their
briefing, SpaceAge has been joined as a party to the
aforementioned state court dispute. (See ECF No.
14-2 at 5 (New Jersey Appellate Division, discussed
infra, indicating same).) In any event, on August 1,
2017, the New Jersey state court issued an order directing
that Malhan's wages from SpaceAge were to be garnished to
satisfy his child support obligations (hereinafter, "the
State Garnishment Order"). (ECF No. 1 at 5, 8-9; see
also ECF No. 14 at 5.) The State Garnishment Order
directed that the garnished wages were to be remitted through
the Essex County Probation Department, even though the state
court Judge who issued that Order had suggested during an
underlying hearing that they should be remitted through the
Hudson County Probation Department because Malhan currently
resides in Hudson County. (ECF No. 1 at 8-9; ECF No. 14 at
6.) SpaceAge alleges that it is has not received a
garnishment notice from either the Essex County Probation
Department or the Hudson County Probation Department to date.
(ECF No. 1 at 9.) SpaceAge also alleges that it moved before
the New Jersey Appellate Division for an interlocutory review
of the State Garnishment Order, and that the motion has been
denied. (Id. at 10; ECF No. 14 at 10; see
also ECF No. 14-2 at 5 (New Jersey Appellate Division
order denying the motion for leave to appeal).)
alleges that it "is facing potential liquidation [by the
state court] if it fails to comply with an illegal
'garnishment.'" (ECF No. 1 at 7.) SpaceAge seeks
to proceed in this federal action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, and it alleges that the State Garnishment Order
violates its constitutional rights by being contrary to: (1)
45 C.F.R. § 303.100, which concerns the garnishment of
wages for child support payments; and (2) 15 U.S.C. §
1673, which concerns the garnishment of wages in general.
(ECF No. 1 at 10-29.) As a result, SpaceAge seeks to
challenge the State Garnishment Order as being "illegal,
" and asks this Court to declare that Order to be
"null and void" and "unenforceable."
(Id. at 1; see also Id. at 10, 14, 18, 23
(repeatedly stating the same).) Regrettably, the parties have
not submitted a copy of the State Garnishment Order for this
Court's review, and thus this Court must rely upon the
parties' descriptions of the contents of that Order in
addressing this motion to dismiss.
Court is guided by the following standards in resolving the
Remaining Defendants' motion to dismiss.
not necessary for this Court to restate the standard for
resolving a motion to dismiss that is made pursuant to Rule
12(b)(1), because that standard has already been enunciated.
See Davis v. Wells Fargo, 824 F.3d 333, 346 (3d Cir.
2016) (setting forth the standard, and explaining
Mortensen v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass 'n,
549 F.2d 884 (3d Cir. 1977), Petruska v. Gannon
Univ., 462 F.3d 294 (3d Cir. 2006), and Constitution
Party of Pa. v. Aichele, 757 F.3d 347 (3d Cir. 2014)).